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Belated silver - Japanese sprinters receive Beijing 4x1 medals

Kwame Laurence :: Trinidad Express :: 24.05.2019

Naoki Tsukahara, Shingo Suetsugu, Shinji Takahira and Nobuharu Asahara were presented with their Beijing 2008 men's 4x100 metres silver medals at International Stadium Yokohama, in Japan, on May 12.

The Japanese quartet had finished third in the Olympic final, 11 years ago, behind Jamaica, the winners in a jaw-dropping world record run of 37.10 seconds, and Trinidad and Tobago, the runners-up in 38.06. But bronze for Japan in 38.15 turned into silver, following the retesting of 454 frozen blood and urine samples eight years after the Beijing Games. Traces of the banned stimulant methylhexanamine were found in the "A" and "B" samples of Jamaican leadoff runner Nesta Carter, and he and his teammates were disqualified.

T&T were promoted to gold, Japan to silver, and Brazil, originally fourth in 38.24 seconds, were bumped up to bronze. T&T sprinters Keston Bledman, Marc Burns, Emmanuel Callender, Richard "Torpedo" Thompson and Aaron Armstrong, who ran in the qualifying round before making way for Callender in the final, are expected to receive their gold medals at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.

Tsukahara, Suetsugu, Takahira and Asahara chose the 2019 IAAF World Relays, in Yokohama, for their Beijing 2008 medal ceremony. There was great interest from the Japanese media as the four sprinters spoke about their Olympic upgrade at a May 12 press conference, shortly before the medals were presented.

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The medal reallocation ceremony was witnessed by some 20,000 spectators, ahead of the second and final session of the World Relays. Many had purchased tickets in anticipation of a strong home team challenge for the men's 4x100m title. But it was not to be. In a qualifying heat the previous day, a dramatic baton bungle on the final exchange between Yuki Koike and Japan's first-ever sub-10 sprinter Yoshihide Kiryu ended in the country's disqualification.

With T&T opting to not send a men's 4x1 team to Japan for the fourth edition of the IAAF World Relays, and Japan bowing out in the preliminary round, it was fitting that the top spot in Yokohama went to the other Beijing 2008 podium-finisher. In an upset result, Brazil got home first in 38.05 seconds, anchorman Paulo Andre Camilo de Oliveira holding off fast-finishing American sprint sensation Noah Lyles.

Unlike T&T and Japan, Brazil's 4x1 men--fourth on the day--did not experience the emotional high of a medal ceremony in the Chinese city. Rodrigo do Nascimento, Jorge Vides, Derick Silva and de Olivera were determined not to miss out in Yokohama, teaming up for top spot and the right to take part in the 2019 IAAF World Relays Winners Parade.


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Belated silver - Japanese sprinters receive Beijing 4x1 medals
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UPGRADE: Japan's 2008 Olympic silver medal winning relay team - Naoki Tsukahara, Shingo Suetsugu, Nobuharu Asahara and Shinji Takahira

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