4 x 400 metres relay men World Championships
Who wins 4 x 400 metres relay men at the World Athletics Championships 2019?
Japan's 4x400-meter squad is eyeing the top prize in the coming World Athletics Championships
The country will be making a comeback in the athletics track event ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
The 4x400-meter squad qualified for the World Championships due to be held in September this year, after it finished 4th at the World Relays Yokohama back in May.
Although in recent times, 4x400-meter relay men's has played second fiddle to the men’s 4x100, the 4x400 squad has decided to overpower the setbacks of previous years by constantly challenging itself to improve.
Which was easily evident in their performance in the finals, as Julian Walsh (first runner) chased a runner from the hot favorite United States team and passed the baton to Kentaro Sato (second runner) in the nail-biting race. The other runners also ran with the same speed and doggedly kept pace with the lead runners.
Talking about the race, Sato said that he took it upon himself to keep the squad in the race, had he been left behind it would have gotten very difficult for the team to keep up in the race.
The last time the 4x400 Japanese squad got close to winning a medal was back in 2004 Athens Summer Olympics, where they got left behind the bronze wining team by only 0.09 seconds.
The team faced many roadblocks in the way, as their pace was not on par with the competitor's sprinters who ran quickly during the first half. Starting with 2008 Summer Olympics, Japan subsequently failed to qualify for the finals at three straight Games.
During this crisis, veteran sprinters of the country jumped in for the help. It included Jun Osakada, Takahiko Yamamura and Ryuji Muraki; all top retired sprinters joined the team’s training camp last winter to help with training.
In-order to toughen the team players, Takahiko implemented a very strict training regime in which they were made to run 300m thirty times per day.
In April, the team was able to win gold at the Asian Athletics Championships, as they focused on aggressive running during the first half.
The team will qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, if it ranks in the top 8 at the World Championships.
The team is aiming for the top prize of the event as they don’t want to be outdone by team that won silver at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games.