IN STARK contrast to their miserable start, Trinidad and Tobago’s IAAF World Championships campaign ended in joy and relief yesterday, as the Men’s 4x400m Relay squad finished a close second to the United States in the event that brought the curtain down on the nine-day programme in Beijing, China.

Twenty-four hours after the TT women won 4x100m Relay bronze, ensuring the contingent would not return home empty- handed, the “mile relay” men produced a silver medal-winning performance that did even more to repair the country’s reputation as a producer of fine athletes through the decades.

The two podium finishes, just one day apart, presented a welltimed gift as the nation celebrates 53 years of independence today, much as Javelin-thrower Keshorn Walcott’s Olympic gold did on August 11, 2012.

Having produced the second-fastest qualifying time behind the Americans, the TT men, knew they would have to run even faster to be sure of a podium finish. Machel Cedenio came in for Jarrin Solomon and was assigned the anchor leg. Renny Quow had opening leg responsibility once again, while Lalonde Gordon was moved to second and Deon Lendore remained on third.

The noise was deafening at the Bird’s Nest Stadium as, starting in lane four, the diminutive Quow gave TT a fantsatic start, completing the circuit in 43.23 seconds; Gordon’s split was 45.68, but Lendore, fresher than the others because he did not compete in the 400m, ran a 44.75 that had them just about level with the US on the final handover. Cedenio then took them home in 44.14 seconds; however, LaShawn Merritt held him off for the US to claim gold in a world-leading two minutes, 57.82 seconds.

The TT men actually lowered the national record- 2:58.20, to finish just 38-hundredths of a second behind the winners.

Great Britain took the bronze in 2:58.51, the same time as Jamaica who were adjudged to have finished four thousandths of a second slower. The Jamaicans had been ahead of the British, but Javon Francis faded in the final metres.

The result gave Trinidad and Tobago its first ever medals in the 4x400m at a World Championship; Quow, Lendore and Gordon were all part of the team that won relay bronze at the London 2012 Olympics. As the TT men celebrated, the Jamaica camp was even more jubilant, as just before the Men’s final they had claimed gold in the Women’s mile relay in a world-leading three minutes, 19.13 seconds. A brilliant run on the straight by the experienced Novlene Williams-Mills had won it, as the veteran overhauled the fading Francena McCorory in the final metres to snatch the gold from the Americans. The Jamaican quartet of Christine Day, Shericka Jackson, Stephenie- Ann McPherson and Williams-Mills could not contain their emotions after the victory.

The US got the silver in 3:19.44 while Britain (3:23.62) took the bronze.

“These girls, they did it all the way. That is when you have the heart of a champion, that is what you do,” Williams-Mills said following the victory.

Jamaica, with 7 gold, 2 silver and 2 bronze medals finished second behind table-toppers Kenya in the standings, pushing the USA back to third; TT , with a silver and bronze finished tied for 22nd with the Bahamas and the Ukraine in the medal count. Trinidad and Tobago was also tied for third with the Bahamas among the Caribbean teams, behind Jamaica (2nd) and Cuba (10th) overall of the 32 teams that got among the medals.