A season’s best time of 3:30.55 was not enough to advance the Irish women’s 4 X 400m Relay Team into the Olympic final and the Irish quartet of Marian Heffernan, Joanne Cuddihy, Jessie Barr and Michelle Carey finished sixth of eight countries in the second of two qualifying rounds won by the USA in 3:22.09.
Marian Heffernan ran an opening leg of 53.5 with Cuddihy running a storming second lap (50.6) to bring Ireland into fifth position, before handing over to Jessie Barr who was drafted into the final team selection late last week. Barr held on to the fifth position (53.37) and handed off to Michelle Carey for the anchor leg. Carey battled hard (52.93), but she was caught and passed in the home straight by Patrycja Wyciszkiewicz of Poland and Ireland finished up in sixth position- short of the national record of 3:27.48 set in the World Championships last year.
“This is something we all enjoyed every second of, “Joanne Cuddihy said, “You had to be top 16 teams in the world to be here and unless you have experienced it, you don’t know what it is like. The best times come when things go absolutely perfect for each individual runner. I think we all did the best performance we could today and that’s something to be proud of.”
The USA were followed home by Russian Federation, 3:23.11- and Great Britain, 3:25.05- a season’s best for both countries. Czech Republic placed 4th with 3:26.20 and Poland denied Ireland the fifth spot with 3:30.15. Brazil were seventh in 3:32.29 and Turkey filled last position in 3:34.71
Jamaica finished first in the round 1 heat- finishing in 3:25.13 from Ukraine, 3:25.90 and France, 3:25.94.