Classic Moment – 1991 World Athletics Championships – 4x400m relay

This entry was posted on Sunday, August 21st, 2011

Akabusi’s finest hour.

This weekend sees the start of the World Athletics Championships in Daegu, South Korea, the last major event before the London Olympics. With Charles van Commenee optimistic that we might see some GB success, there could be no better time to look back at one of the finest British moments from a previous Championships.

The 1991 World Athletics Championships caught the world at a positive moment. The Berlin Wall had fallen two years previous, freedom was sweeping Europe, and above all, Kris Akabusi was on our television screens.

The final event was the 4x400m – it would be Britain against the United States (incidentally three of their four runners were later found to be drug cheats.) After a strong first 400 from Roger Black, team GB just had the edge. But on the second lap, Redmonds (later to be remembered for this) got caught by the young American Quincy Watts.

The third leg was ran by the 200m specialist John Regis who managed to stay close to the leader. The final part of the race was to be run by Kris Akabusi (who had won bronze earlier in the week over 400m hurdles) against the world champion, Antonio Pettigrew. Akabusi took him with 50 to go, and Britain had won only their second gold medal of the games (Liz McColgan won the other – best not mention what she is up to these days.)

The following year, a certain Michael Johnson ran for the USA, and no country has come close to them in this event since. Thirteen years later however, the 4x100m Olympic final threw up a similar sensation, as Mark Lewis-Francis led GB home ahead of the US – another truly amazing upset.

But for track fans of a certain age, no event will touch this one in our hearts. Regis, Black, Redmonds, Akabusi. Legends

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