Athletics-U.S. into mixed relay final to set up golden farewell for Felix

By Mitch Phillips

EUGENE, Oregon (Reuters) – The sparse crowd on the opening morning of the World Athletics Championships were given something to cheer on Friday as the United States won their heat in the 4x400m mixed relay, the first track event of the meeting.

The U.S. won the event on its introduction in Doha three years ago but failed to live up to their favourites tag at the Olympics, finishing third.

Friday’s U.S. team of Elija Godwin, Kennedy Simon, Vernon Norwood had to work hard to get past an impressive Dutch quartet but finished strongly to win the first heat. Olympic champions Poland had to make ground on the last leg to secure the third automatic qualifying slot.

The final is the highlight of the evening session, with the U.S. expected to introduce 36-year-old Allyson Felix to their team as she seeks to add to her bulging medal collection at her 10th World Championships before retiring this year.

Dominican Republic, silver medallists in Tokyo, won the second heat with Ireland taking a surprise second ahead of Jamaica, who took the third automatic slot.

(Reporting by Mitch Phillips, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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