Baptiste Runs in Olympic Sprint Relay Final

by Will Stafford (@WillStaffordLSU)
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Baptiste Runs in Olympic Sprint Relay Final

RIO DE JANEIRO – Former LSU national champion Kelly-Ann Baptiste and the Trinidad & Tobago women were just a split-second shy of the medal podium at the Olympic Stadium on Friday night as they teamed to run their seasonal best of 42.12 seconds for a fifth-place finish in the Olympic final of the women’s 4×100-meter relay.

They were just two one-hundredths of a second behind Germany’s run of 42.10 for fourth place in the final, while Great Britain set a national record of 41.77 to take home the bronze medal in the event.

With a star-studded lineup featuring Tianna Bartoletta, Allyson Felix, English Gardner and Tori Bowie, the United States stormed to victory and earned its place atop the medal podium with a gold-medal-winning run of 41.01 for the second-fastest time in history. Jamaica scored the Olympic silver medal in Friday’s final with a seasonal-best time of 41.36.

While coming up short of the medals at the Rio Olympics, Baptiste was part of a Trinidad & Tobago foursome that earned its best ever finish in Olympic competition in the women’s 4×100-meter relay. The team did not finish its preliminary heat in either Olympic Games in Athens in 2004 and Beijing in 2008 and was also disqualified in London four years ago in Baptiste’s three previous Olympic appearances.

In the men’s 4×100-meter final, Trinidad & Tobago was the victim of a lane infringement during the race and disqualified after crossing the finish line in seventh place. Former Tiger standout Richard Thompson, twice an Olympic silver medalist in the sprint relay in Beijing and London, anchored the team that also featured Keston Bledman, Rondel Sorrillo and Emmanuel Callender.

The athletics competition at the 2016 Olympic Games will come to an end Saturday for athletes with LSU ties as Tiger senior Fitzroy Dunkley will feature as the third leg on Jamaica’s foursome in his first Olympic final for the men’s 4×400-meter relay that is set to run at 8:35 p.m. CT. Jamaica was the top qualifier in Friday’s preliminary heats with a time of 2 minutes, 58.29 seconds in the first heat.

Dunkley has already made his Olympics debut in Rio de Janeiro when he lined up in the very first heat of men’s 400-meter qualifying on Aug. 12, finishing in 24th place overall with his preliminary time of 45.66.