COMBINED TIME Though his effort left Jamaica just short of a medal in Sunday’s World Championship 4×400-metre final, Javon Francis produced a sterling anchor-leg effort. As he did to rescue a silver medal in the same event two years ago, the 21-year-old national champion charged into the lead. In the 2013 World Championships, his anchor was timed at 44 seconds flat. On Sunday, he was even faster at 43.5 seconds. That matched the fastest hand-timed relay split ever, a 43.5 by renowned baton genius Davian Clarke, to finish a national record run of two minutes, 56.75 seconds in the 1997 World Championships. When more precise electronic times are considered, Clarke retains the lead by 0.01, 43.51 to 43.52 for Francis. In 1997, Michael McDonald, Greg Haughton, Danny McFarlane, and Clarke got the silver medal, as did Rusheen McDonald, Edino Steele, Omar Johnson, and Francis in 2013. Unfortunately, despite the anchor leg heroics, Peter Matthews, Ricardo Chambers, McDonald, and Francis just missed a medal on Sunday. They combined for a time of two minutes, 58.51 seconds, the same as Great Britain, but with the photo-finish camera revealing the edge for the British anchorman, Martyn Rooney. This was Francis’ first relay sub-44 clocking. He joins Clarke, Haughton and Seymour Newman as Jamaicans to produce such times on the 4×400-metre relay. Newman was the first, with 43.8 in the 1976 Olympics. Clarke matched that in the heats of the 1995 World Championships. In that race, McDonald, Clarke, Dennis, Blake and McFarlane became the first Jamaican team to break three minutes in 4x400m relay history. The Clarke sub-44 portfolio also includes a 43.81 that took Jamaica to the bronze in the 2005 Worlds and a 43.88 to seal the silver medal at the 1999 Worlds. Haughton’s sub-44 was an urgent 43.88 to connect Jamaica to second place in the 2001 World Championships. The fastest 4x400m leg on record is the 42.9-second anchor by outstanding American Michael Johnson at the 1993 World Championship. That closed a world record run of two minutes, 54.29 seconds.
1 Papiss Cisse Ten-man Newcastle United handed Chelsea their first defeat of the season as Jose Mourinho’s St James’ Park hoodoo continued.The Portuguese boss has never won a game in Tyneside and that record continued as the Magpies ran out 2-1 winners to halt the Blues’ unbeaten start to the season.A second half masterstroke from Alan Pardew saw Cisse enter the fray and promptly fire two goals past Thibaut Courtois.And, despite Steven Taylor’s sending off and a Didier Drogba header, the Toon managed to hang on and move themselves up to seventh spot in the Premier League.Chelsea were the early aggressors at in the north east and Willian looked dangerous when he whipped a shot goalwards, while Eden Hazard’s driving run had the Toon defence fretting, but instead of passing to Diego Costa he slashed a shot off target.But Courtois had to be alert when a swift move involving Spanish striker Ayoze Perez ended with a Jack Colback strike, but he was more than equal to it.And the sprightly midfielder continued an all-action display by curtailing a Chelsea counter attack before lashing a wild drive wide of the upright moments later.Oscar’s acrobatic effort just prior to the break was never troubling Rob Elliot, but the Newcastle numer two goalkeeper’s afternoon ended at half time as an injury forced Pardew to bring on youngster Jak Alnwick at the break.A game against the Premier League leaders, who have been prolific this season, is hardly the match you would want to make your debut in but he was in a confident mood, clearing an early corner with a punch.And despite an early change, Pardew was also in a bold frame of mind as he took off playmaker Remy Cabella and replaced him with Cisse.The striker admitted earlier in the week a knee injury still hadn’t fully cleared up but five minutes after coming on the Senegalese frontman slotted home when Gary Cahill scuffed an attempt at clearing Sammy Ameobi’s cross.Alnwick continued to repel a series of dangerous Blues crosses as Mourinho’s men charged forward and if it wasn’t the young glovesman it was another Toon star putting any limb they could, legally, in front of the shots which began to occur with metronomic regularity.Belgian wizard Hazard was left with his hands clasped over his head when his low strike cracked off the bottom of the post and he was left to rue his miss when the Magpies flew up the other end of the pitch to double their lead.Colback charged forward and Moussa Sissoko, while falling, somehow managed to play in Cisse on the right side of the box and, with Courtois stranded following his attempts to halt Sissoko, he fired his second of the game into an empty net.Chelsea were handed a huge boost when Steven Taylor was red carded for a reckless challenge on Andre Schurrle and from the resulting free-kick Drogba flicked beyond Alnwick, who was in no man’s land after lurching off his line.Strikes from Costa, Schurrle and an audacious effort from Brazilian left-back Filipe Luis were unable to deceive Alnwick and the Toon were able to cling on for victory, leaving Pardew to shake Mourinho’s hand with a wry smile etched across his face.