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.
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers should have faced the media following his side’s narrow escape from a Capital One Cup exit to Carlisle on Wednesday night, according to ex-Reds midfielder Ray Houghton.The League Two side held Liverpool until the Premier League team triumphed, rather belatedly, on penalties to reach the fourth round, with Reds’ assistant manager Gary McAllister taking care of the media commitments instead of Rodgers.Liverpool have endured a torrid start to the season, which has seen them go six games in all competitions without a win, and Houghton insists Rodgers should have ‘fronted up’ after the insipid League Cup display to appease the increasingly disgruntled fans.“Maybe he should have come out and fronted up and said ‘OK, It wasn’t what we expected but at least we got through and we’re trying to build,’” Houghton told Hawksbee and Jacobs.“If he came out and did that he might have got some leeway with the fans, but we’ll just have to wait and see what transpires.“Obviously with him not coming out, the media will have a frenzy at his press conference ahead of the Aston Villa game on Saturday.”Rodgers is facing growing scrutiny by the week after a series of poor results and performances to match, and Houghton feels pressure from the Anfield faithful may force the club’s owners Fenway Sports Group into a cut-throat decision.He added: “I think there are question marks – it’s more from the fans.“I think once the fans turn on you you’re in real trouble because then it puts immense pressure on the owners.”