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Poland creates world indoor championships surprise

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

BIRMINGHAM, England - Poland's unheralded 4x400m relay men caused the biggest sensation of the entire world indoor championships in the final track event on Sunday — and even astonished themselves when they set the event's only world record at the last gasp.

"It is a big shock and surprise for us. We were targeting the European record but really did not expect a result like this and never dreamed about the world record," said one of the Poles' astonished quartet, Rafal Omelko, with a bewildered smile.

The quartet of Karol Zalewski, Omelko, Lukasz Krawczuk and Jakub Krzewina established a world indoor mark of three minutes 01.77 seconds, which was remarkable enough in itself.

Yet what truly amazed was the manner in which Krzewina, turning himself into an instant Polish hero, hunted down American anchor leg runner Vernon Norwood to pip what was supposed to be an unbeatable US squad in the dying strides.

Norwood, the 2016 US indoor champion who has a lifetime best indoors of 45.31 seconds compared to Krzewina's 46.15, should have made it a formality, as he took the baton for the final leg while leading by some five metres.

Yet the man who had anchored the Americans to victory two years ago in Portland ran a curiously distracted race out front, something he appeared to accept afterwards when he reflected gloomily: "The team did a great job but no comment on my last leg."

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