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Olympic relay reprieve for disqualified US 4×400 squad

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USA’s Elija Godwin (L) and Lynna Irby compete in the mixed 4x400m relay heats during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo on July 30, 2021. (Photo by Javier SORIANO / AFP)

The United States have been reinstated to Saturday’s Olympic 4x400m mixed relay final after successfully appealing against disqualification, USA Track and Field confirmed.

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The reigning world champions were dramatically booted out of the final after appearing to win their heat comfortably on Friday at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo.

The team were disqualified after an illegal changeover.

US officials appealed on the grounds that race officials had wrongly positioned second-leg runner Lynna Irby.

The disqualification could have deprived 35-year-old Allyson Felix of a chance to become the most decorated female athlete in track and field history.

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Felix is currently tied with Jamaican legend Merlene Ottey with nine medals, a dazzling haul that includes six golds and three silvers.

Felix did not take part in the heat as Elija Godwin, Irby, Taylor Manson and Bryce Deadmon instead took to the track at the Olympic Stadium.

But Felix, a member of the quartet that won gold in Doha in 2019, could well start Saturday’s final at the Olympic Stadium.

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