Four was the number of the day for Liberty senior Alejandro Perlaza Zapata on Sunday, the final day of the 2019 IAAF World Championships at Khalifa International Stadium. Running his 44th and final race of the 2019 track & field season, Perlaza Zapata led off for Colombia's fourth-place men's 4 x 400 relay quartet.
Competing in Colombia's first-ever World Championships 4 x 400 relay final, the quartet of Perlaza Zapata (45.4 split), Diego Palomeque (44.7), Jhon Solis (45.0) and Anthony Zambrano (44.4) showed that they belonged. They set a national record for the second day in a row, posting a time of 2:59.50 which trailed only the USA (2:56.69), Jamaica (2:57.90) and Belgium (2:58.78). The Colombian squad finished one place ahead of defending world champion Trinidad & Tobago (3:00.74).
Colombia finished off a history-making 2019 in the 4 x 400 relay. The same quartet also combined for the nation's first-ever Pan American Games 4 x 400 gold medal in Lima, Peru in August.
Colombia will have an opportunity to make more history next summer. The team has automatically qualified for the men's 4 x 400 relay at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan by virtue of its top-eight performance this week.
Perlaza Zapata will look to make his second Olympics appearance next summer. He previously ran on Colombia's 4 x 400 relay quartet at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Earlier in the week, Perlaza Zapata competed in the men's 400. He clocked times of 45.62 in the heats and 45.17 in the semifinals to post a 15th-place finish in that event.
Perlaza Zapata's successful week in Qatar put an exclamation point on his incredible senior season at Liberty, which uncharacteristically spanned January through October. He earned All-America honors at the 400-meter distance, both indoors (sixth place) and outdoors (fifth place). Perlaza Zapata also captured 200, 400 and 4 x 400 relay titles at the ASUN Indoor and Outdoor Track & Field Championships.
Perlaza Zapata leaves Liberty after setting school records in six different events during his two years as a Flame. They include the indoor 200 (21.04), indoor 400 (46.07, also a South American and Colombian record), indoor 500 (1:01.35), indoor 4 x 400 relay (3:09.88), outdoor 400 (44.86) and outdoor sprint medley relay (3:20.65).