By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
THE addition of the mixed 4x400 metre relay at the end of the two-day competition will provide alot more excitement for 3rd IAAF World Relays at the Thomas A Robinson National Stadium April 22-23.
Carlo de Angeli, head of event operations for the IAAF, yesterday made the announcement during a press conference at the stadium following a site visit by the IAAF.
Among those who joined de Angeli were Veronique Marchal-Rejaud, IAAF event manager, Luis Saladie, head of competition management for IAAF, Frederic Sanchez, the IAAF television and broadcasting manager, Melanie Bleuker and Rowena Samarasinhe, both of AMS Marketing.
They were joined at the press conference by Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Dr Daniel Johnson, Keith Parker, chairman of the Local Organising Committee, Rosamunde Carey, CEO of the World Relays, IAAF Councilwoman Pauline Davis and Tonique Williams, the media director.
De Angeli said the mixed 4 x 400m relay has only been ran once - at the IAAF World Youth Championships in 2015 in Cali - and it was a tremendous success at the time.
“We’ve removed what was the medley relay because the participation, honestly, was not what we had expected, so we hope to bring new life and new teams to this exciting event,” he said.
“As we’ve seen in Cali for the youth, it’s something that teams appreciate with men and women running together. It’s unpredictable because we don’t ask for a fixed running order. So it’s always something exciting to look forward too.”
Each team entered will be required to field two men and two female and they can select their runners in whatever order they decide to do so.
“They only have to tell us that one hour4 before the event is ran,” De Angeli said. “So everybody will be looking out to see who will be using which strategy against each other. It’s going to be a testing ground for the Bahamas, but we believe we can take it to other events that we put on elsewhere.”
The meet will once again serve as a qualifier for the top eight teams in both the men and women 4 x 100 and 4 x 400m relays for the 2017 IAAF World Championships that will take place in August in London.
As usual, De Angeli said they are anticipating around 50 countries and at least 700 athletes to compete here to compete because they
“This is a good time for them to come here. They like to come here because they feel so at ease here,” he said. “We know that some of the teams will be coming in a little early to enjoy a few days of training.
“So we can’t be happier with what we have developed here since we hosted the first World Relays here. We feel this is the ideal place to put on such an event that has produced some new initiative, since the initial event was held in 2014 with the second staged in 2015.
Minister Johnson said it’s an important day to demonstrate to the world that the partnership with two global brands to produce what is now the best event that the world has to offer.
After past president Lamine Diack agreed to bring the first two World Relays to the Bahamas, Johnson said they are getting to introduce the new president Sebastian Coe to the Bahamas with the staging of the third version of the event.
“Twice is not enough, but three times is a charm,” Johnson stressed. “We know the first two events were test events for the IAAF and for the Bahamas.”
Johnson said the Bahamas hosted the first global event in the national stadium and they were able to pull it of with ease. He said an All-Bahamian team, led by Lionel Haven and Tonique Williams, were responsible for the second edition and they are now on the verge of staging the third edition.
The Bahamas has been granted permission to keep the World Relays here for 2019 and they are going to pursue hosting it again in 2021.
Parker took the time out to welcome their partners from the IAAF and he assured them that the Bahamas would be ready to put on another spectacular event in April.