GRAND EVENT: The organisers, stakeholders and government officials can be seen yesterday during a press conference to announce the World Athletics Relays Bahamas 2024.
Photo courtesy of World Relays Committee
By TENAJH SWEETING
Tribune Sports Reporter
The Bahamas will host the World Athletics Relays for the fourth time in 2024. The two-day event will get underway on May 4 and wrap up on May 5 as 32 teams will vie for a chance to qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.
The event will feature five disciplines, including the men’s and women’s 4x100 metres, 4x400m and mixed relays. With this being the fourth time the country has hosted the grand event, there will be 1,600 athletes expected to compete which has huge implications for not only sports but also tourism.
Senator Randy Rolle, global relations consultant in the Ministry of Tourism, Investments, and Aviation, talked about the different opportunities that can arise out of a sporting event of this magnitude.
“We can maximise our opportunities and capitalise on the benefits this event will bring, hosting the World Relays underguards our efforts and we aim to become the sports mecca of the Caribbean,” he said.
Rolle added with the amount of athletes expected to compete on Bahamian soil, it gives the opportunity to get into new various markets, including international markets to access new potential travellers including athletes, sports event planners and sports enthusiasts.
Next year’s World Relays will automatically include the top eight relay teams in each discipline from the World Championships in Budapest August 19-27.
Additionally, the top 14 teams at the World Athletics Relays Bahamas will automatically punch their tickets to the Paris Olympic Games.
Mike Sands, president of the North American, Central American, and Caribbean Association (NACAC), explained the other criteria which allows entry in the 2024 World Relays.
“The host country may also enter one team in each discipline regardless of entry conditions, the remaining team up to 32 will be determined through the top list in the qualification period January 2023 to Sunday April 2024,” Sands said.
Following three successful hostings of the World Relays in 2014, 2015 and 2017, the Local Organising Committee (LOC) along with Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Drumeco Archer intend to take a different approach to marketing next year’s event.
“We have placed these games in your hands. They belong to the Bahamian people, with my deep affections for young people, our team has taken a very deliberate approach in promoting these games into the homes of every resident throughout every island,” Archer said.
The marketing campaign will target primary, junior and senior schools and billboards will now be intentionally placed in front of public and private schools because the pupils are the future, according to Archer.
“The World Relays is a world-class event for a world-class country…we are introducing two mascots that will be the face of the World Relays. These mascots will showcase our culture and bring great visibility to our brand,” he said.
In efforts to bring mascots “Junkaloo” and “Junkasue” to life, there will be a competition hosted for kids 14 years and older from August 7 to Sept 16.
The first place winner will receive a cash prize of $3,500, second place receives $2,000 and third place will earn $1,000.
Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Mario Bowleg said it is a privilege to see the World Athletics Relays back to the Bahamian shores.
“This administration understands the exposure that sports can bring to this country and what events such as this will bring also with its economic boost, so we are looking forward to a great time…the road to paradise begins in The Bahamas,” Bowleg said.