The 200-day countdown has begun to the inaugural IAAF World Relays, which will be held in Nassau, The Bahamas, on the weekend of May 24-25, 2014.
The IAAF World Relays is the latest addition to the list of IAAF events and it is anticipated that the top relay nations in the world will make their way to the Caribbean to contest this exciting new competition.
“The IAAF believes there will be worldwide interest in a weekend of sport dedicated just to the relays, which have always been an exciting and dramatic highlight at our World Championships and Olympics,” said IAAF Senior Vice President Bob Hersh after last week’s second official site visit to Nassau.
The event will have extensive TV coverage and will be seen by millions of viewers around the world in more than 100 countries.
“We will introduce exciting innovations in terms of both the event presentation and the TV coverage,” added Hersh. “I am also certain that the world's best athletes – not only from sprints but middle distances also – will be excited about visiting Nassau in May, where the weather conditions and the support from a track-crazy public will help them achieve exceptional performances.”
There are two big incentives for nations to send their best squads to contest the 10 events which will be staged in the newly-built 15,000-seater Thomas A Robinson Stadium with both men and women competing in the 4x100m, 4x200m, 4x400m, 4x800m and 4x1500m.
The top eight teams in both the men’s and women’s 4x100m and 4x400m will automatically qualify for the IAAF World Championships Beijing 2015.
In addition, the top eight teams in each event will be awarded prize money with the gold medallists taking home no less than USD $50,000. In the event that a team breaks a World record in Nassau, an additional bonus of USD $50,000 will also be awarded.
A hugely enthusiastic audience is guaranteed thanks to the host nation’s love of athletics and its fine tradition in relays.
The Bahamas’ women’s 4x100m quartet famously took the gold medals at the 2000 Olympic Games and the men’s 4x400m squad triumphed last year at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
In addition, The Bahamas won the women’s 4x100m at the 1999 IAAF World Championships with their men’s 4x400m team taking the honours at the following World Championships two years later.
Anticipation is high that the thrills provided by the relays at the IAAF World Championships in Moscow this summer will be repeated in Nassau in less than seven months’ time.
Few athletics fans will forget how Jamaica won both 4x100m titles in outstanding times in the Russian capital, the return of the USA to the top of the men’s 4x400m podium and Russia’s dramatic home win in the women’s 4x400m.
The question is, will these nations be able to retain their global supremacy with a baton at the IAAF World Relays in 200 days’ time?
(Photo Credit: IAAF/Getty)