by RENALDO DORSETT
Now a staple on the athletics calendar, the World Relays has found a home in the Bahamas for the immediate future, and according to IAAF President Lamine Diack, the decision was based on the unique appeal of the country and its people in their role as hosts.
Diack made the announcement at a press conference following a meeting with Prime Minister Perry Christie when the agreement between the government and the IAAF which will see The Bahamas host the 2017 IAAF World Relays was also formally signed.
“Bahamians have enthusiastically taken the World Relays to their hearts. We are therefore delighted that The Bahamas will also be the hosts for the next edition which takes place in two years’ time in 2017,” Diack said, “The organisation of the IAAF World Relays is a team effort. The IAAF would like to thank the local organising committee, the government of The Bahamas, the Bahamas Association of Athletics Associations, official IAAF partners and suppliers, and national partners and suppliers, for their support. We also send our special thanks to all the volunteers, without whom this event could not take place.”
The United States captured the coveted golden baton for the second consecutive year, when they won seven of the ten contested events at the Thomas A Robinson Stadium.
They finished with a total of 63 points and set two new world records in the men’s and women’s distance medley.
The IAAF President said it added to the brief but powerful impact the event has had on the sport in just two meetings.
“We witnessed a wonderfully successful event, a colourful festival of athletics which was topped by world records,” said, “Success is a powerful magnet. In total, teams from more than 40 countries comprising more than 600 athletes competed this year. The best relay squads in the world have been attracted by major incentives: There is US$1.4million in prize money on offer across the 10 relay events, including US$50,000 for each victory. There is additionally a US$50,000 world record bonus.”
President Diack was given the freedom of the city of Nassau by the Prime Minister and was also presented with a ceremonial key to the city to mark the occasion.
There was an exchange of gifts between the Prime Minister and President Diack.
The third edition of the event will officially become part of the IAAF World Athletics Series that year.
“The creation of the IAAF World Relays is the latest example of athletics’ continual evolution as a sport,” Diack said, “The IAAF is especially pleased that this exciting new competition has found a natural home in The Bahamas, a nation with a rich and successful history in the relays.”