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IAAF world relays coming to The Bahamas in 2019

The Bahamas might become the home of the International Association of Athletics Federations’ (IAAF) World Relays after all.

Out of an IAAF Council meeting during the staging of the Games of the 31st Olympiad in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, came the hosting of the 2019 world relays to go along with the 2017 edition. Both are confirmed for the sunny islands of The Bahamas, and now the country could boast of being the host of the first four world relays. It is the only IAAF global competitive event in which its first four editions are to be staged in a single nation.

Bahamian Pauline Davis-Thompson, the first and only IAAF Council woman of color, said that the confirmation of the 2019 event was some of the best news coming out of the Olympics for The Bahamas.

“We are so very excited about this,” she said. “This just goes to show the great job that we have done in the staging of the first two world relays, and every single Bahamian need to be congratulated for that. The IAAF is very pleased about our performance in staging the first two world relays. They love the junkanoo, how we present the athletes and of course the enthusiasm of the fans. They just love coming to The Bahamas. There have been a lot of great review all over the world. This is an amazing event, and my colleagues in the IAAF have been very pleased with how we have staged it. We are just very excited.”

The council, led by president Lord Sebastian Coe, also discussed the hosting of the 2021 and 2023 IAAF World Relay Championships — an event that is now held biennially due to it now being a part of the World Athletics Series. Davis-Thompson said that The Bahamas’ contingent made a push for the hosting of those events as well, but the council decided to hold off its decision on future hostings so as to coincide with the IAAF’s belief in universality. Other countries are interested in hosting the world relays as well.

“The Bahamas is just one country of 214 members of the IAAF,” said Davis-Thompson. “We would love to become the home of the world relays, and the IAAF is looking into some of their events possibly having a home country. As it stands with us and the world relays, there were some concerns as it relates to us having our general elections next year, but I told them that in The Bahamas, once we have a commitment to something, we follow through with it. I can’t see any government coming in and changing that. All of the council members love The Bahamas. They love the junkanoo. They’re very excited and are looking forward to another grand time in The Bahamas.

“Thank-you to the entire Bahamas, the press, the volunteers, the officials and of course the fans. We can do amazing things when we come together.”

The dates for the 2017 world relays have already been released. They are set for April 22–23 of next year at the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium.

The United States has won the ‘Golden Baton’, given to the meet’s overall winner, at each of the first two editions of the world relays. The meet serves as a qualifier for world championships and the Olympics in the men and women’s 4x100m and 4x400m relay events.


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