It will be a bittersweet feeling in the track and field community in the country this weekend, as Bahamians will compete in the world relays, but for the first time, not at home.
The fourth International Association of Athletics Federations’ (IAAF) World Relay Championships is set for this weekend, May 11-12, at Nissan Stadium in Yokohama, Japan. The first three were held in The Bahamas.
The Bahamas will not defend its title in the mixed relay, but will attempt to automatically qualify for the world championships in the men’s 4×400 meters (m) relay. The other team from The Bahamas in action in the two-day meet will be the men’s 4x200m relay squad.
Athletes were chosen based on times ran this season. In the relay pool for the men’s 4x400m relay are national record holder Steven Gardiner, Alonzo Russell, Ojay Ferguson, Stephen Newbold, Andre Colebrook and Teray Smith. Making up the pool in the men’s 4x200m event are Smith, Newbold, Shavez Hart, Cliff Resias, CARIFTA athlete Rico Moultrie and Anthony Adderley.
The manager of the team is Dawn Johnson; the relay coordinator is Rupert Gardiner; and the other team officials are Michael Armbrister and Dr. Kent Bazzard.
The top 10 teams in the men and women’s 4x100m and 4x400m events from the world relays, and the top 12 in the mixed 4x400m relay, will directly qualify for the 17th IAAF World Championships which is set for September 27 to October 6, 2019, in Doha, Qatar. The other spots will be determined from the IAAF world ranking list.
Among nations, The Bahamas has the 11th fastest time in the world this year in the men’s 4x400m relay. The quartet of Ferguson, Smith, Colebrook and Russell, in that order, ran a time of 3:05.58 at the 125th running of the prestigious Penn Relays at historic Franklin Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, two weekends ago.
With Gardiner added to the mix, the team is expected to be significantly faster at the world relays this coming weekend. Gardiner is yet to open up his season in the open men’s 400m, but is the national record holder at 43.87 seconds. He is the only Bahamian to ever run under 44 seconds in the one-lapper.
The men’s 4x400m relay team will be in action at 7:35 p.m. Saturday night in Yokohama, 6:35 a.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST) Saturday morning in The Bahamas. The ‘B’ Final is set for 7:05 p.m. Sunday in Yokohama, 6:05 a.m. Sunday in The Bahamas. The ‘A’ Final will be held at 7:37 p.m. Sunday night in Yokohama, 6:37 a.m. Sunday morning in The Bahamas.
The heats of the men’s 4x200m will be held 6:31 p.m. Sunday in Yokohama, 5:31 a.m. Sunday in The Bahamas, and the final is set for 8:23 p.m. Sunday night in Yokohama, 7:23 a.m. Sunday morning in The Bahamas.
In addition to the usual men and women’s 4×100, 4×200 and 4x400m events, there will also be the mixed 4x400m relay, and for the first time ever, the mixed shuttle hurdles relay and the mixed 2x2x400m relay.
At the world relays, the men and women’s 4×100 and 4x400m relays are now qualified events, and The Bahamas’ men’s 4x400m relay team was the only one of the four to qualify. According to reports, after it was decided to field just a men’s 4x400m relay team at the world relays, Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Lanisha Rolle intervened, citing a desire for more teams to represent The Bahamas at the biennial meet. In this vein, the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA) attempted to get the men and women’s 4x200m and the mixed relay squads included in The Bahamas’ delegation, but were only successful in getting the men’s 4x200m entered.
“Within this track and field cycle, we are mindful of using every opportunity to qualify for the world championships. This is why it was important to contest the traditional 4×100 and 4×400 events in Yokohama,” said BAAA Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mabeline Miller in a press release. “Please be advised that entry standards were only imposed in the 4×100 and 4×400 events which are determined through the IAAF world ranking list.”
Based on the entry lists for the IAAF World Relays Yokohama 2019, a total of 790 athletes from 47 teams will converge in Yokohama for the global event.
Jamaica, the United States and Great Britain are all sending strong teams to the world relays.
Education: College of The Bahamas, Associates in Accounting