IAAF World Relays on the move again

It appears that the world relays was just on a loan to Japan for one year… but it’s still not coming back to The Bahamas.

The International Association of Athletics Federations’ (IAAF) World Relays will now head to Europe for the first time, in 2021, with the Polish region of Silesia confirmed as the host of the fifth edition of the biennial event.

The newest addition to the IAAF’s World Athletics Series was held in Nassau, The Bahamas, in 2014, in 2015 and again in 2017. This year, the event moved to the Japanese city of Yokohama.

Poland has a proven track record of hosting major athletics events with Bydgoszcz having hosted the inaugural IAAF World Under-18 Championships in 1998 as well as two editions of the IAAF World Under-20 Championships and the IAAF World Cross Country Championships. Sopot staged the 2014 IAAF World Indoor Championships, and Gdynia is currently preparing to host the 2020 IAAF World Half Marathon Championships.

Poland also has a strong recent record in relay events. Their women’s 4×400 meters (m) team was triumphant in Yokohama earlier this year and at the 2018 European Championships, while their men’s 4x400m squad set a world indoor record en route to taking gold at the IAAF World Indoor Championships Birmingham 2018.

Chorzow’s Silesian Stadium, which will hold the world relays May 1-2, 2021, has in recent years hosted several well-attended international competitions that form part of the IAAF Hammer Throw Challenge, including the Kamila Skolimowska Memorial, which last year attracted a crowd of more than 40,000 people. The Silesian Stadium was also where, in 1969, Nadezhda Chizhova became the first woman ever to surpass 20m in the shot put.

The region of Silesia is a major industrial hub and home to almost five million people.

IAAF President Lord Sebastian Coe welcomed Silesia as the first European host of the IAAF World Relays.

“The world relays is our youngest global event but in just six years it has developed a vibrancy that gives it a unique character,’’ Coe said. “Its focus on team races allows our athletes to show a different side to their sport, and their joy in competing with teammates shines through.

“We have been blessed with wonderfully enthusiastic crowds at every edition of the world relays and we are confident that the people of Silesia will provide another lively atmosphere. Poland is one of our most active member federations and has a deserved reputation for delivering excellent athletics events and attracting big crowds, so I’m delighted that we will be bringing another of our World Athletics Series events there in less than two years from now.”

The 2021 IAAF World Relays will be used as a qualifying competition for relay teams aiming to compete at the IAAF World Athletics Championships Oregon 2021.

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