Sports

There’s still a chance!

Archer says BAAA putting together relay teams for New Life Invitational

Despite not sending a team to the World Athletics (WA) World Relays, and grabbing one of the automatic qualifying spots for the Olympics, there’s still a chance for The Bahamas to qualify relay teams for the Olympics.

After the conclusion of the relays, there are four spots available in the men’s 4×100 meters (m) relay, four in the men and women’s 4x400m, three in the mixed 4x400m relay and two in the women’s 4x100m relay. Those remaining slots will be determined by world rankings as of June 29, 2021, but for a team to qualify, the time must be posted at a WA sanctioned meet, and at least two other countries must be entered in the field of competitors.

At the moment, the final cutoff times are 43.05 seconds in the women’s 4×100, currently held by Nigeria; 3:29.42 in the women’s 4×400, done by India; 38.47 seconds in the men’s 4×100, ran by Turkey; 3:02.89 in the men’s 4×400 by Mexico; and 3:16.85 in the mixed 4x400m relay, which was ran by Germany.

The Bahamas’ best times in the qualifying period are 45.58 seconds in the women’s 4x100m, 3:40.51 in the women’s 4x400m, no time in the mixed relay but the country did run 3:14.42 for gold at the 2017 world relays, 39.49 seconds in the men’s 4x100m relay, and 3:05.58 in the men’s 4x400m relay although 3:03.80 from the last edition of the area championships serves as a qualifying time as well.

President of the Bahamas Association of Athletics Associations (BAAA) Drumeco Archer is optimistic that The Bahamas will be able to attain at least one qualifying position in the relays before the end of the qualifying period.

“We’re putting together relay teams that we have the utmost confidence in,” said Archer yesterday. “Our two most high-profiled athletes, Shaunae and Stevie, have both committed to running. We have strong teams across the board. We’re looking forward to The Bahamas posting fast times in the relays, and consequently, qualifying for the Olympics.”

Archer said they will attempt to field teams in the men’s and women’s 4×100 and 4x400m relay events at the North American, Central American and Caribbean Athletic Association (NACAC) New Life Invitational, a World Athletics Continental Tour Silver Meet, from May 28-29 in Miramar, Florida.

Responding to criticism regarding the absence of Team Bahamas from the world relays, where a golden opportunity to qualify for the Olympics was missed, Archer simply said they must put it behind them and re-focus their time and energy on gathering relay teams together in competition before the June 29 deadline. The top eight in the men’s and women’s 4×100m, 4x400m and mixed relays from the world relays directly qualify for the Olympics. The same was the case with the 2019 World Championships. The Bahamas didn’t field a relay team at either event. Be that as it may, Archer is of the view that The Bahamas has the talent to qualify for the Olympics in any of the five relays.

“We do the best that we can with the circumstances that we have,” said Archer. “The world had to make a decision in the best interest of their teams to qualify, and The Bahamas had its own view. At the moment, we are exploring other options. If the May 29 date doesn’t pan out, we are looking at other meets to qualify our relay teams for the Olympics. We’re confident that we will be able to accomplish our goal of qualifying,” he added.

Qualifying for the Olympics in the women’s 4x100m relay are China, Great Britain, Germany, Italy, Jamaica, Switzerland, Trinidad & Tobago and the United States from the 2019 World Championships in Doha, Qatar; and Denmark, Ecuador, France, Japan, the Netherlands and Poland from the 2021 world relays.

Making the mark in the women’s 4x400m relay are the United States, Poland, Jamaica, Great Britain, Belgium, Ukraine, the Netherlands and Canada from the Doha World Championships; and Italy, France, Cuba and Germany from the 2021 world relays.

In the mixed 4x400m relay, the qualified teams are the United States, Jamaica, Bahrain, Great Britain, Poland, Belgium, India and Brazil from the Doha World Championships; and Spain, the Netherlands, Italy, Ireland and the Dominican Republic from the 2021 world relays.

In the men’s 4x100m relay, the qualifiers for the Olympics are Brazil, China, France, Great Britain, Japan, the Netherlands, South Africa and the United States from the Doha World Championships; and Denmark, Germany, Ghana and Italy from the 2021 world relays.

Finally, in the men’s 4x400m relay, the qualifiers for the Olympics are the United States, Jamaica, Belgium, Colombia, Trinidad & Tobago, Italy, France and Great Britain from the Doha World Championships; and South Africa, the Netherlands, Japan and Botswana from the 2021 world relays.

Team Bahamas is trying to avoid not having a relay team at the Olympics for the first time since the 1992 Summer Olympic Games in Barcelona, Spain. If any of the qualified teams pulls out of the Olympics, that would open up an additional spot or two for teams looking to qualify.

The rapidly approaching Olympics is set for July 23 to August 8, in Tokyo, Japan.

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Sheldon Longley

Sheldon Longley joined The Nassau Guardian in January 2001 as a sports reporter. He was promoted to sports editor in 2008. Sheldon has an extensive background in sports reporting. He covered three Olympic Games and three world championships, along with multiple smaller regional and local games.

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