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World relays set to return to The Bahamas

Global relay event approved for The Bahamas for 2024

Just last year, president of World Athletics (WA) Lord Sebastian Coe said he is open to the world relays returning to The Bahamas, and as of yesterday, a major step was made in that direction as it was determined at the ultimate level that the global event would come back to these shores.

During a press conference via Zoom at the conclusion of the 229th World Athletics Council in Rome, Italy, Lord Coe said the recommendation of the Bid Evaluation Panel to return the World Relay Championships has been approved for 2024. The Bahamas hosted the first three editions of the event, in 2014, 2015 and again in 2017, at the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium in Nassau. After the Government of The Bahamas decided to withdraw its host status, the 2019 event was moved to Yokohama, Japan. The 2021 world relays was held in Chorzów Poland.

“I am delighted to announce that the recommendation to the council for the destination of the 2024 world relays was in essence awarded to and approved for The Bahamas,” said Lord Coe via Zoom yesterday. “With this being a qualifying event, it was determined that The Bahamas presents the best atmosphere for the athletes to qualify in the relays ahead of the 2024 Paris Olympic Games. Congratulations to The Bahamas.”

An aggressive bid campaign, in which a 10-minute video highlighted the beauty of The Bahamas’ landscape, beaches, water and culture, and past scenes from the world relays, caught the attention of the global leaders of the sport. Lord Coe said he is delighted that the event is returning to The Bahamas.

Making appearances in the video of the World Relays Bahamas Bid Presentation were two-time Olympic Champion in the women’s 400 meters (m) Shaunae Miller-Uibo, Olympic and former World Champion in the men’s 400m Steven Gardiner, and Bahamian track and field legend Pauline Davis-Thompson among others.

In the video, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism, Investments and Aviation I. Chester Cooper said there is a good reason why sports in The Bahamas is referred to as ‘Sports in Paradise’.

“We have a team of citizens and residents who work together to deliver unforgettable experiences. What our team provides could best be described as a paradise for our guests,” he said. “It really starts with the convenient travel to our islands from gateways around the world. The Bahamas sits as a convenient midway point between North and South America, welcoming flights daily from both continents. At the same time, European travelers make their way to us easily with connecting flights daily through the United States and 10 flights per week through London.

“Once in our country, our guests find world-class accommodations, and all selected resorts for the games village are less than seven kilometers from the Thomas A. Robinson Stadium. I stand with a team of hospitality professionals who are ready to care for World Athletics with excellence whether it is at the competition venue, at hotels, restaurants or at our airports, we look forward to welcoming the world relays back to where it is better – right here in the islands of The Bahamas.”

The deputy prime minister went on to say that beyond the resorts the guests will have several forms of entertainment and festival options.

Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Mario Bowleg said in the presentation that he wholeheartedly agrees that there is no place like home – Nassau, The Bahamas.

“Nassau is the original home of the world relays. It is where thousands of fans experienced the thrill of an all relay event. The world had never seen anything like it, and it was a mega success,” said the minister. “What a legacy it would be to show how World Athletics continues to work with development states to bring opportunities to them. We can show the world that World Athletics provides a leveled playing field for all of its national federations. We believed in the world relays from the very beginning and it is my distinct pleasure to confirm that we still believe. Sports is once again a top priority for the Government of The Bahamas. The world relays has the unflinching support of the Government of The Bahamas and we are committed to exceeding the prior success of this event. We certainly feel that the time is right to bring the world relays back to its favorite destination – The Bahamas.”

Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA) President Drumeco Archer said he, as all Bahamians should be, excited upon the return the of world relays to The Bahamas.

“For the first three years of the world relays, the BAAA stood side by side with World Athletics, presenting to the world a new and fascinating aspect of track and field competition. It was ‘Bahamazing’, so I say let’s do it again,” he said. “This event was an inspiration not only to the people of The Bahamas, but it captured the attention of the world. Our team is once again ready to meet all of the challenges of the 2024 edition of the world relays. Volunteers, coaches, athletes and administrators from throughout our country will look forward to welcoming the world to our home. Most importantly, there is a widespread support of Bahamians for the return of the world relays. Throughout The Bahamas, we are collectively saying let’s bring this brand of excitement back to our shores.”

The 2024 World Relay Championships will serve as a qualifying competition for the relay events at the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, France.

With the 2023 CARIFTA Games being hosted in The Bahamas as well, and with the return of the Bahamas Games set for the summer of 2023, the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium is set to be a busy venue over the next two years. It remains to be seen how much upgrades will be undertaken and what the final cost will be.

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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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