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‘Paradise to Paris’ the goal at the World Athletics Relays

Sprinters descend on the Bahamas for two days of competition where Olympic qualification is at stake

More than 800 athletes from 52 countries traveled to Nassau in the Bahamas this weekend for the World Athletics Relays, with Olympic selection at stake. ‘From paradise to Paris’, the organizers have called it.

Speaking at a press conference ahead of the event, in temperatures around 30 degrees Celsius, World Athletics president Seb Coe says the concept of the event was discussed at his first council meeting with the world governing body in 2003. There was, he says, more to it It will take more than a decade to get the first event over the line in 2014.

Nassau held the first three editions from 2014-2017 before moving to Japan and Poland, followed by a return to Nassau this weekend. The capital of the Bahamas makes no secret of its desire to be the permanent home of the meeting.

From a fun early season event in the sun, it has grown into something with more purpose given the selection factor of Paris 2024.

“This is the Olympic year and we have put some danger in because Olympic selection is at stake,” Coe said. “Where the teams finish will also determine the draw of the courses in Paris, so there is a lot to play for here.”

Coe has of course also run a few relays in his time. He took part in a number of 4x400m races during his career and was part of a world record-breaking quartet in 1982 with Steve Cram, Peter Elliott and Garry Cook.

World Relays (Dan Vernon)

The 2024 event will see Noah Lyles and Gabby Thomas lead the United States 4x100m teams as they look to defend their men’s and women’s titles from last year.

Femke Bol will be part of the Dutch women’s quartet in the 4x400m, hoping to retain the world title from Budapest.

Olympic 100m champion Marcell Jacobs, who was part of Italy’s winning teams at the Tokyo Olympics and the 2021 World Relays, has also been entered for the 4x100m and was presented alongside Lyles at the pre-event press conference and others discussed his hopes for the season.

UK Athletics has brought a large squad to the Bahamas and they say their aim at the event is to qualify all the relay teams for the Paris Olympics. This follows the World Championships in Budapest, where Great Britain won medals in four of the five relays.

GB team

Women’s 4x100m: Kristal Ama-Awuah, Alyson Bell, Amy Hunt, Imani-Lara Lansiquot, Asha Philip, Aleeya Sibbons, Annie Tagoe, Bianca Williams.

Men’s 4x100m: Eugene Amo-Dadzie, Jona Efoloko, Romell Glave, Zharnel Hughes, Richard Kilty, Nethaanel Mitchell-Blake, Reece Prescod, Chijindu Ujah.

Women’s 4x400m: Hannah Kelly, Victoria Ohuruogu, Emily Newnham, Lina Nielsen, Laviai Nielsen, Ama Pipi, Nicole Yeargin, Jodie Williams.

4x400m men: Joe Brier, Lewis Davey, Charlie Dobson, Toby Harries, Alex Haydock-Wilson, Matthew Hudson-Smith, Lee Thompson, Brodie Young.

Mixed 4x400m: Athletes selected from 4x400m teams.

Nethaanel Mitchell-Blake (Mark Shearman)

BBC coverage for British viewers

Saturday May 4-5
23:55-03:30 – live coverage on BBC Red Button, Sport website and app (repeat on May 5, 08:10-11:45)
00:05 – 4x400m mixed – heats
00:50: – 4x100m ladies – heats
01:25 – Men’s 4x100m – heats
02:05 – 4x400m women – heats
02:49 – 4x400m men – heats

Sunday May 5-6
11:55-03:30 – live coverage on BBC Red Button, BBC Sport website and app (repeated May 6, 1:00-4:35)
00:05-02:04 – retakes for all events
02:40 – mixed 4x400m – final
02:50 – 4x100m women – final
03:00 – Men’s 4x100m – final
03:10 – 4x400m women – final
03:20 – Men’s 4x400m – final

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