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Bowleg welcomes the President of World Athletics, athletes

Bahamian athletes Shaunae Miller-Uibo, Anthonique Strachan, Devynne Charlton, Steven Gardiner and Alonzo Russell pose at today's press conference.  Photo: Tim Aylen.

Bahamian athletes Shaunae Miller-Uibo, Anthonique Strachan, Devynne Charlton, Steven Gardiner and Alonzo Russell pose at today’s press conference. Photo: Tim Aylen.

By BRENT STUBBS

Chief sports editor

[email protected]

MINISTER of Youth, Sports and Culture Mario Bowleg welcomed Lord Sebastian Coe, President of World Athletics, and athletes from around the world back to the Bahamas for the BTC World Relays 2024 Bahamas.

His comments came today in the scorching heat on the infield of Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium during a press conference on the eve of this weekend’s two-day meet.

Also present for the first part of the press conference was retired Jamaican-American noted quarter-miler Sanya Roichards-Ross, who now serves as a commentator for World Athletics.

“It is indeed a privilege and an honor to host three of the previous competitions and as we are about to host the fourth edition here in the Bahamas, we hope that your experience on this beautiful new Mondo circuit will be too. be a rewarding one,” Bowleg said.

He noted that the Local Organizing Committee will be introducing a number of new initiatives never seen before, adding that he is looking forward to what promises to be two fantastic days of competition.

Bowleg thanked Coe and World Athletics, North American and Central American (NACAC) President Michael Sands, Bahamas Amateur Athletic Associations (BAAA) President Drumeco Archer, the LOC, the National Sports Authority and the Ministry of Youth , Sports and Culture for organizing the event.

Bowleg encouraged the athletes as they “chase the sun of paradise to Paris” to always remember that they are the “greatest aspects” of the games.

And he also expressed his gratitude to the many sponsors, including BTC, for their commitment to bringing the World Relays back to the Bahamas after the first three editions in 2014, 2015 and 2017.

Coe said it was in 2013, during their council meeting, that World Athletics spawned the World Relays, with the Bahamas being identified as the first venue. He said the country was not chosen because of its location, but that it was about the “friendliness of the people of the island” and the “deep respect for athletics”. He pointed to the new stadium as a result of the achievement of the “Golden Girls” who won the first Olympic relay gold medal in the women’s 4 x 100 meters in Sydney, Australia, in 2000.

This year, Coe said more than 800 athletes will be on display here on Saturday and Sunday as they compete for qualifying spots and top placements for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, France.

“As with any Olympic trial, there will be those who will excel on this occasion and there will be those who will go home a little disappointed,” Coe said.

“Not everyone has expectations that are met, but we have an absolutely star-studded class (of athletes competing).”

Among the participants who took part in the third segment of the press conference were Imani-Lora Lansiquot from Great Britain, Teo Andant from France, Marcell Jacobs from Italy, Lieke Klaver from the Netherlands and Noah Lyles from the United States of America.

The Bahamas were represented by Olympic and world 400m champions Shaunae Miller-Uibo and Steven Gardiner, world indoor 60m hurdles record holder Devynne Charlton, sprinter Anthonique Strachan and quarter-mileer Alonzo Russell.

All the athletes spoke about their preparation and plans for this season heading into the Olympic Games, as well as their expectations for their teams in the World Relays, especially with so much at stake for Paris.

In between the athletes’ press conference, Charlton also presented her bib numbers and her Bahamian jersey that she wore when setting the world record at the World Indoor Championships to Coe, which would be placed in the World Athletics museum at the Monaco headquarters.

Bowleg also presented a book about Cat Island to Coe on behalf of Prime Minister Philip ‘Brave’ Davis. And Bowleg said it was Davis; I would like to see the Bahamas become the official home of the World Relays.