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Lyles, Bol and Jacobs headline world relays in the Bahamas

Two-time world individual sprint champion Noah Lyles leads a line of top track stars who will compete in the World Athletics Relays in the Bahamas this weekend, with Olympic qualification up for grabs. Lyles added a third world gold last year in Budapest after anchoring the US team to victory in the 4x100m relay. He will be joined in the Caribbean by Olympic 200m silver medalist Kenny Bednarek and in-form Courtney Lindsey, while also in attendance will be four women who helped the US to gold in the 4x100m in the Hungarian capital: Gabby Thomas, Tamari Davis, Tamara Clark and Melissa Jefferson.Lyles posted a wind-assisted 9.96-second victory in the 100 meters on Monday in Bermuda, Davis won the women’s short sprint in 11.04, and both will look to lead their teams smoothly into the competition to guide in. Summer Olympics in Paris. Some 893 athletes from 54 countries will descend on Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium in Nassau this weekend. Among them are several other multiple global winners, including Dutch 400m hurdler Femke Bol, Italian Olympic 100m champion Marcell Jacobs and a trio of Bahamian stars in the form of Shaunae Miller-Uibo, Olympic 400m champion Steven Gardiner and world indoor 60m champion. hurdles gold medalist Devynne Charlton.Jacobs leads an Italian quartet that should remain unchanged from the last world line-up, featuring Roberto Rigali and Olympic champion Lorenzo Patta and Filippo Tortu. Ackeem Blake, recently crowned world indoor bronze medalist, has been included in the Jamaican men’s team, but world and Olympic gold medalists Shelly-Ann Fraser Pryce, Shericka Jackson and Elaine Thompson-Herah are all missing from the women’s squad.Bol leads a strong Dutch quartetBol leads an incredibly strong Dutch women’s team in the 4×400 meters, including world champions Cathelijn Peeters and Lieke Klaver. Other big names include South African 400m world record holder Wayde van Niekerk, reigning 800m gold medalists Marco Arop of Canada and Mary Moraa of Kenya, and Botswana’s sprinter Letsile Tebogo, a surprise double world medalist from Budapest. The two-day program includes five relay events: the women’s 4x100m and 4x400m, the men’s 4x100m and 4x400m, and a mixed 4x400m with two men and two women. One team per country can participate in each event. The top 14 teams in each event automatically qualify for places at the Paris Olympics. The remaining two places in each discipline will be awarded based on top rankings during the qualification period (December 31, 2022 – June 30, 2024). Olympic places are up for grabs on both days of action in the Bahamas. On day one, the top two teams in each heat will progress to the final on day two, while also securing their qualification for the Paris Games. In the final on day two, teams compete for prize money and obtain seeding positions on the Olympic courts. All other teams will compete on day two in the extra round, where the top two teams in each heat will also qualify for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. There is also prize money to be won, with $40,000 awarded to the winners, while the eighth-place team takes away $2,000. The 2024 Relays are the sixth edition of the World Athletics competition, which returns to Nassau for the first time since 2017. The event made its debut in the Bahamian capital in 2014 and had two more editions there before moving to the Japanese city of Yokohama in 2018 and then to Silesia, Poland, in 2021. Miller-Uibo, the Rio 400m gold medalist 2016 and Tokyo 2020, is happy that the relays are back on home turf. “It’s great to compete here because there’s no other feeling than hearing your home crowd cheering you on. It makes you want to give the best of yourself,” the Bahamian said of the electric atmosphere in the national stadium. “I think that we have a great team for the mixed relay and I hope we can qualify the Bahamas for the Olympic Games.”