Some of the world’s top athletes will converge in the Bahamas when the International Amateur Athletic Federation (IAAF) stages the inaugural IAAF World Relay Championships in the new Thomas A Robinson Track and Field Stadium in May 2014.
IAAF president Lamine Diack said the two-day competition will “bring together the world’s best athletes” in a schedule that includes the 4×100 and 4×400-metre races as well as the 4×200, 4×800 and 4×1500 relays. The athletes will be competing for $1.4 million in prize money.
Speaking at a press conference following the athletic competitions at the London 2012 Olympics, Diack said the IAAF selected the Bahamas based on the past success of the country’s famous “Golden Girls” in the women’s relays, as well as the men’s 4 x 400 relay team of Chris ‘Fireman’ Brown, Demetrius Pinder, Michael Mathieu and Ramon ‘Fearless’ Miller, who stormed to victory for the gold medal at the recently concluded Games.
While the Bahamas has long been a force to be reckoned with in the relays, countries have also been eager to compete in the Bahamas at the Carifta Games, which is expected to be a prelude to the World Relay Championships when it is held in the new stadium next Easter.
President of the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA) Michael Sands, who delivered a guaranteed letter of acceptance from the Bahamas Government to the IAAF, said they are looking forward to putting on a show that the world has never seen because there is no comparison with this being the first relay championships to be held.
“Our vision, from the beginning, is what do we do with this new facility and how do we promote the sport of track and field in the Bahamas at the same time and continue to grow the sport of track and field in the Bahamas,” Sands said. “The only way to do that is to ensure the stadium does not become a white elephant and to create some incentive for our athletes.
“So being able to secure an event of the IAAF World Series, in this instance the World Relay Championships, the IAAF is fully behind it because it’s their event. We are only hosting it. But we are very, very fortunate that they have selected us as the inaugural host of the initial World Relay Championships. It’s a prestigious event for us.”