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2014 and 2015 IAAF World Relays to be staged in The Bahamas
By Mirko Jalava for the IAAF
Aug 23, 2013 - 12:33:40 AM

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The IAAF Ambassadors Press Conference: Tatyana Lebedeva, Esser Gabriel and the Bahamas delegation ( Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, the Hon Daniel Johnson; President of BAAA, Mike Sands; and IAAF Council member, Pauline Davis-Thompson)

Moscow, RUSSIA - The Press Conference featured IAAF General Secretary Essar Gabriel, who introduced a new competition for the 2014 season: the IAAF World Relays.

This competition will be staged in the Bahamas in 2014 and 2015. The Hon. Daniel Johnson, the Bahamas Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, President of the BAAA Mike Sands and IAAF Council member Pauline Davis-Thompson were representing the event from the host nation.

“We are here to talk about a new and exciting addition to our events. The Relays bring the addition of teaming up and the excitement of the unfolding of different abilities with competitions from 100m up to higher distances,” said Gabriel.

“These are exciting events that the spectators want to see. The Bahamas is the land of relays; Pauline can talk about that, and testify. The icing on the cake is that the 2014 edition will be considered as a qualification for the 2015 IAAF World Championships in Beijing, and 2015 edition for the 2016 Olympic Games.”

Daniel Johnson provided the host’s perspective: “You are going to see a spectacular event, this will be one of the best events ever; we are bringing the best athletes in the world together.

"We are celebrating 40 years of independence and have just built a new national stadium named after Thomas A. Robinson (sprinter, who competed in four successive Olympic Games), a national hero and are building a new hotel resort., Baha Mar, it is the most spectacular resort in the Caribbean.”

“The Bahamas has a rich history in Athletics, we love athletics, but more than anything, we love the relays,” added Davis-Thompson, a double Olympic champion in Sydney 2000.

The host of the press conference, 2004 Olympic Games 100m Hurdles champion Joanna Hayes, asked US sprint legend Maurice Greene: “You competed in Olympic Games and World Championships in the 4x100m Relay, how would you have liked to have this competition way, way back in your day?”

“I’m glad you didn’t put another ‘way’ in there!” Joke Greene.

“ I think this would have been a lot of fun when I was competing, I would have loved to be a part of something like this, but unfortunately I’m not. Maybe I can be a part of it some other way.”

Russia’s Tatyana Lebedeva, the 2004 Olympic champion and three times World champion, was also present and the opportunity presented itself to get her opinion on the new addition to the IAAF World Athletics Series.

“I have to say that relays are also very popular in my country although, as a jumper, I haven’t participated in many of them. I would like to see a competition with men and women jumping together and results counted as a total for teams, I think that would be great for promotional purposes.

“Sprinters compete in individual events and then in relays, and for jumpers there are no chances to show the team spirit like that.”

Pauline Davis-Thompson was also posed with a question relating to the IAAF World Relays. “Pauline, you spent an athletics career traveling the world, what do you think would be the impact to athletics in your country, of a world event coming to the Bahamas?”

“It will have a great impact. One thing you have to remember is that Bahamas is a tourism destination, number one in the Caribbean. In the short term, it will be great to welcome the world to the Relays; long term, my country is focused on sport tourism and with the IAAF World Relays, the Bahamas will be on show and the world will see what we are all about,” said Davis-Thompson.

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