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IAAF seeking new host for World Relays as Bahamas ends deal

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) is seeking a new host for its World Relays event after the Bahamas government opted to end its hosting agreement.

The Caribbean country has been the home of the World Relays since the event’s formation in 2014 and was due to host its fourth edition from May 10-11 next year. However, the government is reported to have taken the decision to end the contract due to concerns over the cost of hosting the event.

While the government has yet to comment on the matter, the news has been widely reported in local media. Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations’ president Rosamunde Carey, who served as chairman of the Local Organising Committee for the last World Relays in 2017, told The Tribune newspaper: “It’s very unfortunate that after working so hard to make the Bahamas the destination for the World Relays that we won’t be able to host it again.

“Over the years, we have made this one of the premier events hosted by the IAAF, because a lot of the things that were introduced at the World Relays are now being staged at various meets by the IAAF.”

The latest innovation introduced by the World Relays was the mixed relays, which was utilised at last year’s event and has now been added to the programme for the 2019 World Championships in Doha, Qatar.

Carey said she had spoken to IAAF president Sebastian Coe and that a decision on a replacement host country is expected to be announced next week.

“It’s very disappointing, but we understand the consensus of the government,” she said. “As the former chairman, I just want to say thank you to the previous Bahamas government and the IAAF for allowing us to showcase such a prestigious event.

“We have made the Bahamas a global sporting mecca, hosting the event to the high standard that the IAAF expected us to put on. We have been able to put the event as a staple on their calendar and fulfil the confidence that they had placed in our council and the Bahamas in general.”

The Bahamas’ fellow Caribbean country, Jamaica, has already signalled its interest in the 2019 World Relays. Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) president Dr Warren Blake said he is keen on staging the event, but added that it would require financial backing from the government as the National Stadium would need significant upgrades.

“JAAA is willing to take it on, once we have the government’s support,” Blake told The Gleaner newspaper. “We made this position clear months ago, when we became aware that there may have been a vote against it. We are very interested in hosting the World Relays, it just depends on the financial backing of the government.”


Powell left out of Jamaica Commonwealth Games

Former 100 meters world record holder Asafa Powell was left out of the Jamaica team for next month’s Commonwealth Games because he was injured, the head of the country’s athletics association said on Friday.

Powell, who won 100m gold at the last Commonwealth Games to be held in Australia in 2006, had expressed a desire to race on the Gold Coast despite heading towards retirement at the age of 35.

The Olympic sprint relay champion was not among the 30 men named earlier this month to take part in the track and field at the April 4-15 Games, however, and the island nation’s top athletics official said the reason was straightforward.

“We had a credible report that Powell had sustained an injury and therefore could not be selected,” Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association President Dr. Warren Blake told Reuters.

Jamaicans have won the men’s 100m at the last four Commonwealth Games as the nation enjoyed a golden age in men’s sprinting spearheaded by the now retired Usain Bolt.

With 2014 Glasgow champion Kemar Bailey-Cole also failing to make the team for the Gold Coast, 2011 world champion Yohan Blake will be a strong favorite to continue that run.

Blake, Bolt’s former training partner and the third fastest sprinter of all time, is already in Australia with team mate Julian Forte, who ran the third fastest 100m in the world last year behind American Christian Coleman and Blake.

source: ca.reuters.com