Records could tumble at inaugural World Relays
By Gene Cherry
(Reuters) - Olympic and world champions will gather in the Bahamas this weekend for a special global meeting that has no field events or individual competitions but the promise of world records and rich cash prizes.
The inaugural IAAF World Relays are all about speed as Jamaicans Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Yohan Blake join Kenyan double world champion Asbel Kiprop and a host of other world-class runners in challenging global records in the men's and women's 4x100 meters, 4x200m, 4x400m, 4x800m and 4x1,500m relays.
"We are trying to create something very fun and very different," Paul Hardy, competitions director for the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), told Reuters in a telephone interview.
The world governing body decided several years ago it needed a team competition to add to its series of global events, and relays, always popular with fans, seemed to fit the bill, Hardy said.
Relay loving Bahamas will host the 2014 and 2015 competitions with the event likely to go to a two-year cycle after that.
More than 500 runners from 42 nations are expected for this weekend's competition in Nassau's sold-out Robinson Stadium with $1.4 million in prize money and lots of bragging rights at stake.
The emphasis will be on breaking world records in events outside the traditional 4x100m and 4x400m relays, which are the staple events at the Olympics and world championships.
"Those are the events where we are very likely to see records...the 4x8, 4x15, 4x2," Hardy said. Continued...