IAAF execs optimistic ahead of world relays

Representatives from the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) are in town inspecting facilities and building workable relationships with members of the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) for the inaugural IAAF World Relay Championships.

A second site inspection of the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium was done. Also, an official unveiling ceremony was held yesterday at the British Colonial Hilton Hotel.

A number of the major stakeholders, partners and sponsors of the event were presented during Wednesday/s luncheon.

" It is with great pleasure and an honor to be here in The Bahamas on what is our second site visit, preparing for the World Relays, our first world match.

" Our president, Lamine Diack, sends you all greetings as he is in full support of this event, and so am I,"  said Robert Hersh, senior vice president in the IAAF.

" Our first site visit was during the time of the CARIFTA Games and I was extremely impressed not only with the athletes, but also with the involvement of the public and the atmosphere inside the stadium.

" We are now 205 days away from the first world relays, and there is a lot of work to be done.

" I am very confident with the commitment and the capacity of the organizing committee to do the work.

" We know that we are going to get the job done.

" We are very grateful to the government of The Bahamas for offering and undertaking the responsibilities of hosting this event.

" We really appreciate the fact that the Government of The Bahamas is behind this and will be hosting the very first world relays. We know that it is going to be a terrific event." 

The IAAF World Relays will bring some of the worldâ s best athletes to the country.

Powerhouses like Jamaica, the United States of America (USA), Russia, Canada, Great Britain and Trinidad and Tobago are expected to be in attendance.

During the two days of competition, athletes are expected to compete in the 4x100 meters (m), the 4x200m, 4x400m, distance medley and the 4x800m events.

The hosting of this grand event, according to Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Dr. Daniel Johnson, will set The Bahamas apart from other countries in the region.

" This really marks the occasion for our entrance on to the world stage of sports tourism,"  said Johnson.

" We know that we have been on the world stage in sports in performance. We have had athletes who have performed in boxing, sailing, judo, track and field, baseball, basketball, soccer, volleyball and the list goes on.

" That is the performance end of the industry. Like I said, when I became minister, I am interested in building a sports industry and not just a sports stadium.

" This event is the first in my knowledge of its kind, ever in the history of track and field. There has been no world relays in track and field, or athletics, so we are the first to host.

" We are the first in the region to have such a facility where you have two track and field stadiums side-by-side." 

The IAAF representatives made a courtesy call on Prime Minister Perry Christie on Thursday. An outline of their plans and the preparations made thus far was also revealed during that meeting.

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