Who will run at the world relays?

by: Alpheus Finlayson

Although the addition of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Relay Championships has caused challenges for the selection of national teams, numerous federations have resorted to various options for a solution.

Most national championships occur either at the end of June or during July, which would be after the world relays. Only federations in the southern hemisphere like Australia and South Africa have their national championships early, which would be prior to the world relays. 

An exception to this is Cuba, just miles south of The Bahamas. Cuba always holds its national championships earlier than any other nation in the northern hemisphere.

For those other federations in the northern hemisphere, the possibilities are to stage trials expressly for the selection of team members, which would be difficult for those countries with numerous athletes attending schools in the United States; or to select who they consider to be their best athletes based upon prior competition, or by their listing in the current IAAF competition list or performances from 2013.

A few countries may have special trials for the relays.

The Bahamas’ plan

In The Bahamas, the current plan, which might change, is to have a selection at the Silver Lightning Classic in early May. 

Numerous Bahamian athletes attend United States schools and may not be able to obtain clearance from their schools to participate in either the Silver Lightning Classic, or the world relays. 

On the weekend of the world relays, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Regional Championships will be held.

In the case of Jamaica there will be no trials, but athletes will be selected based upon the IAAF competition list two weeks prior to the submission of entries deadline for the world relays. 

With regards to the NCAA Regionals, Jamaica has numerous senior athletes who are finished their college obligations, and many of those athletes reside in Jamaica.

Once they have that information, further scrutiny will be done by the federation prior to selecting the team.

In the case of the United States of America (USA), the proposal submitted by the High Performance Committee and agreed to at the annual meeting last December was that a pool for the 4x100 meters, 4x200m and 4x400m is to be selected from the top six athletes in each relay event in the 2013 World Championships, and the top six on the 2012 London relay teams, along with the first two finishers at the USA Indoor Nationals. 

Then they look at the top athletes from the IAAF lists from 2013.

At the same time, various pools will be assembled to participate at several national meets in relays including the Texas Relays, the Kansas Relays, the Mt. SAC Relays and the Penn Relays. After the final pools have been identified, they will have a camp in The Bahamas prior to the relay championships.

The USA vs. the world

Several nations will be invited to the Penn Relays, a month prior to the world relays, to participate in the USA vs. the World competition. 

This event, which is sponsored by Nike, has been quite popular over the last decade. 

The stadium overflows, especially with the Jamaican fans. 

Federations will have a good opportunity to see how fit the athletes are at that time, and make judgments if any adjustments are necessary in the few weeks prior to the deadline for final entries for the world relays.

Guidelines necessary

At present, many countries do not have specific trials for the world indoor championships. 

They use guidelines to determine which athletes would best represent them, and usually, just one performance will not do. 

With this in mind, we anticipate that there might be some challenges in selecting athletes for this year’s world relay teams but the nearly 50 nations will work it out.

When the inaugural World Relay Championships are finished, most of us will wonder what all the discussion was about.

Published  Thursday, March 13,  2014

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