Mixed gender 4x400m to make senior debut at IAAF World Relays
The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) is set to continue its experiment with mixed gender relays in 2017.
Scheduled for April 22 and 23 in The Bahamas, the third staging of the World Relays will include a mixed 4x400-metre relay. The new event replaces the men's 4x400 and the women's 4x400-metre relays.
The World Relays schedule is posted on the iaaf.org website and lists the 4x100, 4x200, the mixed 4x400 and the 4x800 as the events to be contested when competition begins inside the T Robinson Stadium in Nassau. The inclusion of the mixed event follows its staging at the 2015 World Youth Championships. The USA won the 2015 World Under-18 race by a big margin but South Africa edged Canada for the silver medals in an exciting finish.
According to the January 6 edition of the IAAF magazine, SPIKES, the combination 'was a huge hit and we've been dreaming of a repeat at a major senior meet ever since. In 2017, our prayers will be answered."
CLOSING THE SHOW
The new event has a prominent place on the 2017 World Relays schedule as the final is the last event of the meet. The heats will be run at 9:48 p.m. local time on day one, with the finals closing the show at 10.30 p.m.
In previous years, teams were able to qualify for the IAAF World Championships with their performances in the World Relays. The elimination of single gender 4x400 relays effectively ends this facility. The single gender 4x400 races, and not the mixed version, will be nevertheless contested at the World Championships in London this August.
As part of a glorious inaugural staging of the Relays in 2014, Kenya showed its middle distance mastery with world records in both 4x1500s. However, those races were not included for 2015. The distance medley is also missing from the new World Relays schedule. In 2015, the United States did the double in the two distance medley relays, with a world record for the women.