In a bid to rev up the races at the IAAF World Relays to be held in Yokohama in May 2019, the IAAF has decided to add two new events to the lineup.
A mixed 2x2x400m relay and mixed shuttle hurdles relay have been added to the scheme of events. Joining the men's and women's 4x100m, 4x200m and 4x400m and the mixed 4x400m, it means there will now be 3 men's events, 3 women's events and 3 mixed events being competed on the weekend of 11-12 May, 2019.
The mixed shuttle hurdles event is a completely new feature to the World Relays program. Usually held as a single-sex race, the event in Yokohama will feature two men and two women on each team.
The men will run 110m hurdles in one direction and will then hand over to the first woman on the team, who will run back up the straight to hand over to the second man, and so on. To account for the extra distance, women will run out an extra 10 meters at the end of their leg.
“I’m excited that the hurdles can be part of a relay,” said world 100m hurdles champion Sally Pearson. “I always enjoy participating in the traditional relays and now that my own event can be incorporated into a team event, it makes the World Relays even more enticing!
US indoor champion Sharika Nelvis is excited by the prospect of being able to compete at the World Relays. “This is super great news,” said Nelvis. “I’ve always wanted to be in a shuttle hurdles relay. Hopefully, this opens the door to it being in the Olympics one day in the future, but it being at the World Relays is a great start. And it should be fun!”
The mixed 2x2x400m, a form of an endurance relay event, requires both members of the team to run two 400m legs of a relay. As with the mixed 4x400m, each team can choose to start with a man or the woman. The athletes then take it in turns to run their two legs of the relay.
IAAF President Sebastian Coe is excited to see how the new events will unfold in Yokohama.
"The IAAF World Relays is our youngest World Athletics Series event and it was designed to be fun for our athletes and fans so it's the perfect place to try new formats," said Coe. "I’m sure that both the new formats will contribute to the youthful, energetic atmosphere of the event, which we’re confident will be a resounding success in our new host city Yokohama in May."
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Suposh Sharma, keenly follows Hockey, Athletics, and other Olympic sports. He also has a penchant for writing humour and is an avid traveller