Wilson welcomes mixed relays at World Champs
The 2019 World Championships will present a mixed 4x400 -metre relay for the first time, as part of a packed schedule for 400-metre runners. Alarmed at first, noted coach Maurice Wilson believes that spectators will enjoy the new event and that it will give more athletes the opportunity to run at the championships.
Tried with good crowd response at the 2015 and 2017 World Under-18 Championships and at the last World Relays in the Bahamas, the mixed relay starts with heats on day two of next year's World Championships in Doha, Qatar, with the final on day three. The women's 400m starts on day four.
"I was alarmed at first", said the coach, who was head coach to Jamaica's 2017 World Championships team. "But then I said to myself that I think that they, the new administrators are looking at ways and means in which the sport can be more marketable, in which the sport can attract more spectators and so I started to look on it from this side."
He sees a plus from the perspective of more competitors getting to experience the World Championships.
"I also believe that it gives athletes the opportunity to be able to participate on the world scene," Wilson added.
The Sprintec Club founder and head coach allayed fears that the mixed 4x400m race could one day displace the male and female 4x400m relays altogether.
"Well, I would hope not because there is just too much history in relation to the 4x4 at our world meets, whether it be the Olympic level or the World Championship level. What we can say is that the mixed relay is very exciting for the spectators, but I don't think it will ever replace the 4x4, and I'm hoping that it doesn't, based on just the history of the 4x400-metre relay at our major championships."
In Doha, the traditional 4x400m relays start on day nine with heats and end on the tenth and final day of the championships.