Sun | May 31, 2020

Mixed relays to feature at Carifta Games

Published:Sunday | January 12, 2020 | 1:01 AMHubert Lawrence - Sunday Gleaner Writer
Blake
Blake

The mixed 4x400-metre relay will make its Olympic debut this year in Tokyo, Japan, but that won’t be the only meet that will showcase the new baton event.

According to Warren Blake, president of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA), the mixed relay will also debut at the Carifta Games in Bermuda this Easter.

However, Dr Blake doesn’t see it quickly becoming part of high school meets in Jamaica.

“Carifta, they’re going to be introducing it at Carifta as well this year, because they took a vote and a decision to have the mixed relays this year in the 4x4, so we’ll see how that pans out at the local level,” said Blake.

He explained the rationale behind the vote.

“I am not absolutely sure what’s going to happen to the boys and girls 4x4, but when it was mooted, they wanted it to replace the boys and girls 4x4 because a lot of countries could not field a full 4x4 team, so it was suggested that this should replace both the boys and girls 4x4,” Blake outlined.

At the 2019 Carifta Games in Grand Cayman, none of the 4x400-metre relays had a full complement of eight teams, although there is competition there in four categories – under-17 boys, under-17 girls, under-20 girls and under-20 boys. The last race of the meet, the boys under-20 4x400 metres, had four teams: gold, silver and bronze medal winners Jamaica, Barbados, and the Bahamas and the fourth-placed Cayman Islands.

“It’s something different and, I think, still really a novel idea”, Blake commented.

Despite that, he doesn’t foresee the mixed relay becoming a fixture in meets in Jamaica.

DIFFICULT ENDEAVOUR

“That’s going to be a bit more difficult because a lot of our meets are in the school system, and some schools have no girls and some schools have no boys, so it’s going to be difficult for those schools to field a mixed team unless you would have schools pairing with each other to field mixed teams, it’s going to really be difficult to incorporate it in our high school segment of our meets,” Blake noted. “Probably at the club level, it could find its way there, but it’s going to be extremely difficult at the high school level.”

Jamaica won a silver medal in the new relay at last year’s World Championships with Nathon Allen, Roneisha McGregor, Tiffany James and Javon Francis doing the running in the final, and 2018 Commonwealth 400-metre hurdles winner Janieve Russell helped by running in the opening round.