Pandemic forces postponement of 2023 World Relays in China; impacts qualification system for World Championships

By Sports Desk October 31, 2022
Pandemic forces postponement of 2023 World Relays in China; impacts qualification system for World Championships World Athletics

The World Athletics Council has decided to postpone the World Athletics Relays Guangzhou 23, scheduled for 13-14 May 2023, until April/May 2025 (exact dates to be confirmed).

Due to the ongoing pandemic conditions, this decision was taken with the agreement of the Guangzhou organising committee (LOC) and the Chinese Athletics Association (CAA).

The decision to delay the World Athletics Relays impacts the qualification system for the relay events at the World Athletics Championships Budapest 23. Therefore, the World Athletics Competition Commission, upon approval of the Council, has revised the qualification system to include the top eight teams from the World Athletics Championships Oregon22 and the top eight teams from the performance lists.

The philosophy is to replicate a similar qualification system by still qualifying part of the field through direct competition and part through performance in the qualification period.

Details of the changes to the Budapest qualification system are outlined here.

World Athletics President Sebastian Coe said: “It is regrettable when we have to postpone an event. However, World Athletics and the local organising committee are committed to the responsible planning and delivery of the World Athletics Relays, which includes ensuring that athletes from all international federations can participate in and enjoy an experience in a safe and healthy environment.

“I want to thank our colleagues at the Chinese Athletics Association and the LOC for their efforts and cooperation in resolving this situation and look forward to 2025 when our hosts are able to stage a spectacular World Athletics Relays.”

The host of the 2024 World Athletics Relays is set to be awarded by the World Athletics Council at their meeting in Rome, Italy, on 30 November.

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  • Stephen Francis criticizes JAAA for men’s 4x400m relay qualification failure; offers suggestion to possibly beat June 30 deadline Stephen Francis criticizes JAAA for men’s 4x400m relay qualification failure; offers suggestion to possibly beat June 30 deadline

    Renowned athletics coach Stephen Francis has publicly criticized the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) for what he described as gross incompetence, which has placed the country on the cusp of failing to qualify for the men’s 4x400m relay at this summer’s Paris Olympic Games.

    Francis, known for his no-nonsense approach, did not mince words as he laid bare his frustrations with the governing body’s handling of the situation, as the country’s recent bid to make it into the top 16 in the world, again ended in disappointment.

    The team of Reheem Hayles, JeVaughn Powell, Kimar Farquharson and Tarees Rhoden, gallantly clocked 2:59.75 against a Barbados team, and an international quartet at the NACAC New Life Invitational in Bahamas on Sunday, but failed to run faster than the 2:59.12 seconds set by Zambia in March.

    That was Jamaica’s third attempt at qualification, following two failures at the World Athletics Relays, also held in the Bahamas, in May. Fourteen teams qualified from the World Relays with the next best two teams, based on times run during the qualifying window, being added.

    France (2:58.46) and Zambia, currently occupy those slots, with Jamaica now in a race against time to surpass one of the two before the close of the qualification window on June 30.

    Should the Jamaicans fail to do so, it would be the first time in decades that the country would be absent from the men’s 4x400m at any major championship.

    Francis believes all this could have been avoided had JAAA’s president Garth Gayle appointed competent individuals with immense knowledge of how to manage the situation accordingly.

    “Garth Gayle is a trying man, but he consistently gets letdown by the appointments he makes. Jamaica historically has treated senior athletics as an adjunct to junior athletics, so the same people are there, school principals and their technical committees, making these decisions on issues they know absolutely nothing about,” Francis told SportsMax.TV in an exclusive interview.

    “They know nothing about senior athletics. They might have some kind of resume in (managing) juniors, being a high school principal or a coach at a high school, so (the country suffers) as a result of these personnel, because they keep making stupid decisions when it comes to seniors,” he added.

    To drive home his point, Francis, a highly decorated coach, explained that the country’s teams to the World Athletics Relays were chosen based on early season times.

    “That is rubbish…unheard of, and only people who know nothing about senior athletics would ever even suggest that. (Those with proper knowledge) know that in April, nobody starts to run because people are more peaking for the summer, so what they should have done for the World relays is to run the teams you expect to run down in June. You make them aware early enough that, ‘we're going to select so try and get in shape because we need to qualify, we need to get to the final,” Francis reasoned.