Well, officially now, the International Association of Athletic Federations’ (IAAF)World Relays is directly associated with a new host nation.
The IAAF has been on the hunt for several months for a new host country, ever since the government of The Bahamas dropped one of its flagship events from the national list of priorities.
Over the weekend, via its website, the IAAF officially acknowledged that the city of Yokohama in Japan, at its international stadium, will host the May 11-12, 2019 event. It will be the fourth in the series of the virtually new track classic put in place by the IAAF. The inaugural World Relays, the second and the third were staged in New Providence (2014, 2015, 2017).
Although opting not to host the event, the government of The Bahamas has subsequently found out just how important the World Relays event is and how it positively impacted this country. The IAAF website has been overwhelming in paying tribute to The Bahamas with reviews of the previous events.
Indeed, a great tourism gift was given to The Bahamas by the website marketing and pagination folks.
In the announcement statement, IAAF President Lord Sebastian Coe and Japan Association of Athletics Federations Chief Hiroshi Yokokawa were quite generous. Coe credited The Bahamas with playing a “key role in establishing the World Relays as a successful competition”.
The IAAF website article quoted Yokokawa as follows:
“The Bahamas [has] left important footprints on the history of athletics by organizing the IAAF World Relays for the past three editions, and it’s an honor and privilege for Japan to receive the baton from them.”
There it is, excellent marketing material for The Bahamas.
It must be clear to most observers by now, that our government dropped the ball, especially given that the $5 million (M) guarantee fee from the IAAF pales in comparison to what the nation’s political leaders have spent, and the millions more they are committed to spend from out of the taxpayers’ pockets.
My suggestion to the government, to seek to save face, is to empower Minister of Sports Lanisha Rolle so that she could immediately begin the process to bid for the 2021 IAAF World Relays.
The view here is that around the world, track and field fraternities have great respect for The Bahamas, as the host of the three first World Relays. If we go forth officially, very early, about now, with our desire to host the 2021 World Relays, I believe Lord Coe and his executive colleagues would be highly receptive.
Surely, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis can see his way clear to endorsing a $5-6M guarantee fee from the 2020-2021 national budget to bring the IAAF World Relays back to The Bahamas. I submit that such a communication should be drafted, soonest, and sent on to Lord Coe.
The IAAF World Relays event is now the missing link from the Bahamas Sports Brand.