The 2021 World Athletics Relays in Silesia are going to kick off this weekend. While most of America will be focused on the Kentucky Derby festivities, dozens of countries will join to compete in various relays. Most of the races have a qualifying time and are set up in a championship manner, however, this event is designed for fun as well. This has been one of the most fun events for track fans to watch.
Most important note on these relays, the United States and Jamaica will not be sending teams to the event. That is a shock as both of those countries have dominated these events in the past. The absence of the two could be in large part due to neither team worrying about Olympic qualification. With a field like the USA has, you don’t worry too much about the 4x100m, until it’s time to make the handoff that is.
The absence of these teams will allow others to shine. This also allows others to snag qualifying places at the Olympic Games in Tokyo along with the 2022 World Athletics Championships in Oregon. The deal is, the top eight teams in the men’s and women’s 4x100m finals will gain automatic qualification for the Olympics. The top 10 teams, those eight in the finals and the next two best times in the prelims, will gain automatic entry into the World Championships next year. More than just pride at stake.
In the absence of the two powerhouses, teams like Brazil, Italy, South Africa, Switzerland, and more can now hope to make the final and eye the podium. The Dutch team features two-time World Champion Dafne Schippers along with two other European indoor medalists in Jamile Samuel and Nadine Visser. The Nigerian team features Blessing Okagbare who took down a talented field in Eugene recently in the 100m.
Outside of the more serious relays with real rewards are the more fun races. These include the mixed shuttle hurdles relay, mixed 4x400m (also referred to as 2x2x400m), and the 4x200m races will all be straight finals. These races give a unique twist on the sport and produce some interesting results. All the action gets started May 1st and concludes on the 2nd.
Teams started arriving today.
— World Athletics Relays Silesia21 (@WASilesia21) April 27, 2021