5th May 2024


The Great Britain & Northern Ireland team had a successful first evening session at the World Athletics Relays Bahamas 24. With the objective for the weekend’s Championships to qualify all relay teams for the Paris Olympic Games they managed to secure four out a possible five team slots during last nights races.

The women’s 4x100m led the way with a dominant win in their heat, with the men’s 4x100m, and the women’s and men’s 4x400m teams also making sure of their progress. Only the mixed relay team who narrowly missed out – finishing in third – were unable to confirm Paris in the first session, but they will have a further opportunity to do so on the second and final evening of action on Sunday at the Thomas A. Robinson stadium in Nassau.

First to take to the field of play were the mixed 4x400m team who battled hard in their heat but just fell short of qualifying automatically for the Sunday final finishing third in 3:13.32 behind Ireland and Belgium. Brodie Young (James McMenemy, Glasgow Jaguars) took the team through the first lap handing over to Ama Pipi (Linford Christie, Enfield & Haringey) in fifth.

Pipi battled hard on her second leg in a congested break from lanes and handed over to Charlie Dobson (Leon Baptiste, Colchester) in seventh position. Dobson, managed to make up ground, passing the baton to Laviai Nielsen (Tony Lester, Enfield and Haringey) in fourth. Nielsen also made up significant ground on the anchor, but could not quite pull the team into the top two placings required. However the team will compete on Sunday in the repechage round, with the aim of finishing in the top two positions in their qualifying race.

Reflecting on the team’s performance afterwards, Dobson said: “Obviously we’re all disappointed. Top two was something we definitely felt we could achieve but didn’t happen on the day.  We’ll go tomorrow in the repechage.”

Nielsen added: “This is a lot of our season openers, it’s really hard to judge your pace and your race plan. We’ll watch it back and have a good debrief with Martyn Rooney our coach, and try to do much better than that.”

Next up, the women’s 4x100m took to the track and they made absolutely certain of qualification for the final as well as their place in Paris with a dominant victory, the quartet finishing more than half a second ahead of the Netherlands in second – finishing in 42:33 secs.

Asha Philip (Amy Deem, Newham and Essex Beagles), Imani-Lara Lansiquot (Ryan Freckleton, Sutton & District), Bianca Williams (Linford Christie, Thames Valley) and Amy Hunt (Marco Airale, Charnwood) were a force to be reckoned – handing Hunt on anchor leg an impressive lead which she easily extended down the home straight.

Hunt was ecstatic with the team’s performance: “That was incredible it was my first time with these three girls, and they’ve been so absolutely amazing in trusting me and mentoring me and making sure I am on it! So, to get that baton and cross the line with the biggest smile on my face that was one of the most fun races I have ever done… and this crowd were insane! I felt like it really pushed me all the way and yeah, ten out of ten! We got here, we did our job, we executed so we’re super, super, happy.”

The third race of the evening was the men’s 4x100m and the GB & NI quartet of Eugene Amo-Dadzie (Steve Fudge, Woodford Green Essex Ladies), Zharnel Hughes (Glen Mills, Shaftesbury Barnet), Richard Kilty (Gateshead) and Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake (Ryan Freckleton, Newham and Essex Beagles) made certain of a job done with a solid run finishing a close second to the French team in 38:36. It meant they, like the women’s 4x100m team, qualify for Sunday’s final but more importantly booked their place for Paris in August.

Amo-Dadzie said: “For years I was sat on my sofa watching GB teams smash it in the relay, it was always one of those things I would think ‘oh wow how amazing that would be’ and now I am in the situation where I have helped GB get to that stage.

“God willing, I stay healthy, and I can be on that team in Paris, it is a very surreal feeling right now. This is a new line up in terms of the four who ran together so I am very, very proud.”

After the excitement of the 4x100m, it came to the tactical tightrope that is the 4x400m, starting with the women’s race.  In their heat they faced an Irish team bolstered with the presence of Rasidhat Adeleke, yet it was only by a small margin that GB & NI finished in second to the Irish quartet.

On first leg Victoria Ohuruogu (Newham and Essex Beagles) gave the team a lead which Hannah Kelly (Les Hall, Bolton) on second initially extended before the relentless Adeleke chased her down over the final 200m. Yet a strong leg by Nicole Yeargin (Vince Anderson, Pitreavie) and a great exchange meant Lina Nielsen (Tony Lester, Shaftesbury Barnet) was able to make up much of the ground with her attacking run, although it wasn’t quite enough for the win – Ireland crossing the line in 3:24.38 to GB & NI’s 3:24.89.

Speaking after about her whirlwind few months which also saw her win a World Indoor medal in March, Hannah Kelly was delighted to have played her part in qualifying the team: “It’s amazing! This time last year I was injured, I pulled my hamstring but what a difference a year can make! I’ve got a World medal, I’m at my second championships and we have just made a final and qualified for the Olympics! It’s a really good start to the season. I knew Adeleke was quick and my priority was to hold her off as long as I could.”

The final race was the men’s 4x400m. With Matthew Hudson-Smith (Gary Evans, Birchfield) leading off, the team had a lead. Then solid legs from Toby Harries (David Sadkin, Brighton Phoenix) and Lee Thompson (John Henson, Sheffield & Dearne), put Lewis Davey (Trevor Painter, Newham and Essex Beagles) in a strong position to confirm the team’s qualification. Whilst briefly overtaken by the pack between 250m and 150m to go, Davey held his nerve perfectly, preserving his energy until a gap opened up on the inside of the home straight. He accelerated through taking second place for GB & NI in 3:02.10 behind the Italian team.

Davey said: I was trying to close the gap on first and then I felt the guys appear right on my shoulder. One might have passed me on the inside, and I felt another one come round me on the top end and I got boxed in a little bit.

“I tried to kick, but then I found myself too close to the guy in front. I had planned to kick at about 140m to go, but I had to leave it until 80m to go. I had to do it then and found a gap. I was always going to have that strong finish, but it was more about what position I’d be in. Despite them being on my shoulder I was relaxed and felt I dealt with that situation well.”

Finals are scheduled for Sunday night at the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium in Nassau. Full results from today as well as Sunday nights timetable is available here Timetable | Bahamas 24 | World Athletics Relay