6th May 2024


The Great Britain & Northern Ireland team signed off their weekend’s work at the World Athletics Relays Bahamas 24 managing to secure the Mixed Relay team’s position in the Paris Olympic Games to make it five out of five relay qualifications. Also successful during the final session were the women’s 4x100m team winning bronze in their final.

With bronze, and a fourth, fifth and sixth place from the evening’s action, the team can travel home having accomplished the main mission for the weekend as well as gaining valuable insight and data into a number of different relay running orders.

Having finished third in their semi on Saturday night, the 4x400m mixed relay team made certain of their second chance this evening with a dominant victory in their repechage heat. Brodie Young (James McMenemy, Glasgow Jaguars) gave the team a solid top three handover, before Laviai Nielsen (Tony Lester, Enfield and Haringey) moving up the running order took the team into contention in her final strides. She handed over to Charlie Dobson (Leon Baptiste, Colchester) who in taking the lead was never likely to be caught by the rest of the third leg field, and although they reduced the gap slightly at one point, Dobson stretched away again down the home straight giving Nicole Yeargin (Vince Anderson, Pitreavie) an unassailable start. Yeargin ran a solo effort to maintain the gap, bringing the team home in 3:12.99, ahead of second placed Ukraine.

Following his lead off leg, Young said: “It’s a massive honour that the coaches here and the athletes had enough trust in me to be involved in the team to start us off. I am going to use this experience for future competitions, I’m eyeing up that spot in Paris so it’s a really good start for me to be in an environment like this.

“That extra ten metres – the legs don’t have it but its all in the mind, you just need to think why you’re doing this, all that was going through my head was ‘try get the team to Paris’! So as my legs were starting to get tired, I was thinking ‘Paris… Paris…. Paris,’ just keeping that ambition in my mind was what got me to finish the race.

“It does put your mind at ease knowing you have Laviai, Charlie and Nicole to carry on the momentum I have created at the start, it does relieve the stress a little bit but at the end of the day anything can still happen, so I was still a bit on edge but mainly my mind was rested.”

Hot on the heels of the impressive mixed relay performance came the only medal of the night for GB & NI as the Women’s 4x100m team took bronze with 42.80 behind the USA and France. The achievement was even more impressive with half the team changing overnight. The new line up was led off by Alyson Bell (Anne Scott, Glasgow Jaguars), with Amy Hunt (Marco Airale, Charnwood) switching from anchor to second leg. Bianca Williams (Linford Christie, Thames Valley) ran her usual strong third leg before passing the baton over to Aleeya Sibbons (Coral Nourrice, Newham & Essex Beagles) to anchor the team home in third.

Bell said: “I’m absolutely over the moon. I think I was more nervous in the heats watching the girls get the baton round, it was so quick. I joined in and it was so much fun, the Bahamas crowd and the heat …it was all so overwhelming but in the best way, and it was so fun, and I am so happy!”

Sibbons said: “I am so happy, I’m so glad I came out here it has been such a great experience racing with everyone. I am really excited for what is to come. If we can do this here, God knows what we can achieve in Paris. It was anyone’s selection, but I am so glad I did get selected and got to experience what it is like to compete out here with some of the members of the team.”

The GB & NI men’s 4x100m team also saw a change in line up and running order for their final race. Finishing fifth in 38:45, Richard Kilty (Gateshead), Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake (Ryan Freckleton, Newham and Essex Beagles), Jona Efoloko (Ryan Freckleton, Sale Harriers Manchester) and Zharnel Hughes (Glen Mills, Shaftesbury Barnet) wanted more from their run but the tight lane two provided a challenge to the quartet.

Team Captain Hughes was level-headed in reflecting on the result: “The reason we came to the World Relays was to qualify for the Olympics, so all the teams are through that’s important. Tonight wasn’t the result we (4x100m) wanted but obviously we’re in and that’s all that matters for me.

“We haven’t run for the season as yet, so for a lot of us it’s our first competition together. A lot of guys aren’t as sharp as we’d like, but it’s early in the season. The Olympics is what we’re looking forward to most and when we get down there there’ll be fireworks!”

The Women’s 4x400m called up Emily Newnham into their line up as Yeargin was drafted into the mixed relay. They finished in fourth, just shy of bronze position behind the Canadian team. Victoria Ohuruogu (Newham and Essex Beagles), Lina Nielsen (Tony Lester, Shaftesbury Barnet),

Emily Newnham (Nick Dakin, Shaftesbury Barnet) and Hannah Kelly (Les Hall, Bolton) crossed the line in with 3:25.24.

Newnham reflected on her race: “I actually can’t remember it! It was like I just got the baton and then I was in the race. I literally can’t remember a thing all I can recall is thinking ‘do what Martyn said… do what Martyn said!”

Ohuruogu added: “When you make the final and you’re on the world stage it is always going to be tough, I’m quite familiar with these girls now so I just saw it as any other race, where I wanted to put us in a good position, and I think I did that. I’m happy to get these relays done, it was all part of my training plan, things are looking steady.”

In the final race of the night, the GB & NI 4x400m men were briefly in medal contention, however they eventually had to settle for sixth in a highly competitive field. Matthew Hudson Smith (Gary Evans, Birchfield) in tight lane two did an impressive job to set Alex Haydock-Wilson (Leon Baptiste, Windsor Slough Eton and Hounslow) off in contention, with Haydock Wilson in a strong second handing to Joe Brier (Matt Elias, Swansea). Brier battled a tough home straight handing over to Lewis Davey (Trevor Painter, Newham and Essex Beagles) who worked hard to keep the team close to the rest of the field. In the end the team crossed the line in 3:02.62.

Haydock-Wilson, who sat out the semi-finals was delighted to put in a strong performance for the team:

“It’s always an honour to run with the boys, this is why I do all the training for. The team spirit in the camp has been phenomenal and I would have gone home upset had I not got a chance to go out there and show them what I had been working on. I really did so I am grateful.

“I don’t have enough good words to say about this team, every type of character you can imagine coming together, backing each other and pushing each other forwards and we will be here for a long time and aiming for medals for a long time!”

Full results from this weekend’s action is available here Timetable | Bahamas 24 | World Athletics Relay