Column: Five reasons why everyone should watch the IAAF World Relays YOKOHAMA 2019

2019 / 04 / 24

While undergoing era transition from “Heisei” to “Reiwa” Japan will host the IAAF World Relays YOKOHAMA 2019! For everyone who might be puzzled like: “What kind of tournament is the World Relays?” or “What shall we focus on?” we would like to introduce “five reasons why everyone should watch the IAAF World Relays YOKOHAMA 2019”!


1) After all, it is a world tournament!

The world Relays is one kind of international competition hosted by the International Associations of Athletics Federations. It is ranked as a top-class tournament among all IAAF hosted tournaments.

Tokyo will host the Olympics in 2020, and however in fact, Japan did not host much international athletics tournaments before. There were five large world tournaments held in Japan previously – 1964 Tokyo Olympics, 1991 World Championships (Tokyo), 1999 IAAF World Indoor Championships (Maebashi), 2006 World Cross Country Championships (Fukuoka), 2007 World Championships (Osaka). The World Relays is the world competition that will be held after 12 years!

Relay is the familiar sports everyone has experienced even once in their life. To decide who will be the world number one, the world great sprinters are gathering from all over the world. The tournament where the well-trained athletes are competing with each other, makes everyone full of excitement.

As the various kinds of athletics competition are usually held simultaneously, if you don’t get used to watching the track and field events, you will get easily confused as “What and how shall we watch?”. But the World Relays is about only one event, relay, so all you should do is to concentrate on the race in front of your eyes! This is recommended for those watching competition for a first time!


2) 2020 Tokyo Olympics will be more exciting!

The World Relays is linked to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. This is because in the Olympic events, the top ten placed teams in the 4 x 100m and 4 x 400m men’s and women’s events and the top twelve placed teams in the 4 x 400m mixed event, will receive a ticket for the World Athletics Championships Doha, which will be held from the end of September. The top 8 placed teams of the IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019 shall automatically qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Will the Japanese team aiming to qualify in the Tokyo Olympics by the five kinds of relay events successfully get on this first wave? Predicting the battle at the Tokyo Olympics, we can say that it would be a crucial event.

Also, if we look at the World Relays, you will also see the aspect that it is possible to predict a country that is likely to fight for medals in the relay events of the World Athletics Championships Doha held in autumn and the Tokyo Olympics.

For example, it seems that only USA and Jamaica, which can be considered as a repository among top sprinters, tend to attract attention, but in fact, it is Britain that is currently regarded as the world’s number one. Also, the athletes from Canada, France, the Netherlands, China, etc. are strong, and recent achievements of Turkey in last season also prove their athletes have become stronger.


3) Enjoy rare relay events!

A feature of the World Relays is that in addition to the above-mentioned five Olympic events, the rare relay event, which cannot be seen at regular competitions, will also be held. In addition to the 4 x 200 m (relays where one person runs 200 m and connects batons) being conducted from the first meeting, the shuttle hurdle relay and 2 x 2 x 400 m Relay have been introduced as a mixed event at the World Relays YOKOHAMA. Let’s watch the live competition, while thinking that “Wow, they have such a relay!”.

A shuttle hurdle relay is an event in which two male and two female athletes create a team, running alternately in the order of female (100 m hurdle + 10 m) and male (110 m hurdle) and competing for the time of 2 round trips on the straight running course. The situation in which runners take turns without baton pass reminds of competition Relays.

The 2x2x400m is an event where one male and one female run 400m alternately, and the first and second breaks are allowed only at the time when the other teammate is running. Rather than sprinters, this is a relay where medium-distance athletes are likely to be competing with a strong desire of “Let me do it”!


4) A chance to find a future superstar!

In the World Championships, you can enjoy watching the performance of the superstar at that time. Not only that, but it is also a valuable opportunity to see the “superstar of the future.”

For example, at the World Championships held in Osaka in 2007, Usain Bolt (Jamaica) attracted attention by winning a silver medal for both 200m and 4x100m (2nd leg). The next time he has made a big break at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, so everyone knows about his activity after that first achievement. Especially now, at the international events held one year prior to the Tokyo Olympic, if you check the athletes from the viewpoint of “This athlete is awesome” or “He will get stronger in the future!”, you will get more familiar with watching tournaments and enjoy it more!

In this World Relays, there may be cases where athletes who have made great achievements will be represented in individual categories such as short distance, medium distance and hurdles. If we “scout” such players, it will be much more enjoyable for us to watch the athletes in the future.


5) You may witness the “Nippon, Gold Medal!”

Japanese men’s 4 x 100m team achieved the first medal (*) at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. After that, the team won a silver medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics and a bronze medal at the 2017 London World Championships. Even in the best record, they had 37.60, which is the fourth fastest time ever for the event, and it has become recognized as a powerhouse of this event in the world.

The goal of that Japanese men’s 4 x 100m team is the “gold medal” that no one of them had won before. Let’s see how they will challenge that long-cherished wish at this World Relays!

*At the time of the tournament it was a bronze medal, but then a doping violator came out and the team of the country in top-list was disqualified. In 2018, the rank up to a silver medal was officially confirmed.



Tickets now available


11 - 12th May 2019