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Previews30 Apr 2024

WRE Bahamas 24 preview: clash of global title-winning teams in men's 4x100m


USA wins the 4x100m title ahead of Italy at the World Championships in Budapest (© AFP / Getty Images)

Three global championships have been held since the last edition of the World Relays, and each one has produced a different winner of the men’s 4x100m.

All three of those gold-medal-winning nations will clash at the World Athletics Relays Bahamas 24 in what looks set to be one of the most competitive races of the weekend.

Italy pulled off a surprised triumph at the 2021 World Relays in Silesia. At the time, it seemed as though they benefitted from a depleted field, given that the pandemic meant that relay powerhouses USA and Jamaica did not send a team.

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But at the Olympic Games later that year, with all countries fielding their best squads, Italy proved their relay success was no fluke as they powered to victory in 37.50.

The four men who stood atop the podium on that occasion in Tokyo – Lorenzo Patta, individual Olympic 100m champion Marcell Jacobs, Eseosa Desalu and Filippo Tortu – have been named on Italy’s team for this year’s World Relays.

Like any team lining up in Nassau, their main goal will be to ensure their qualification for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, where they’ll be aiming to defend their Olympic title.

But a strong US squad also heads to Nassau highly motivated to perform well in the men’s 4x100m.

The sprints superpower struck gold in the 4x100m at the World Championships in Budapest last year. World 100m and 200m champion Noah Lyles anchored the US to relay victory ahead of Italy in the Hungarian capital last year, but he is the only member of that victorious quartet who’ll be in action this weekend.

The other members of the USA’s World Relays squad are certainly no slouch, though. Olympic 200m silver medallist Kenny Bednarek, world 200m leader Courtney Lindsey and NCAA medallist Pjai Austin – all of whom have identical 100m PBs of 9.89 – add strength to the US team.

All four men who carried Canada to 4x100m victory at the 2022 World Championships – including Olympic 200m champion Andre De Grasse – will also be in action. The Olympic silver medallists will be keen to make amends after missing out on the World Championships final last year.

Jamaica has earned just one medal – 2023 world bronze – from the past three global championships, but there’s no denying they have the speed and depth to challenge for major titles. Their squad for Nassau includes three sub-10-second sprinters, including world indoor bronze medallist Ackeem Blake, world finalist Ryiem Forde and World University Games champion Kadrian Goldson.

Great Britain & Northern Ireland, who took world bronze in 2022 and finished just 0.04 shy of the podium at last year’s World Championships, have also fielded a strong team of numerous sub-10-second performers. World bronze medallist and 2023 world leader Zharnel Hughes will be joined by the likes of Reece Prescod, Eugene Amo-Dadzie, CJ Ujah and Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake.

Olympic bronze medallists China head to Nassau as the fastest nation in the world this year. Their quartet of Su Bingtian, Xie Zhenye, Wu Zhiqiang and Chen Jiapeng clocked 38.28 at the East Coast Relays last weekend, and all four of those sprinters will be in action in Nassau.

Many other teams will be hopeful of claiming a place in the final – or at least a position in the top 14 placed teams that will earn Olympic qualification.

Nigeria won the African Games title last month, while Thailand took a surprise victory at last year’s Asian Championships. Japan placed second at the last World Relays in 2021 and finished fifth at the World Championships last year. Brazil, meanwhile, were the surprise winners at the 2019 World Relays.

South Africa, France and the Netherlands all have the potential to earn a place in the 4x100m final too.

The main goal, however, will be to simply get the baton around safely.

Jon Mulkeen for World Athletics