News01 Apr 2021

World Athletics Relays Silesia21 preparations enter finishing straight


Aleia Hobbs celebrates during the women's 4x100m final at the 2019 World Athletics Relays in Yokohama (© Getty Images)

After 18 months of intense preparations, plans for the World Athletics Relays Silesia21 are now in the final stages, with just one month to go until the event.

On 1-2 May, the Silesian Stadium in Chorzow, Poland, will welcome more than 1000 athletes across 150 relay teams and the Silesian Voivodeship assembly chairman Jakub Chelstowski says the organisation will be “100 percent ready” when the first teams arrive in late April.

“It seems like we only became the host recently, and yet over one and a half years have passed,” said Chelstowski. “Now, just as runners on a relay team, we are on the final leg, entering the finishing straight. 

“The preparations are in full swing and a few more weeks of hard work are ahead of us. The teams – and I have to stress, we will be hosting the representatives of many nations – will arrive in late April. I know the athletes are hungry for competition. I am happy to see them show so much interest in our event. I am convinced we will be 100 percent ready when the first teams arrive, but until that time, all of us will have to put in a lot of work.”

The event in Silesia has been promoted all over the world and the list of ambassadors now includes Britain’s 2004 Olympic 4x100m gold medallist Jason Gardener as the World Athletics ambassador for the event.

He joins Polish ambassadors Justyna Swiety-Ersetic, Patryk Dobek and Joanna Jozwik.

“April will be a very intense month for me,” said world and European medallist Swiety-Ersetic, who led the Polish team to a famous victory in the 4x400m at the last World Relays two years ago. “Soon, I will be leaving for a training camp in Spain. All that work is aimed at showing our best on 1-2 May in the Silesian Stadium. The event is our priority for the first part of the season. We want to show our strength at the World Athletics Relays Silesia21. A good result in May will be a positive motivator for the rest of the entire Olympic season.”

The World Athletics Relays Silesia21 also offers the chance for teams which have not yet earned Olympic qualification to book their tickets to Tokyo.

Away from the on-track preparations, developments can also be seen in the competition venue with the Silesian Stadium, known since last year as the National Athletics Stadium, being adapted to the event’s requirements.

“Preparatory work has been going on for many weeks now,” said Silesian Stadium chairman Jan Widera. “We are preparing workplaces for the media and refreshing the spaces which will be used by participants. Many installations will be made immediately before the event. The work is going ahead full steam. We are working on the stadium, the athletes are working on their form. All of it is aimed at being fully ready on 1 May.”

A great deal of attention is being put on pandemic safety measures, with medical safety protocols having been prepared for all groups of participants in cooperation with World Athletics.

Organisers for World Athletics