IAAF World Relays heads to Poland in 2021

The International Association of Athletics Federation has announced that the Polish region of Silesia will host its World Relays event in 2021.

It will mark the first time that the competition has been held in Europe.

The event debuted in Nassau, Bahamas in 2014, and the city subsequently hosted the 2015 and 2017 editions. After the Bahamas government opted to end its hosting agreement in 2018, the IAAF awarded the 2019 event to Yokohama in Japan.

The 2021 event will be held at Chorzow’s Silesian Stadium on May 1-2. The stadium has previously hosted competitions that form part of the IAAF World Hammer Throw Challenge, including the Kamila Skolimowska Memorial, which attracted more than 40,000 people in 2018.

IAAF president Sebastian Coe said: “The World Relays is our youngest global event but in just six years it has developed a vibrancy that gives it a unique character. Its focus on team races allows our athletes to show a different side to their sport, and their joy in competing with team-mates shines through.

“We have been blessed with wonderfully enthusiastic crowds at every edition of the World Relays and we are confident that the people of Silesia will provide another lively atmosphere. Poland is one of our most active member federations and has a deserved reputation for delivering excellent athletics events and attracting big crowds, so I’m delighted that we will be bringing another of our World Athletics Series events there in less than two years from now.”

Poland has experience of hosting major athletics events in the past, with Bydgoszcz staging the inaugural IAAF World U18 Championships in 1998 and two editions of the IAAF World U20 Championships and IAAF World Cross Country Championships. Sopot also hosted the 2014 IAAF World Indoor Championships, while Gydnia will stage the 2020 IAAF World Half Marathon Championships.

Poland’s women’s 4x400m team won gold at this year’s World Relays event in Yokohama and at the 2018 European Championships. The country’s men’s 4x400m team also set a world indoor record en route to taking gold at the 2018 IAAF World Indoor Championships in Birmingham.

The 2021 IAAF World Relays will serve as a qualifying event for the IAAF World Athletics Championships in Oregon later that year.