After a two-year hiatus owing to the COVID-19 restrictions, the Republic Bank National Association of Athletics Administrations of T&T (NAAATT) Relays Festival is back. The event will be held at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on May 22 starting at 1 pm.
Unlike previous years, the upcoming event will be contested on a zonal basis. Member clubs of the Association have been assigned to zones based on their geographic locations.
Four zones - North West, North East, South Central and Tobago - will each field two teams filling out all eight lanes at the venue. Zonal coordinators and assistant coordinators have been appointed to mobilise the clubs in each zone and to ensure that the best talent will be on show.
The Relays Festival is intended to provide local athletes with high-level competition similar to that faced in the international arena. This year's format is specifically designed to promote competitive balance through, collaboration among clubs, and rivalry across zones.
T&T has a rich tradition and proud track record in relay events at major international competitions. At the 2008 Beijing Olympics, T&T was eventually adjudged winner of the men's 4x100 metres event. Also, the men's 4x400m team won gold at the 2017 World Championships in London and at the 2019 World Relays in Tokyo.
At the most recent Carifta Games in Jamaica, the national team won five relay medals - silver in the boys' Under-17 4x100m and 4x400m; and the boys' U-20 4x400m with bronze in both the girls' U-17 and U-20 4x100m.
Preparations are proceeding smoothly and three zones held run-offs over the last weekend to aid in the selection of their respective teams. Athletes will have a further warm-up this coming weekend at the Zenith Relays and Field Events Festival that is being held at the Dwight Yorke Stadium in Tobago.