Jamaica's Yohan Blake in action at the 2014 IAAF World Relays in Nassau (Getty Images) © Copyright
Preview Nassau, The Bahamas

Men's 4x100m preview – IAAF/BTC World Relays Bahamas 2017

Two years ago, the US scored a decisive victory over arch rivals Jamaica in the men’s 4x100m at the IAAF World Relays, the throat-slitting celebration gesture of Ryan Bailey afterwards proving as memorable as the race itself.

To many, it was considered a significant, cataclysmic win, the US men finally interrupting Jamaica’s relay dominance four months out from the IAAF World Championships in Beijing. In the end, of course, that proved to be misguided, given Jamaica returned to the top by winning the world title in Beijing then going on to win the Olympic title with ease in Rio.

In both of those finals, the US men faced embarrassment and frustration, disqualified after botched exchanges resulted in zone infringements.

Which leads us here, with the US men returning to Nassau trying to successfully defend the one title they still hold over their Caribbean rivals.

The race will bring down the curtain on the first day of events in Nassau on Saturday night (22), with a typically strong selection from the US set for action. It includes Justin Gatlin, Marvin Bracy, Mike Rodgers, Ronnie Baker and Leshon Collins.

With Usain Bolt and Asafa Powell not in attendance, Jamaica looks even more vulnerable than they did in 2015, though they still go into battle with an assembly of seasoned sprinters.

None more so than Yohan Blake, the 2011 world champion who finished fourth in the Olympic 100m final in Rio, who will be joined by a trio from their remaining squad of Kemar Bailey-Cole, Everton Clarke, Julian Forte and Jevaughn Minzie.

Olympic silver medallists Japan will also be in attendance, though they will be missing all four athletes who comprised their final quartet in Rio so may struggle to match those heroics. Canada looks a more likely bet to challenge the US and Jamaica, with all four of their bronze-medal-winning team in Rio slated to run in Nassau.

Their star, of course, will be Andre De Grasse, the 22-year-old Olympic 100m bronze and 200m silver medallist, who will be joined by teammates Akeem Haynes, Aaron Brown and Brendon Rodney.

Of the rest, the British quartet looks the strongest, with Adam Gemilli, Chijindu Ujah and Richard Kilty all slated to compete.

Cathal Dennehy for the IAAF