With the traditional relays meetings during April in the USA and in parts of the Caribbean, including the Gibson Relays in Kingston which saw Usain Bolt have an outing, a few teams have already been going through their paces. But matters will get serious in Nassau.
In 2014, without Bolt due to injury, Jamaica fielded Nesta Carter, Nickel Ashmeade, Julian Forte and Yohan Blake and they combined to win in 37.77. It was the third-fastest run of the year and only beaten by two other performances by Jamaican teams, including one in the IAAF World Relays heats.
With Bolt replacing the recuperating Blake and Ashmeade just part of the 4x200m team, Jamaica is expected to draft in Carter and Kemar Bailey-Cole to complete the line-up.
Whoever they choose from their squad, as long as Bolt is on the anchor leg then Jamaica will start as the overwhelming favourite.
Last year, Trinidad and Tobago were second and Great Britain third after the USA had another day to forget where their men’s 4x100m is concerned and were disqualified in their heat.
If the USA can get the baton round in reasonable fashion, with a squad that includes fast men like Ryan Bailey, Justin Gatlin, Tyson Gay and Mike Rodgers, they should make it on to the podium and potentially could push Jamaica. But there seems to be air of uncertainty about US men’s sprint relays teams baton-passing in recent years, which some of the sprinters themselves have even alluded to from time to time.
After Jamaica, USA, Trinidad and Tobago and European champions Great Britain, the latter boasting the world indoor and European indoor 60m champion Richard Kilty, there seems to be quite a gap to the other 20 nations entered in this event but Brazil and the Netherlands seem to be the best of the rest.
Along with the 4x400m, the first eight nations in this event will get automatic qualification to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
Phil Minshull for the IAAF