The World Relays begin on Saturday and European sprinters have travelled to Nassau in sizeable numbers. Not only are global medals up for grabs this weekend, automatic entry to the World Championships in London is guaranteed for teams finishing in the top-eight in the men’s and women’s 4x100m and 4x400m.
With the action in Nassau set to begin tomorrow evening, we remember some of the great moments in European relay history.
Arron’s scintillating anchor leg in Budapest
The greatest anchor leg in history? Christine Arron was six metres down on Irina Privalova - who was second to Arron in the individual 100m, 10.73 to 10.83 - when she took hold of the baton but the Frenchwoman clawed back a seemingly impossible deficit to claim her second gold medal at the 1998 European Championships. Her anchor leg has been timed unofficially at 9.66.
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Board reels in Besson in Athens
Lillian Board had already won the 800m at the 1969 European Championships and the Brit added to her tally in the 4x400m. In one of the great duels, Board caught the French quartet helmed by a flagging Colette Besson - who beat Board for the Olympic 400m title in 1968 - right on the line.
Board was one of the supreme talents of British athletics but her life was tragically cut short the following year. She was diagnosed with cancer and passed away in December 1970, just two weeks after her 22nd birthday.
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Guei’s electric anchor in Zurich
Floria Guei only ran 52.82 in the semifinals of the individual 400m but some runners excel in a team environment. Guei, who was still around fifteen metres adrift of the medals with 150m remaining, locked on to the three teams ahead of her and ran a barnstorming 49.71 split to anchor France to the 4x400m title at the 2014 European Championships.
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Lewis-Francis holds off Greene in Athens
The British sprinters missed out on places in the individual 100m and 200m finals at the 2004 Olympics but they punched above their weight as a collective with an astonishing win over an American quartet which included two individual Olympic champions. This upset ranks alongside the British win over the Americans in the 4x400m at the 1991 World Championships in Tokyo.
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Schippers follows in Blankers-Koen’s footsteps
Dafne Schippers became the first Dutchwoman to win the European 100m title since Fanny Blankers-Koen in 1950 last summer and Schippers played an instrumental part in helping the Dutch team to their first European sprint relay title since 1946. While Blankers-Koen took the glory leg that year, Schippers ran a commanding second leg in Amsterdam before Tessa van Schagen and Naomi Sedney brought the baton home in a national record of 42.04 in Amsterdam.