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NASSAU   With the first race yet to be run at the IAAF World Relays here in Nassau, Bahamas, Trinidad and Tobago athletes are already on centre stage. In the main photo on the cover of the official programme, T&T sprint star Keston Bledman looks to the heavens as he is about to settle into the starting blocks ahead of his men’s 4x100 metres lead-off leg at the inaugural IAAF World Relays, in Nassau, last year. T&T teenager Machel Cedenio is also featured on the cover, running alongside Bahamian Chris “Fireman” Brown during the 2014 men’s 4x400m event. Cedenio, the reigning 400m world junior champion, was also spotted on a large advertising poster in downtown Nassau. While surprising, the prominence being given to Team T&T in 2015 was earned at the 2014 edition of the global meet. The men’s 4x100m quartet earned silver, while bronze was bagged in the women’s 4x100m and men’s 4x400m events, T&T finishing sixth overall with 19 points. The second IAAF World Relays will be staged today and tomorrow at the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium, in Nassau, and quadruple Olympic medallist Ato Boldon is expecting an even better performance from T&T. “I’ll be very shocked,” Boldon told the Express, “if we leave here with a medal haul that is not as good as that. Across the board we’re better--4x4s and certainly 4x1s.” The men’s 4x400m combination of Lalonde Gordon, Renny Quow, Cedenio and Jarrin Solomon will be the first T&T team in action. At 7.24 this evening, they will run in heat three against the likes of Great Britain, Belgium, Australia and Dominican Republic. The top two countries in each heat will advance to tomorrow’s final. The same quartet finished third in last year’s championship race in a national record time of two minutes, 58.34 seconds. At 7.49pm., Bledman, Marc Burns, Rondel Sorrillo and Richard “Torpedo” Thompson will do battle in the second men’s 4x100m qualifying heat. Great Britain, France and St Kitts and Nevis are expected to be among the tougher opponents for the T&T sprinters as they bid for a top-two finish and an automatic berth in the 9.56pm final. Bledman is the 2015 men’s 100m world leader with a 10.01 seconds run, while Thompson is third thanks to his 10.04 dash a fortnight ago. Sorrillo and Burns are joint-22nd at 10.17. Boldon said that while he is expecting a good showing from T&T in the men’s sprint relay, a trip to the podium is not a guaranteed outcome. “In the next cycle of Worlds this year, Olympics next year, and then Worlds in 2017, we don’t have much room for error because some of the other teams in the world have gotten better. On the men’s side I don’t think we can have some of the problems that we’ve had--maybe from third (leg) to Richard--and survive and get a medal. “This meet is good, but it’s not a World Championships, it is not an Olympics. To me this needs to be sort of a training ground and a proving ground to show that when the pressure is on, T&T relay teams are going to be the ones that don’t make the mistake. Let everybody else make the mistake, and hopefully through that we can get ready for what is to come at the World Championships. World Championships is going to be as competitive a field as this group of athletes has ever faced.” Janeil Bellille, Romona Modeste, Magnolia Howell and Alena Brooks are expected to be on show for T&T today in the third and final women’s 4x400m qualifying heat. That race is scheduled for 8.53pm, and will also feature a strong United States quartet, as well as Italy, Poland and Canada. Again, a top-two finish would secure a place in tomorrow’s final. Charlie Joseph, one of two coaches here in Nassau with the T&T team, told the Express he expects the men and women who will represent the Red, White and Black at the 2015 IAAF World Relays to improve on the country’s 2014 performance. “I am hoping for three medals again, but different medals this time…different colour.”

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