1st Asian Relay Championships: Paris qualifications and regional dominations will take centre stage in the next two days!

As many as 16 member federations of Asian Athletics are fielding teams in the inaugural Asian Relay Championships, which will be held in Bangkok on May 20-21. The National Stadium, which witnessed a highly contested Asian Athletics Championships in the Thai Capital last year, will once again play host to the much-anticipated first edition of the Asian Relays.

Asian athletics powerhouses China and Japan are the two dominant forces that have claimed medals at the global stage, especially in the Olympic Games and World Championships relay races. Incidentally, Japan opened a medal account by securing a silver medal in the 4 x 100m relay during the Beijing Olympics in 2008 and added another eight years later in Rio de Janeiro. China won a bronze medal in the Tokyo Olympics in 2021.

In the World Championships, China won a silver medal in the 4 x 100m relay in 2015 when its capital, Beijing, hosted the global meet. Japan followed suit with two bronze medals in the next two editions of the championships, held in 2017 and 2019. Incidentally, all these medals came from the sprint relay races and were contributed by their male athletes.

However, China quickly ruled the event with 14 gold, 5 silver, and 4 bronze medals, of which their women athletes contributed 8 gold and 3 silver medals. Japan, on the other hand, proved its mettle in the longer relay (4 x 400m) with 13 gold, 4 silver, and 3 bronze medals as of date.

Indian women won 6 gold and 5 silver medals in the 4 x 400m relay, including five consecutive victories from 2002 to 2018. Bahraini women’s and Qatari men’s relay teams have recently made their mark on the continental scene. In sprint relays, however, teams from Thailand, Korea, and Vietnam played a vital role. Similarly, Sri Lankan teams registered scintillating victories over some of the strong teams in recent years.

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