The Kenya quartet of world junior 800m champion Alfred Kipketer, Nicholas Kiplagat, Jeremiah Mutai and Timothy will be seeking Kenya’s first gold as the world relays championship starts today in Nassau, Bahamas.

Kenya are defending champions of the two lap relay race but ran an erratic race last year narrowly edging out a strong surge by Adam Kszczot’s of Poland.

Only Kipketer remains from that winning team and Kenya will be hard pressed to repeat the feat this time round.

This year’s Kenyan squad, which also includes Olympic bronze medallist Timothy Kitum and Jeremiah Mutai, doesn’t appear to have the talent the 2014 team had but they might still have a shot at the world record of 7:02:43, set at the Brussels Golden League meeting in 2006, if they run a more well-considered and managed race than their counterparts 12 months ago.

Kenya coach Sammy Rono is confident the team can defend its title “ We have a strong team of runners and this being our speciality we will do well” added Rono

The Kenya quartet will face a stiff test from last years silver medallist Poland and a resurgent USA team. Kszczot, the European champion, heads up an accomplished Polish team that also includes European indoor 800m champion Marcin Lewandowski and they must have making the podium as a target.

The USA, third in 2014, have also sent a strong squad which could surprise the two favourites.

Robby Andrews, Brandon Johnson and Duane Solomon ran the last three legs for the USA last year and are backed up this year by the likes of Casimir Loxsom and Erik Sowinski.

Australia finished fourth last year but don’t look quite as strong this time. A team that could challenge last year’s top trio is Bahrain, who have 2009 world champion Yusuf Saad Kamal and the experienced Belal Ali Mansoor in their quartet.

The womens team of Selah Jepleting(1200) , Emiliy Cherotich(400)m, Sylvia Chesebe(800) Joyce Zachary(400) Fransuica Koki (400) will run the newly introduced r medley realy final where the country has high hopes of winning gold

The 4x 400 meter realy team of Alex Sampao, Boniface Mweresa, Michael Makan, Alfas Keshoyan, Raymond Kibet will also be in action in the heats

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