(Reuters) - A mixed shuttle hurdles race is one of two new mixed events introduced to the programme for this year's IAAF World Relays in Yokohama, the IAAF said on Friday.
The addition of a mixed 2x2x400 metres relay and mixed shuttle hurdles relay means there will be three men's, three women's and three mixed events at the meeting in over the weekend of May 11-12.
"The IAAF World Relays was designed to be fun for our athletes and fans so it's the perfect place to try new formats," IAAF President Sebastian Coe said in a statement.
"I’ve been championing innovation in our sport since I took the reins so it’s great to see the addition of a dynamic relay that will showcase our sprint hurdlers."
The shuttle hurdles will feature two men and two women in each team.
The men will run 110m hurdles in one direction and will then hand over to the first woman on the team, who will run in the opposite direction to hand over to the second man, and so on.
"I'm excited that the hurdles can be part of a relay," said world 100m hurdles champion Sally Pearson.
"I always enjoy participating in the traditional relays and now that my own event can be incorporated into a team event, it makes the World Relays even more enticing," the Australian added.
U.S. indoor champion Sharika Nelvis believes shuttle hurdle relays could become part of the Olympic programme.
"Hopefully, this opens the door to it being in the Olympics one day in the future, but it being at the World Relays is a great start," she said.
(Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond)