"Leno Corporate Services is honored to support and endorse the Barracuda Swim Club. We have always believed that investing in the talents of our athletes is a priceless endeavor," said Khalil Braithwaite, Manager of Business Development and Client Relations at Leno Corporate Services. "Leno is excited and enthusiastic to have this opportunity to contribute to the continued success of swimming which develops discipline and values as swimmers pursue their goals."
Dion Gibson, president of the Barracuda Swim Club, said: "We are so pleased and excited to enter into this partnership with Leno Corporate Services. We are grateful to them for choosing to support our club and the sport of swimming. This is Leno's first swim meet and we welcome them to our swim family and look forward to a successful relationship in the future." He also said: "Our coaching staff has prepared our swimmers well for the meet this weekend which promises to be very competitive and exciting. This meet give the swimmers a chance to achieve qualifying times as well as better their times to qualify for the upcoming 42nd RBC Bahamas National Swimming Championships which will begin Thursday evening on June 20."
The Bahamas Swimming Federation's (BSF) National Championships are set for June 20-23, 2013.
Swimmers both locally and internationally will compete this weekend as it is also the last FINA qualifying meet before the CCCAN (Central American and Caribbean Amateur Swimming Confederation) Swimming Championships, which will begin on the last Saturday in June.
The Barracuda Swim Club is asking the Bahamian public to come out and experience the excitement of what should be an extremely competitive swim meet. About a dozen swim clubs throughout The Bahamas are expected to take part in the meet which will get underway on Friday at 6 p.m., and will continue on Saturday, starting at 9 a.m.
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Eldece Clarke is one of the icons of national sports in this country. A lengthy career of representing her country began in the early 1980s and did not end until the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia. Along the way, she was a quality ambassador at the CARIFTA Games, the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Youth Junior Championships and of course the Olympic Games, over and over again. One of the fastest Bahamian females who ever lived, Clarke has a personal best time of 10.96 seconds in the 100 meters (m). That's the sprinting territory only national record holder Chandra Sturrup (10.84), Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie (10.91), Savetheda Fynes (10.91), and Pauline Davis-Thompson (10.97) have traveled.
The sprint relay gold medal with the rest of the original Golden Girls aforementioned is Clarke's crowning achievement. There was much more to her though. A while back we sat down and talked about the embryo of the original Golden Girls. Many have claimed credit for the development of the original Golden Girls to the point whereby they were the best relay squad in the world and one of the finest in history.
Little is known and even less is attributed to Clarke and Davis-Thompson for crafting the well-oiled Bahamian sprint machinery. I will always remember listening to Clarke
recount the many financial sacrifices and otherwise, the ladies made to attend training sessions in the United States and the mother-type leadership given the younger member of the cast, Sturrup, Fynes and Ferguson.
The initiative broke new ground and actually never has been duplicated. It was unheard of for a group of athletes to undertake the tremendous challenges of using their very own funds to purchase plane tickets, cover housing, food and in-land transportation in order to become an ultra elite force. There were many frustrating conversations between the five. There was confusion at times. There was anger. There were doubts. There were tears. There were financial shortfalls. They had to all stall their social lives and transfer that dedication to track.
It was a time when the silver medal from the 1996 Olympic Games, although appreciated, caused them all to think seriously about Olympic gold. Indeed, it was when the disappointment of the 1997 International Association of Athletic Federations (IAAF) World Championships cut deeply to the core of the ladies. There was total dedication to the cause of being No. 1 in the world unequivocally. The younger ladies had the talent and Clarke and Davis-Thompson brought about a culture of maturity that encompassed the lot and led to glorious accomplishments of World and Olympic titles in 1999 and 2000 when the original Golden Girls were untouchable.
I remember that part of the legacy as much as I like to reflect on their accomplishments on the track. I don't think that Clarke and the others ever got the proper recognition for what they did. It is therefore in order that with the 2013 nationals carrying her name, Eldece Clarke will be remembered for a bit more than just what her legs did on the track. Now with the story having been told again, there will be more appreciation for all that she contributed to the national sports power image.
The gesture by the BAAA is appropriate. Clarke well deserves the honor. Often, it's as if she is the forgotten member of the original Golden Girls. There have been too many instances when a picture of just four, Sturrup, Davis-Thompson, Fynes and Ferguson-McKenzie, has been used when referring to the original Golden Girls. The 2013 BAAA nationals being named in Clarke's honor does a bit to give balance to history.
Best regards Eldece!
oTo respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at firstname.lastname@example.org
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A total of 15 bowlers took to the lanes competing for medals, divisional titles and bragging rights. Division three gold medal winner Amanda Major served notice early that she meant business as she recorded a personal best of 105 in her first game. Not resting on her laurels, she then set a new personal best of 119 in her second game, giving her the high game title as well as the divisional title.
Division three is developmental and consists of new bowlers, all of whom had bowled fewer than 15 total games prior to the nationals. Coaches Gilbert Williams and Angie Smith were both extremely proud of Major's accomplishments and are already contemplating promoting her to division two during the next session.
Katie Forbes, long-time Special Olympics athlete, took charge of division two, capturing both the high game award (120) and the gold medal with a set score of 317. Forbes has a personal best of 130 which she recorded a couple weeks prior to the tournament, raising the level of her game just in time for the nationals.
While competition was expected to be very keen in division one, and it was, Deangelo Bullard made it very clear from the beginning that the battle would be for the silver medal as he had plans to cart away the gold. Bullard appeared to have gained added inspiration by his mother's presence who keenly looked on as he scorched the lanes for scores of 155, 132 and 156, capturing both the high game award and the coveted gold medal with a high set score of 443.
Bullard has a personal best game of 178 which he recorded earlier this year. Rounding out the top three in division one was silver medalist Daniel Johnson (375), and bronze medalist Kenva Knowles (359).
Chairman of Special Olympics Bahamas Nello Lambert, who is also chairman of Special Olympics Caribbean, highlighted and thanked unified partners Tara Culmer and Lesley Taylor for their participation and for being the first two unified partners of Special Olympics Bahamas.
Special Olympics Bahamas is a part of Special Olympics International, which is a non-profit, worldwide organization that provides sports training and competition for persons with intellectual disability. The unified partner program is comprised of persons without intellectual disability, who compete alongside persons with intellectual disability.
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The FIBA Americas Championships for Under-17 Boys, otherwise known as the Tournament of Americas, will be held June 11-15 in Maldonado, Uruguay. Team Bahamas needs to finish in the top four to advance to the 2014 FIBA World Championships, which is set for June 26-July 6, next year. The team qualified for the Tournament of the Americas after finishing among the top two at Centrobasket last year.
In this round, The Bahamas will play out of Group 'A' along with Argentina, Mexico and the United States of America (USA). In Group 'B' are Puerto Rico, Canada, Chile and host country Uruguay. The tentative schedule has Team Bahamas opening up against Argentina on Tuesday, June 11. On that Wednesday, Team Bahamas will play Mexico, and then the United States the following day.
The draw for the tournament was conducted by Sports Director of FIBA Americas Anibal Garcia who confirmed that the top four teams will advance to the 2014 FIBA World Championships for Under-17 Boys.
Members of Team Bahamas are working hard, training on Sundays and holidays. The team continued practice on Monday over at the D.W. Davis Gymnasium. Mario Bowleg, first vice president in the Bahamas Basketball Federation (BBF) and national teams coordinator, said he likes what he sees so far. He is counting down the days to the arrival in New Providence of the other national team prospects. So far, the BBF has released the names of 12 persons.
"I have recently gotten involved in the whole process now that the final selection is getting near," said Bowleg. "The team is well-rounded. Originally, it should be about 15 players in the pipelines before a final decision made, but we have 12 now and they are all young, talented players. You can say that the core of the team that played in Centrobasket will be returning.
"That was a well-rounded team with a lot of depth and chemistry. The coaches' expectations are very high. They know and can relate to the players more than I can. I don't know most of the guys like that, but the ones who I do know, I can say are strong and ready to play when called upon."
According to Bowleg, about three or four players will be returning home in a couple of days to work out with the team. The other members are inclusive of Sebastian Grey, Daejour Adderley, Shamar Burrows, Livingston Bromwell, Shamal Allen, Qyemah Gibson, DeAndre Vilmar, Traves Barnett, Oswald Parker, Kevin Cooper, Birthel Lightfoot and Raymon Smith, in San Salvador, El Salvador
Quentin Hall is the head coach of the team and he will be assisted by Chevy Simmons, Neville "Manny" Adderley and Stephen Brown. Players on the national squad hail from different islands in the country including New Providence, Grand Bahama, San Salvador and Eleuthera. Bowleg said he is proud of the route taken by the coaches to ensure that almost every island is represented. He also thanked them for doing a remarkable job on scouting the talent in the country and encouraged them to continue to build the national program.
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The Bombers, a mixed team of professional and some college players from National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I schools, took care of last year's winners, the International Jammers, on Sunday. The Bombers wrapped up the championship in two sets, 25-10 and 25-17. The men's crown went to the Defenders, their second consecutive title. The Lady Truckers finished third in the women's division while the Defenders 'B' squad placed third in the men's division. Other teams playing in the tournament included A-Gozar, the Lady Cheetahs, the 242 Volleyballers, the Saints, Venus and Passe.
Among the international players on the Bombers team, which was coached by Shedrick Forbes, were Benevia Jenkins, Kimika Rozier and Asya Nickles. Local players included Brittney Bonamy, Avonnique Seymour and Brittney Deveaux.
Forbes said: "A special thank-you goes out to all the players who took time out of their busy schedules and came down to play in the tournament. I would like to personally thank the five or six players who played on the Auto Mall Bombers squad, the new champions in the women's division. Their participation has really raised the level of play in the tournament, and we look forward to seeing them again next year.
"Overall, the tournament was an exciting one. I was able to speak to all the international players individually, and they have all confirmed that they will return next year. I must say that the finals was exciting, the Bombers against the International Jammers female squad. Both squads played consistently during this tournament and fought hard for every point. That's what volleyball is all about, playing consistently, serving tough and hitting hard when the opportunity comes. The other teams also played tough. The Truckers were very impressive and so was the A-Gozar team."
Forbes, who plays with the Scotiabank Defenders, said he knew that the men's division would not be easy. He said the competition and level of play was high from the first whistle and he was very impressed with the improvement from players on the local side. Forbes said he is looking for more fun weekend tournaments to be held here in The Bahamas, as it brings exposure and excitement, two things the sport desperately needs.
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With Deputy Director of Education Ross Smith, Education Sports Unit Director Evon Wisdom, Bahamas Softball Federation (BSF) President Burkett Dorsett, New Providence Softball Association (NPSA) President Godfrey Burnside and Bahamas Baseball Federation (BBF) Secretary General Theodore Sweeting present, the agreement that baseball and softball will co-exist in the government schools became official.
This pioneer venture is in keeping with the new sports culture that is being driven by the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture. Expanding the sporting landscape and providing facilities accordingly, is a key component of the present central administration. Just recently, the comprehensive sports complex in Flamingo Gardens was officially opened. A rather nice field that can accommodate both softball and baseball is in place. The government schools in the general area now have that facility available, and it can also now host visiting schools. It's all about broadening the base of school sports.
Hopefully, the private schools (not yet engaged in baseball play) will soon follow. Internationally, the sporting disciplines that are so similar in playing rules and regulations have made a joint application to become an official part of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) sports listing. There is the idea actually, that softball and baseball although operating separately, can function under one general banner to solidify the same objectives.
Locally, the inclusion of baseball in the government system provides yet another prime opportunity for scholarships. The BBF has blazed a trail in giving student/athletes scholarship situations. That organization is well-connected throughout the United States. It has been an avenue for hundreds of sports/educational scholarships over the last two decades. Now, just as students who have demonstrated extraordinary abilities in track and field, volleyball, and basketball are scouted and recruited to institutions, baseball in government schools will be another such forum.
Congratulations go out to the softball and baseball leaders from the two federations. While softball has for decades been part of the sports curriculum in all schools in the country, the concept of baseball is rather new. It is indeed good that the two sports that are so alike are now going a step further, joining forces, to propel both disciplines.
Of course, all of this is now possible, with the endorsement of the Government of The Bahamas following the advice given to Cabinet colleagues by Minister of Education Jerome Fitzgerald. It's a mandate indeed, according to the Guardian article, that came down from the central administration through Minister Fitzgerald. So, student-athletes in the government system across the archipelago can be prepared for a taste of baseball beginning in September.
For sure, the new adventure will be a "work in progress" for quite some time. It is a dimension however that is significant to the growth of sports in the government schools. Softball and one faction of baseball in the country are sharing efforts and ideas. Perhaps the nation is getting closer to the BBF and the Bahamas Baseball Association (BBA) coming together under one banner.
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Both teams accepted an invitation from the Government of The Bahamas, which set the stage for the first match featuring a Premier League Club in the Commonwealth of The Bahamas. The match will also mark one of the major events in the new 15,000-seat stadium as well
as in the year-long celebration of The Bahamas' 40th anniversary of independence.
The stadium and the country hosting two world-class soccer teams in this international event is another indication of The Bahamas' growth in prominence over the past four decades.
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The Russian pole vaulter will reprise her role as a YOG Ambassador, following her support and attendance of the Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games, which saw over 3,600 elite young athletes from 205 National Olympic Committees compete while also taking part in a unique Culture and Education Programme off the field of play. The Youth Olympic Games also encourage young people around the world to get involved in sport and embrace and live by the Olympic values
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The three-day meet has attracted more than 1,000 athletes from about 72 schools. Among the count are the 400 athletes from the various primary schools in the Family Islands who will be in New Providence on Tuesday. The meet which will run Wednesday-Friday at the original Thomas A. Robinson Track and Field Stadium, has a 10 a.m. start each day.
This is the second year the meet is being held in honor of Rahming, a long and dedicated individual, who has worked tirelessly on coordinating this and other track and field events. "I usually say it doesn't matter who the event is named after, I usually say it is the Primary School Track and Field Championships," said Rahming as he thanked the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture for putting his name on the event. "I am hoping that it is a good sign, and that the event is going to be bigger and better every year. The important thing about this event is it accomplishes what it is supposed to accomplish, and that is to ensure that primary school athletes get a chance to compete in an event that is well planned, organized properly and similar to the senior nationals. They can come to Nassau from the various islands and have the type of competition that they need to improve their performances. When you don't know your competition that is when you have to train harder.
"I notice that we have 32 teams, and we have 70 plus schools (in The Bahamas). That is good because you have majority of the Bahamian schools and athletes competing. This is really what the meet is for, to ensure that all the primary school athletes get a chance to compete in an event that is properly organized and planned. When they leave Nassau they can go back and say that they have competed against the best in The Bahamas at their age level. Thank you, minister, and thank you, Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture."
The first national track meet, which brought athletes together from all around The Bahamas, was held in 1981. According to Rahming, this meet started out small with just the winners from each school coming over to compete. It eventually grew and developed where schools are able to bring a full team now. Now in its 31st year, Director of Sports in the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture Tim Munnings said the ministry is very excited to once again be hosting this event.
Munnings added: "We are in the 31st year in the Primary School Track and Field Championships. This is the second year that we have named the meet after Mr. Frank 'Pancho' Rahming who is one of the founders of the meet. We are very honored to have him here today to continue this tradition. This event we expect to be the largest of all the events since we have hosted. We have a number of athletes represented from all of the islands coming in. Right now, there are probably close to or maybe over 400 young athletes coming in from the Family Islands inclusive of the public and primary schools, we are over 1,000 athletes.
This is going to be a very major event for these young kids. They are always excited to come and always looking forward to it. The parents, family and friends are looking forward to it. And we are expecting to have a very good time."
Also launching their support behind Rahming and thanking the Minister for naming the meet after him were the executives of the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA) and the members of the Bahamas Association of Certified Officials (BACO). President of the BAAA Mike Sands who also spoke on behalf of Bahamasair referred to Rahming as a renowned technical expert who has freely given of himself on a daily basis. Sands also noted that Bahamasair is the aircraft of choice for this year's meet.
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The new initiative called 'Playground to the Podium' will be unveiled throughout The Bahamas this summer. The fun and active program is expected to bring young Bahamians outside on a daily basis, providing them with opportunities so they can eventually compete in more high-level competitions.
"This is really a wonderful thing for us to get involved in you know the ministry is always involved in this," said Johnson. "We are focused now, almost exclusively on developmental programs. My one mission is at the top of this program and another at the foundation of the podium. We are going to build this program from the bottom up and calling it the Playground to the Podium. This is where you will have sports for all. Mrs. Oria Wood has designed a wonderful program that will be unveiled this summer.
"We want to make sports fun again, where everyone can come out and everyone can do something. We don't know what it is, but we really have to get back to just going outside and playing around. This is for all including children between the ages of two and six. We want them to go back outside. Too many of them are inside and we don't see them anymore. They are good with their fingers and the rest of the body doesn't work."
The minister said that the program would bring and uplift the spirits in the various communities in the country. He is hoping that the persons who will join this program will eventually enroll in the National Sports Academy Centers of Excellence. These centers will be built in the Family Islands and will be made available to all young and upcoming stars.
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Most recently, in the House of Assembly, he reinforced his government's commitment to sports development.
"The government over the next two or three years will be making a major commitment to athletics and sporting development in this country and we honestly believe that we will see the results of it in the future. We know that there are athletes in our islands today who have not had the opportunity and who have this incredible talent. Once given the opportunity, [they] can excel at the international level and this government intends to give them the opportunity to help them be the best that they can. We will provide them with the facilities to ensure that," said the prime minister in the House.
Indeed, that all sounds so very good.
Now, we await the substantive follow-up. Like Jimmy Johnson, the former Dallas Cowboys' coach advocates, PM Christie must not only "talk the talk", now he and his Cabinet colleagues are expected to "walk the walk." Yes, they need to walk through Cabinet, the necessary financial allocations that will make sense. It will be ridiculous to OK an amount that will not go the full distance in setting up the national sports development properly. For instance, once the facilities are put in place, along with that must come the funding to cover the upkeep costs and the necessary persons to ensure the process is maintained always.
The centers of sports excellence that are to propel the National Sports Academy must be appropriately staffed with competent personnel, provided with equipment and the kind of general expertise that will enable the system to thrive. It is clear that financial projections do not always accompany the verbal promises of politicians, particularly, concerning the sporting needs of the country.
What is the financial projection for the National Sports Academy?
A start-up allocation should be at least $20 million. Just the movement of sporting administrators and training experts around the nation to the many locations of sports potential will be a high cost. This aspect is most necessary. Then, there are the salaries and stipends for full time staff, support teams and the subsistence of the centers of sports excellence. Funding also must be provided for those smaller academy entities (presently existing in several islands) that the government will wish to partner with in order to further drive the national initiative.
Equipment for all of the sporting disciplines will require another large allocation of funding.
The aforementioned gives but an idea of what will be needed, generally, to sustain a viable National Sports Academy, that resembles that which has made Jamaica the envy of all of the larger nations of the world, the United States inclusive.
Put simply, we have to be about making sense.
Quite frankly, the needs (that the PM speaks of) to boost sports in this country are commonly known. I have long addressed such in this space. It is good though that finally some meaningful attention to sports appear to be the new order for our politicians, with the PM leading the way.
Now we wait to see just how serious he really is.
o To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at email@example.com.
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Hamilton led the Graceland University Yellow Jackets to the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Tennis Championships, while Ferguson swung his way into the history books for the Prairie State Pioneers. Ferguson is the number one singles player for the college in Chicago Heights, Illinois. The freshman led the Pioneers to their first Skyway Conference title, with a 6-0 win/loss record this season.
Ferguson was undefeated up until the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Region IV tournament, currently ongoing in Plano, Texas. He opened up against Caio Gomes of Laredo Community College, who took the match 6-1 and 6-2. In doubles, Ferguson partnered with Jack Schumann, and they lost in the first round to Jack Busby and Josh Coleman, 6-0 and 6-1.
"We worked really hard all year," Prairie State coach Patrick Reichard said in a press release yesterday. "It was our goal all year (to win the regional), and we were all elated when we did it. Our top three singles players pushed our 4-5-6 guys all year and got them ready for this. Our 4-5-6 guys really stepped up and played some clutch tennis when we needed it the most."
Over at the NAIA Championships, Hamilton and the Yellow Jackets were eliminated in the second round. The team play competition lined Graceland up against Northwood University in the first round. Hamilton played the sixth match and defeated Diego Ortega, 6-4 and 6-2. He and Rodolfo Sanchez teamed up for doubles and sent David Cathalina and Niktia Borodatov packing. The Yellow Jackets defeated Northwood University, 7-2, closing the first round of play with a score of 13-6.
In round two, the Yellow Jackets played Auburn Montgomery who defeated them 5-0. Hamilton drew Othmane Lalami and fell, 6-3 and 6-1. Over in the doubles, Lalami and Josh Reason defeated Hamilton and Sanchez. The final scores in that round were the Yellow Jackets 15-7 and Auburn Montgomery 19-3.
In other tennis news, Kevin Major Jr. is into the third round of the Delray Beach Tennis Tournament. Major Jr. will play Jordan Belga today.
Major Jr. is one of five Bahamian junior tennis players taking part in the International Tennis Federation's (ITF) grade four tournament. Justin Roberts fell in the opening round, 6-4, 6-7 (4) and 6-2 to Jean Thirouin. Zandriz Acob eliminated Rasheed Carey, 6-2 and 6-3, and Aron Pierce sent Shaquille Taylor packing, 2-6, 6-3 and 6-4.
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The official names were released by BGF President James Gomez who believes the mixed squad will do very well when they tee off against the other countries in the region. Team Bahamas will hit the greens July 1-6, at the North Sound Golf Club, in the Cayman Islands. The Bahamian golfers will join their Caribbean counterparts from the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, Barbados, the United States Virgin Islands (USVI) and the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) on the 18-hole championships course.
An optimistic Gomez said the team will have about six weeks to train before heading over to the Cayman Islands.
"This is one of our strongest teams, a group of well-rounded young men and women," said Gomez, as he congratulated each member on being selected to the squad. "When you look at, or break the age divisions down, I would say that the 11-13 boys will do well. Both Xavier Robinson and Cameron Riley are playing very well. The 14-15 boys are strong as well. Asif Robinson, Lucas Echeverri and Craig Gomez have improved over the years and have all played at this tournament before.
"As for the girls, they are very strong as well and should be up in the rankings. This is a mixed squad of players from Freeport and New Providence. The six weeks of training will assist tremendously and is an integral part of their training. Training will start next week for all players, that includes the ones from Freeport as well. The players in New Providence will be at either the driving range at the Baillou Hills Sporting Complex or at the Lyford Cay Club."
The selected members are Xavier Robinson, Cameron Riley and Tynesha Tynes in the 11-13 boys and girls divisions, Inecia Rolle, L'Leah Lain, Lucas Echeverri, Asif Robinson and Craig Gomez in the 14-15 boys and girls, and Brian Coakley, Harrison Collins, Asiyah Robinson and Marlique Heild in the 16-17 boys and girls divisions.
The annual trials were held over the weekend. Coakley won the 16-17 boys division with a two-round score of 162 and Collins followed with a 175. Echeverri was the winner in the 14-15 boys division, and Asif Robinson and Craig Gomez followed. The top two in the 11-13 boys were Xavier Robinson and Riley. Asiyah Robinson won the 16-17 girls and Rolle was the winner in the 14-15 division. Tynes closed the day with a 228 and took the 11-13 girls division.
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Obviously the ongoing BAAA executive fight was not a factor at all in Miller's endorsement of the highly significant role Lewis must now play. Lewis, BAAA Secretary General Carl Oliver and parents association president Harrison Petty were recently the targets of a 'no confidence' vote that they deemed to have been processed unconstitutionally. Subsequently, they successfully applied for a Court Order to stay the action.
For the BOC, it's business as usual. Lewis has a mandate that ironically makes him a much bigger power player in sports than the president of the BAAA. It is Lewis who is best positioned and authorized to drive the sports talent search throughout the Family Islands. Based on the stated objective of BOC chief Miller, Lewis is expected to thoroughly examine the Family Islands on a continual basis to ensure that all of the "raw talent" is uncovered.
"We expect the Family Islands portfolio to have the best of results. This is something that I wanted to do from four years ago. Portfolios were assigned but the work wasn't done. This time it is out there for the general public to see what the real intentions of the BOC are when it comes particularly to national sports development.
"We in the BOC recognize that the search for talent is the missing piece of the puzzle in our sports industry. We've given Iram a big job and we have confidence that he can do it. We will provide Iram and all the others with what they need to carry out their responsibilities," Miller informed.
He advocates that initially Lewis should reach out to all of the development programs going on in the Family Islands, especially those with a working template. He feels that once Lewis has made contact with those in the Family Islands who are working with progressive structures or the trainers who are struggling individually to nurture young athletic boys and girls, his job will be easier.
"It's Lewis' job to do, but it makes sense to check out the sports scene in each inhabited family island and then determine the format the overall program. We are sure about what we are doing. Lewis has the background to be successful with his mandate," added Miller.
So, Lewis finds himself under the microscope. He will be challenged to perform efficiently despite the BAAA controversy. His BOC colleagues have placed a lot of faith in him. Hopefully he can justify the decision. On the other hand, although there are those within the BAAA family who want him out of the executive picture, it should be recognized that he is the only one positioned with authority to act on behalf of the track and field community around the BOC table.
It's a situation that's not enviable. BAAA President Sands and his supporters who backed the vote of 'no confidence' in Lewis now find themselves in a position whereby they need him to speak out for the organization. Lewis' portfolio is inclusive of all disciplines but track and field is a core sport and accordingly will get a high level of attention. It is Lewis who has evolved as the key track and field administrator in the nation.
If the agenda at the bottom of the BAAA controversy is not personal and more about the development of track and field athletes across the length and breadth of this country, then despite the big issue, Sands and company should reach across the executive divide within the organization, grasp Lewis' hand and agree to move forward.
Lewis is a fixture as a BOC vice president, at least for the next four years of an electoral period endorsed by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). That should be fully recognized.
(To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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This year was the eighth consecutive time that the Swift Swimming masters attending the U.S. Masters Nationals, and the team of seven swimmers made its presence felt, bringing home 19 medals and scoring 123 points for a 36th place finish overall out of 204 teams.
Swift offers a masters swimming program to encourage and promote improved physical fitness and health in adults, and to enjoy the fellowship and camaraderie among swimmers. The Natatorium, where this year's meet was held, is a great swimming facility that has hosted many of the U.S. Olympic trials and will this summer be hosting the U.S. World Championships trials.
The Swift Masters were represented by Percy Knowles, swimming in the men's 80-84 age group; Andy Knowles, swimming in the men's 55-59 age group; Nancy Knowles, swimming in the women's 55-59 age group; Andrew Higgs, swimming in the men's 45-49 age group; Jeremy Knowles, swimming in the men's 30-34 age group; April Savage, swimming in the women's 25-29 age group, and Elliott Knowles, swimming in the men's 25-29 age group. The national meet gives medals for the top 10 finishes in each age group.
Jeremy Knowles led the way with four gold and two silver. He was first in the 50 fly in 22.65 seconds, 100 fly in 50.21 seconds, 100 individual medley (IM) in 51.58 seconds and 200 IM in 2:54.77. He was also second in the 50 breast in 26.52 seconds and 200 fly in 1:54.05.
Percy Knowles continued his medal haul with five medals. He was second in the 100 IM in 2:20.56, fourth in the 200 breaststroke in 4:25.45, fifth in the 100 breaststroke in 2:00.36, sixth in the 50 breaststroke in 53.92 seconds and eighth in the 50 free in 48.42 seconds.
Andy Knowles won six medals, starting with a silver in the 1,650 free in 19:03.26 and was fifth in the 400 IM in 4:59.56, seventh in the 200 free in 1:58.77, eighth in the 500 free in 5:25.85, ninth in the 200 IM in 2:18.50, and 10th in the 100 free in 54.14 seconds.
Nancy Knowles got a medal with an eighth place finish in the 50 butterfly in 39.52 seconds, and April Savage got a medal with an eighth place finish in the 50 breaststroke in 34.31 seconds. Nancy Knowles also picked up a 13th place finish in the 500 free in 7:51.46 and a 16th place finish in the 200 free in 2:54.59. Savage also had a 13th place finish in the 50 fly in 29.46 seconds, and a 20th place finish in the 100 IM in 1:06.97.
Andrew Higgs improved on his times with a 1:12 in the 100 breast for a 20th place finish and 27.16 seconds in the 50 free for a 41st place finish. Elliott Knowles was the youngster on the team and swam the 50 free in 24.35 seconds for a 24th place finish and the 100 free in 57.93 seconds for a 35th place finish.
Swift Swimming also swam in two relays - the 200 free relay and the 200 medley relay. The 200 free relay finished 18th in 1:37.48 with Jeremy, Elliott and Andy Knowles, and Andrew Higgs in that order, and then the 200 medley relay team finished 12th in 1:51.97 with Andy Knowles, Higgs, and Jeremy and Elliott Knowles swimming in that order.
It was reported to be a great meet for Swift Swimming as the team beat many of the bigger masters programs around the United States. The team has now raised the bar for next year's Masters World Championships.
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"I'm excited to go for two victories in a row next week at the Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic," said Kerr, winner of the 2013 Kingsmill Championship earlier this month, where she defeated Pettersen in a playoff. "I've heard it's a beautiful venue, and it should provide a great backdrop for the inaugural tournament."
"I look forward to a great week of golf in The Bahamas," said Pettersen, winner of the 2013 LOTTE Championship Presented by J Golf. "My game is in good form, and I am excited to get back on the golf course."
The field for the Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic is shaping up as one of the strongest of the year. The top 10 players and 17 of the top 20 in the Rolex Rankings are entered as are nine of the top 10 on the 2013 LPGA money list.
"We couldn't be more excited about our field and how the top ranked players in the world will be joining us here in Nassau," said tournament director Matt Truax of Global Golf Management, which operates the event. "Having 17 of the top 20 competing on a truly breathtaking course is going to make for a dynamic television broadcast. Additionally, we are looking forward to seeing how the Ocean Club holds up against this talented group of women. The Bahamian community is in for a real treat, and we can't wait to tee it up next week."
Golf Channel will provide 10 hours of coverage of the Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic, which is the 11th event on the 2013 LPGA schedule. Here are the confirmed TV times (EDT): Thursday, May 23 - 6:30-8:30 p.m. (taped), Friday, May 24 - 6:30-8:30 p.m. (taped), Saturday, May 25 - 3-6 p.m. (live), and Sunday, May 26 - 3-6 p.m. (live).
Admission and general parking are free for all spectators. For more information, the public is asked to visit www.puresilkbahamas.com.
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The Bahamas Baseball Federation (BBF) and the Bahamas Softball Federation (BSF) have partnered with the ministry to bring the realization of baseball in the schools to fruition. Competition is expected to swing into action this September when the new school year starts. As of now, softball is being played in the school system. According to Evon Wisdom, director of the Sports Unit in the ministry, the sport will be played by male student-athletes. Wisdom was unable to reveal the age group which will compete for the first title, but said the initiative was mandated by Minister of Education, Science and Technology Jerome Fitzgerald.
"This mandate came down from our minister with regard to baseball being played in the schools," said Wisdom. "What we have done is have both associations sit down and coordinate a plan. They are still in the process of coordinating that plan where both sports co-exist with one another. It is not an adversarial arrangement, but one where both sports can experience continued growth. We see an excellent arrangement to come from both parties not just in New Providence but in The Bahamas at large. We now play at the primary school level, and we will continue to develop that because it's very important that the skills develop at the fundamental level and continue to develop straight through to the high school level."
Secretary General in the BBF Teddy Sweeting said a number of scholarships are awarded every year to persons with excellent fundamental skills. He noted that the transition from softball to baseball is fairly easy for young men who have played at the high school level here at home, referring to the number of scholarship recipients already playing in colleges abroad. Sweeting and Senator Greg Burrows both agreed that the program is long overdue and should have been inserted into the curriculum a long time ago. Burrows, the founder of the Freedom Farm Baseball League, said the program will be introduced in stages, confirming that clinics will be held for physical education teachers.
Senator Burrows said: "It has been a long time coming, but I know that we will make this work and we expect great things from this program. The clinics and conclaves have already started. It will be an ongoing process for the certification of the coaches for the new school year, but I do not believe we can wait any longer. We have to start this program and make any adjustments we need to as we move forward.
"We will have more folks coming to this country to look at players, so that opens up another avenue with sports tourism. We must be aware that we have a large number of young men leave this country every year to play baseball in schools abroad. I think the country is poised. I think everyone is ready and it will benefit everyone if we can keep a lot of our athletes here."
The official home for the sport will be the new baseball field which is currently under construction. Until then, the various teams will compete at two fields located in the Baillou Hills Sporting Complex or at the Freedom Farm Baseball League park. The Pinewood Gardens facility is also being looked at by the minister. The sport is already being played in the school system in Freeport, Grand Bahama, and will also be introduced to the schools in the Family Islands.
The BBF is expected to oversee the baseball program while the BSF will keep a close eye on the softball season for young ladies. Both presidents, of the two sporting bodies, Burkette Dorsette and Godfrey Burnside, have put their stamp of approval on the new initiative, pledging to launch their full support behind it.
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The event has the endorsement of Lady Fawkes and the rest of the family and connects with the legendary labor leader at an important point in the country's history. In this 40th year of independence, Labour Day (June 7) will be renamed in honor of Sir Randol. The HOYTES National Program, founded by Coach Gladstone 'Moon' McPhee will now be linked with the freedom fighter, considered far and wide in The Bahamas, to be the 'Father of Labour'.
HOYTES is the acronym for 'Helping Our Youth Through Education and Sports', and the connection to Sir Randol is timely and appropriate. The 40th anniversary national celebration should be as much about an education of the role players along the journey to independence, as compared to fanfare and social gatherings.
Organizers of the HOYTES Sir Randol Tourney will ensure that the players are provided with reading material that captures much of the life and times of the great patriarch. At today's press conference, he will be saluted as Coach McPhee discloses the format for the competition and teams expected to participate.
Sir Randol's place in history is cemented for his contribution to the Labour Movement, but equally as much for the position he took to cast his lot with the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) following the 1967 general election. The incumbent central administration, the United Bahamian Party, and the PLP tied at the completion of the balloting with 18 seats each.
There were also Alvin Braynen, an Independent, and Fawkes who was one of four Labour Party candidates. Just Fawkes succeeded. He joined forces with the PLP, giving that entity a coalition of a one-plus factor and the authority to form the Government of The Bahamas. Braynen accepted the position of Speaker of the House of Assembly. So, there was this same Randol Fawkes, making one of the greatest differences in the nation's history. Understanding the history of the man will certainly serve well for the development process of the boys and girls who will play in the tournament named in his honor.
The tournament will take place at the St. George's High School Gymnasium June 6-8 and teams are expected from throughout the country. Competition will take place in four categories of senior and junior boys' and girls' players.
o To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at email@example.com.
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