Coach Henry Rolle now has a good idea of what the men's 1,600 meters (m) relay squad that he will present to the world during the London 2012 Olympics, can do. The Olympic Games are scheduled for July 27 to August 12 and The Bahamas' best medal opportunity is the men's 1,600m relay team.
For over a decade now, The Bahamas has been considered one of the best countries in the world in the men's 1,600m relay. The view here is that, all things considered, only the United States of America has been better. The record will show that if not for some exchange botches and a couple of ill-timed injuries, The Bahamas' medal count on the world stage for the event would be at least four greater.
Some time ago in this space, I expressed the view that 2012 would be the best chance for this country to unseat the United States at the Olympic Games. It's just a strong feeling I have. Let there be no doubt that, as has almost always been the case, the USA will field the swiftest four men in the field. The race does not always go to the swiftest however.
This past weekend at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, The Bahamas competed at the Penn Relays and finished second to the USA Red team. There was LaShawn Merritt on anchor finishing first for the USA and Chris Brown just behind in second place. Merritt hit the finish line in 3:00:15 and Brown in 3:00.56.
If my expectations follow through, the USA and The Bahamas will be the first two countries finishing the 1,600 meters final in London, England later this year. We are just where coach Rolle needs the team to be. Running along with Brown on Saturday past were Demetrius Pinder, Ramon Miller and Michael Mathieu.
It should be quite clear now that those four and others selected by the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA) need to be put into a camp to work repeatedly on exchanges and knit as a squad. Around the world, other countries have already planned their camps. BAAA President Mike Sands has talked about camps. Somehow the way must be found to put that idea into reality.
If our men's relay team is afforded a camp situation, the sky could be the limit for them and the country when the 1,600-meter relay rounds begin in London. I believe the national record of 2:57.32, set back in August of 2005, could be erased. The record holders include Nathaniel McKinney, Avard Moncur, Andrae Williams and Brown. With Brown running faster than he did in 2005 and Pinder right there with him, the national mark is in jeopardy.
In 2005, Moncur had slipped behind his national record pace of 44.45. Brown set the new mark of 44.40 in 2008. Pinder, I think, is capable of bettering his present personal best of 44.78. This is a good time for The Bahamas. Brown, Pinder and the others are ready!
Best wishes to them.
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