The national Olympic team traveling to London in July will be made up predominantly of representatives from the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA).
This has been the case ever since the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City. It has become fashionable for those in other sporting organizations to note the constant presence of the BAAA in the spotlight with some envy. Admittedly, while all teams (senior and junior) from the BAAA are saluted when they return from successful ventures, those from other disciplines are often not given the same treatment by the nation's sporting authorities. This is unfair and the situation has been justly criticized.
Nevertheless, don't blame the BAAA. It is not the fault of those BAAA administrations through the years that have always been able to develop and drive certain high profile initiatives that have solidly connected with the general public. An effective public relations program has been sustained and accordingly Bahamians are always more knowledgeable about the BAAA than any other sports organization.
A key factor also, is the consistency of BAAA teams in regional and international competitions with both junior and senior teams. As a result, Bahamians have a great dependency on the BAAA to produce performances that they can be proud of. The expectancy is that the athletes from the BAAA will rise to the occasion against the best the world has to offer. This has been the case often enough to place the BAAA in a position of high respect.
No, not in the least, is a BAAA athlete more important that those from other disciplines. However, the organization is the big producer for The Bahamas, without a doubt. Generally, big producers are treated in kind. Perhaps the mindset within the national sporting family should change from envy, at times, to appreciation at all times for the presence of the BAAA and the exploits of its athletes.
For instance, the excitement is building for Team Bahamas that will compete in London, July 26 - August 12, in the Games of the 30th Olympiad. Unless some great luck of the draw enables a swimming relay team to qualify and an amateur boxer to be selected, it is likely that just one athlete other than those from the BAAA will represent this country in London. The exceptional swimmer Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace has qualified.
So here it is once again, that the weight of expectations from Bahamians across the length and breadth of this archipelago, rests on the BAAA. The BAAA will be the bulk of Team Bahamas and is due the heartiest of congratulations. Into its 60th year, the BAAA has indeed clearly cemented its status as the great sporting inspiration in the land.
Minister of National Security Dr. Bernard Nottage, the longest-serving president of the BAAA, spoke at the Sunday, May 27 ceremony that honored founding members and past presidents. He was exuberant. He typified the mood within the BAAA, among its administrators, athletes, coaches and support groups. Corporate Bahamas and independent interested persons are urged to support this organization.
To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at email@example.com.
Click here to read more at The Nassau Guardian