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News Article
Pratt calls for assistance toward 'national coaching' initiative

Sports has long been considered one of the major contributors to social change. National leaders, sports advocates and social reformation initiatives all emphasize the need for the implementation of comprehensive sports programs in our schools, communities and at all levels in the sporting federations.
The Bahamas has earned its place among the best in the world of professional track and field, experiencing unbelievable success, despite having few resources. One has to take a close look at the almost 200 coaches in New Providence and the Family Islands, who for nothing but the love of sports and the nation's youth, dedicate their lives to building a better Bahamas.
The Bahamas' first CARIFTA medalist, whose sports career spans about three decades, believes that, "if you know, teach, and if you don't know, learn".
Peter Pratt has single-handedly taken on the task of fulfilling a life-long dream of 'Inter-Island Talent Search and Development of Coaches' throughout the islands of The Bahamas.
This initiative ensures that Family Island athletes and coaches need not travel to New Providence, thus depleting the islands of its most precious resources - its people; but they can be taught by persons like Pratt and remain at home to develop future generations of athletes and coaches.
Pratt has developed both regional and international champions such as Olympian Leevan Sands, Bianca Stuart, collegiate rising stars Latario and Lathone Collie-Minns, Tamara Myers, Trae Carey and Raymond Higgs just to name a few. His insatiable desire as a pioneer in the national development of horizontal jumps programs, directs his belief that the investment in social intervention programs in our schools and club systems could curtail many of the socially misguided youth who need positive reinforcements during the impressionable years.
The much respected administrator at Government High School (GHS) in New Providence currently coaches the club Jumpers Inc., which consists of about 16 dedicated horizontal jumpers whose goal of student-athleticism guides their activities in the classroom and on the field.
As an International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) level five track and field coach, Pratt believes in the education of his athletes beyond high school, thereby assisting qualified athletes with the opportunity for tertiary education. He has built a network with coaches in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean.
So what would this national leader in sports development for social change like to see occur to achieve the goals of the Bahamas Association of Athletic Coaches? The answer is simply: any assistance toward its 'Inter-Island Talent Search and Development of Coaches' Initiative.

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News Article
Knowles elected president of ESA vows to bring softball back

The Eleuthera Softball Association (ESA) held a general meeting this past Thursday at Andy Deal's Pavilion in Palmetto Point, Eleuthera, and it appears that the popular sport is finally making a return to what is regarded as 'The Softball Capital of The Bahamas'.
The primary purpose of the meeting was to elect an executive team to run the association for 2014 and 2015. Former softball player and current Bahamas Olympic Committee (BOC) executive member Romell 'Fish' Knowles was elected for a third non-consecutive term to lead the once prestigious softball association.
Other executives elected are vice presidents Joe Sands, Sammy Sands and Tony Crean, who is responsible for primary, middle and senior school play, secretary general and veteran administrator Paula Johnson, assistant secretary general Noel Small, treasurer Andre Gardiner, and assistant treasurer Andre Butler. The technical officials are commissioner Johnny 'Versatile' Butler and umpire-in-chief Gerard Coakley.
The directors for the league are Andy Deal, Clifford Sands, Angelo Bethel, Ken Mackey, Addison Cooper, Sherwin Major and Steve Maynard. The honorary members are International Softball Federation (ISF) Hall of Famers Austin 'King Snake' Knowles Sr., Richard 'The Lion Heart' Johnson and Douglas 'Dougie' Smith.
New president Knowles said he expects the league to start with about six men teams, and a strong possibility of adding four ladies teams. He stated that a lot of the younger softball players who now play slow pitch softball are enthusiastic about competing in the fast pitch league.
"Unlike past years, the hallmark of our association will be the introduction of a primary school division that will compliment the middle school and high school divisions," said Knowles. "I'm grateful already to Senator Greg Burrows who traveled to Eleuthera to inspect the playing facilities with a view of enhancing and improving the facilities to world-class certified levels."
Knowles indicated that the area member of parliament (MP), Minister of State in the Ministry of Legal Affairs Damien Gomez, donated funds to the Eleuthera Softball Association and promised a second set of funding to ensure the league is sustained financially. President Knowles said that he is grateful for the support and enthusiasm expressed by the government through Senator Burrows and Minister Gomez.
Also, to be fair, Knowles said that he has not asked the other member of parliament for Eleuthera to assist with funding, but feels fairly comfortable that MP Theo Neilly will step up to the plate, as he too is anxious to see the return of softball on the island of Eleuthera. Additionally, Knowles said that he's sure that there are a good number of Eleutherans who will give gladly to assist with sustaining the league financially.
Knowles is already at work with plans to hold coaches, umpires and administrative development courses within the next few weeks.
In addition, league play will be scored electronically, and recruitment and training exercises will be done by Stephen 'Bishop' Beneby and Sherry Beneby.
The league will open with a jamboree with teams being invited from around the country. "We will showcase our school division along with senior play," said Knowles.
Knowles said he was reliably informed that the Bahamas Softball Federation (BSF) intends to honor Billy Micklewhyte at its round-robin tournament that has been promised to the island of Eleuthera. He said that he looks forward to a very busy, but productive, year for the sport of softball, especially on Eleuthera.

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News Article
A review of The Bahamas' participation in the IAAF World Indoor Championships

Just as German athletics historian Michael Preisinger said in 1993, for the World Indoor Championships we can say: 'The Bahamas - Small Country, Great Athletes'.
Since we first captured the bronze medal in the inaugural International Association of Athletic Federations' (IAAF) World Indoor Championships in Indianapolis in 1987, having won three gold medals, four silver and eight bronze for a total of 15 medals, we can also declare, 'The Bahamas - Small Country, Great Athletes'!
At the top of the list are gold medalists Chandra Sturrup, Dominic Demeritte and Chris Brown.
Sturrup captured the gold in the 60 meters (m) in Lisbon, Portugal in 2001 when she clocked 7.05 seconds for the win. In 2004 in Budapest, Dominic Demeritte won the 200m in 20.66 seconds to win the last 200m to be held at the championships. Six years later in Doha, Chris Brown captured the 400m in 45.96 seconds for the win. Brown has won more medals in the indoor 400m than any other athlete in history.
Winning silver medals were Pauline Davis-Thompson, Chandra Sturrup, Christine Amertil and Demetrius Pinder. Davis-Thompson captured the silver in the 200m in Barcelona in 1995 with a clocking of 22.68 seconds. Sturrup finished behind Gail Devers in Paris in 1997 in the 60m, in a clocking of 7.15 seconds. Pinder won his silver medal in the 400m in Istanbul, Turkey in 2012, clocking 45.34 seconds.
As we indicated previously, Frank Rutherford won his bronze medal in Indianapolis at the inaugural championships in 1987. He jumped 17.02m (55' 10-1/4").
The other bronze medalists were:
Pauline Davis-Thompson, 1999 - Maebashi, Japan (200m, 22.70 seconds)

Demeritte, 2003 - Birmingham, Great Britain (200m, 20.92 seconds)

Tonique Williams, 2004 - Budapest, Hungary (400m, 50.87 seconds - national record)
Christine Amertil, 2006 - Moscow, Russia (400m, 50.34 seconds - area record and national record)
Chris Brown, 2006 - Moscow, Russia (400m, 45.78 seconds - national record)
Chris Brown, 2008 - Valencia, Spain (400m, 46.26 seconds)
Chris Brown, 2012 - Istanbul, Turkey (400m, 45.90 seconds)
There were 28 finalists.
The Bahamas has had 28 finalists in these championships. In additional to the medalists they are:
Troy Kemp, 1989 - Budapest, Hungary - high jump, 13th, 2.25m (7' 4-1/2").
Troy Kemp, 1993 - Toronto, Canada - high jump, 4th, 2.34m (7' 8-1/4").
Pauline Davis-Thompson, 1991 - Seville, Spain - 60m, 5th, 7.16 seconds.
Daphne Saunders, 1995 - Barcelona, Spain - long jump, 13th, 5.65m (18' 6-1/2").
Troy McIntosh, 1999 - Maebashi, Japan - 400m, 4th, 46.05 seconds.
Savetheda Fynes, 1999 - Maebashi, Japan - 60m, 4th 7.09 seconds.
Savetheda Fynes, 2001 - Lisbon, Portugal - 60m, 4th, 7.16 seconds.
Savetheda Fynes, 2003 - Birmingham, Great Britain - 60m, did not compete.
Men's 4x400m relay, 2004 - Budapest, Hungary - (Chris Brown, Dennis Darling, Andretti Bain and Tim Munnings; Troy McIntosh - first round), 5th, 3:17.57. Note: Munnings was knocked down and got back up on final leg.
Jackie Edwards, 2006 - Moscow, Russia - long jump, 6th, 6.46m (21' 2-1/4").
Chandra Sturrup, 2010 - Doha, Qatar - 60m, 5th, 7.16 seconds.
Trevor Barry, 2012 - Istanbul, Turkey - high jump, 8th, 2.31m (7' 7").
Bianca Stuart, 2012 - Istanbul, Turkey - long jump, 8th, 4.71m (15' 5-3/4").
There was also a national record without attaining a final spot - Rodney Greene, 2010 - Doha, Qatar - 60m, 6.65 seconds.

Sopot, Poland 2014
The top performance done by a Bahamian this indoor season is arguably the 2.33m (7' 7-3/4") by Donald Thomas several weeks ago. Thomas finished sixth in the Moscow World Championships last August.
Shaunae Miller has run real well this indoor season in the 300m, an event not contested in the World Indoor Championships. The 200m, in which Miller finished fourth in Moscow last summer, isn't contested either. To our knowledge, she might decide to participate in the 400m this time around.
The men's 4x400m relay had a good run in Birmingham, setting a new Bahamian national indoor record, but we have not heard anything from Michael Mathieu or Demetrius Pinder since. Over the years, we have been jinxed in this event.
In 2003, the team was disqualified when Avard Moncur started prior to the exchange zone. The next year in Budapest there was the collision with Tim Munnings and a Russian athlete. In their last outing in Istanbul, the team did not suit up because both Demetrius Pinder and Chris Brown had advanced to the final and decided not to run in the preliminary round that morning. The Bahamas did not have sufficient additional athletes to run.
In the best of times, indoor running around curves is not easy. We hope this is the year that we finally win a medal in this event.

Amertil's area record
The area record of Christine Amertil in the 400m in Moscow in 2006 is a performance that many Bahamians take for granted. After all, she only won the bronze medal. She is, however, the only Bahamian athlete who holds an area record, out-shining the best of the speedsters from Trinidad & Tobago to Canada, with Jamaica, Cuba and the United States of America (USA) in between. She should be celebrated!
The deadline for submitting entries was 6 p.m. on Monday, so we await the decision of the federation as to which athletes are selected to the team, and who will be selected as coach of the team. Next week we will talk about our team to Poland, and those athletes around the world who we should look forward to doing well in Sopot.

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News Article
Looking back on Mychal Thompson as a collegiate athlete

The Bahamas Basketball Federation (BBF) has started the run to its historic '40 Greatest' week of celebration. The annual high school basketball classic, the Hugh Campbell Tournament, is winding down.
Basketball is in the air. To make the connection for readers during the countdown to the August 4-9 event, which will honor the greatest in the game from the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, in this space many of the stars and franchises of the past will be featured. Today, in the spotlight is Mychal (formerly simply Michael) 'Sweet Bells' Thompson.
Most remembered by those close to the game of basketball, is the fact that Thompson was drafted No. 1 in the National Basketball Association (NBA) in 1978. He signed with the Portland Trail Blazers and also achieved First Team All-Rookie status, and later won two championships with the mighty Los Angeles Lakers.
When all was said and done however, it was his collegiate career that enabled him to be more comparable with the greatest who ever played the game, in the United States or anywhere else.
Kevin McHale, who played with Thompson at the University of Minnesota, once commented, in essence, that the player he observed in college, he felt was capable of moving to the top level as an individual competitor in the NBA. Well, while Thompson was indeed a rock-solid player, if there is a disappointment, his inability to achieve NBA superstar status would be that.
As a collegiate athlete it was a far different story. He was one of the best ever. You can go down the list, including Bill Russell, Oscar Robertson, Lew Alcindor (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar), Elvin Hayes, Bill Walton, David Thompson, Earvin 'Magic' Johnson, Larry Bird, Larry Johnson, and come to that same conclusion.
Following the 1977-78 season, when the city of Minneapolis celebrated Mychal Thompson Day, he was able to look back on iconic accomplishments. To begin with, he was the Minnesota Gophers' Most Valuable Player (MVP) for the third time. He was a First Team selection by United Press International, signifying one of the five best in the nation. He was the Big Ten Conference First Team member for the third time.
Thompson owned an array of Minnesota and Big Ten records. Among them were: Most points - 1,992; best per game average - 20.8; most field goals - 823; best field goal percentage - .568; most free throws attempted - 500; and most rebounds - 956.
His Big Ten records for a Minnesota player were: most points - 1,477; best scoring average - 21.7; most field goals - 616; most field goal attempts - 1,072; best field goal percentage - .575; most free throws attempted - 364; and most rebounds - 697.
Thompson is right up there with Lou Hudson and Jim Brewer as the best Gophers in history. For The Bahamas and the Bahamas Basketball Federation, the names of nominees for the '40 Greatest' during the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, keep coming in.
It is a safe bet that Thompson will be among the 40 who will be saluted in grand fashion on banquet night, August 9.
Will he also end up among the top five? The future holds that answer.

(To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at sturrup1504@gmail.com)

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News Article
Grand Bahama's own '40 Greatest' submitted

The debate is raging. Since the announcement by Bahamas Basketball Federation (BBF) President Charlie 'Softly' Robins, in January, that the process had been started to select the '40 Greatest' players from the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, the topic has gotten hot.
In New Providence, the major plank for Bahamian basketball since its inception, many discussions are taking place. The '40 Greatest' idea has given much more significance to the federation which has been upstaged heavily in recent years by high school and independent tournaments.
Grand Bahama did not become a noted basketball island until during the 1970s. The interest there, nevertheless, is just as heavy as it is in the capital island. I was in West End recently, and saw James 'Goon' Culmer, one of the great Grand Bahamian players. He is excited.
Earlier, when the news of the '40 Greatest' project began to spread, Denzal 'Inch McGuire' Swain contacted me and emphasized the intent of Grand Bahama to not be left out" of the mix. Swain took the time to network with others from the Grand Bahamian basketball fraternity, and submitted a large list to the BBF for consideration.
His list included several players from Abaco. The resurfacing of the BBF because of the '40 Greatest' project has led to Swain expanding his effort. A former top basketball statistician, Swain, in conjunction with several of his fraternity colleagues who are feeling the spirit, has put together the '40 Greatest' of Grand Bahama.
Here's the list: 1. Dereck 'Bookie' Nesbitt, 2. Basil 'The Kid' Sands, 3. Charles 'Softly' Robins, 4. Stanley 'Wizard' Williams, 5. James 'Goon' Culmer, 6. David 'Stretch' Morley, 7. Bradley 'Shy' Evans, 8. Humphrey 'Cripples' Smith, 9. Philip Jones, 10. Mario 'Ice' Green, 11. Anthony 'Dunkin' Hines, 12. Ritchie 'Coupier' Adderley, 13. Kenneth 'Sir K' Smith, 14. Dereck 'Fire' Cummings, 15. Carter 'Sky Scraper' Lightbourne, 16. Ben 'Smooth' Russell, 17. Gary 'Ragon' McIntosh, 18. Keith '7 Footer' Mullings, 19. Jerry 'Super J' Johnson, 20. Julius 'Doc' Lewis, 21. Scott 'Scottie' Forbes, 22. Leon 'Lukie' Stuart, 23. Oral 'Big O' Jones, 24. Dirk 'DT' Tynes, 25. Steven 'Visine' Rolle, 26. Milton Russell, 27. Jeff 'Cheese' Pinder, 28. Hilton 'B-Bay' Davis, 29. Paul 'Pablo' Rose, 30. Simon 'Hondo' Lewis, 31. Austin 'AG' Grant, 32. Drexel 'Sexy' Porter, 33. Clifton
Martin, 34. Keithlyn 'Smooth' Russell, 35. Dion 'Redman' Pinder, 36. Gilbert 'Showboat' Rolle, 37. George Saunders, 38. Philip Williams, 39. Anton 'Backboard' McKenzie 40. Fletcher Lewis.
Those are the greats from Grand Bahama, according to Swain and company. Now, we await the BBF's process, the countdown to the '40 Greatest' in history.
The excitement grows!
(To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at sturrup1504@gmail.com)

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News Article
Street Legends plans Caribbean high school basketball tourney

Wilton Russell is one of the leading sports entrepreneurs in the country. The founder of Street Legends has made, in recent years, a significant contribution to the growth of community basketball. The founder of Street Legends, Russell, is driven to combat the social ills in the country, particularly New Providence. His Street Legends program engages young Bahamians and gives them good lifestyle alternatives. Now, the community basketball maestro is reaching out into the wider region. He has applied for and was successful in getting the Bahamas Basketball Federation (BBF) to endorse the first Caribbean High School Championship Tournament, which is slated for April 18-20. BBF Secretary General Clifford Rahming sees the event as an entity that will enhance basketball in general in the nation."The federation is proud to share with the illustrious organization (Street Legends) the opportunity to escalate the game of basketball at the high school level," said Rahming. Further, he informed that BBF President Charlie 'Softly' Robins and colleagues are "waiting with great anticipation the realization" of the event. About 30 countries are expected to participate and it is understood that Street Legends has already received confirmation for 10. The innovative effort by Russell comes at an interesting period. Presently, the BBF is rebranding and lifting its profile by crafting programs to boost the sport's image in the country and the region. The Street Legends has become an important aspect of Bahamian basketball. It adds tremendously to the competitive side of basketball. There are similar social situations in other nations of the Caribbean, whereby the youthful element is under siege. Criminality has a big presence in The Bahamas and its sister nations of the Caribbean. The tournament will be that major forum which will take the message across the Caribbean and better equip young citizens to cope with the huge social challenges faced. Russell has a prime sports-tourism product and being able to ensure a partnership of sorts with the BBF bodes well for Street Legends. In essence, although not initially planned, the Caribbean High School Championship will be a rather nice prelude to the major celebrations planned, for later in the year, by the BBF to project the sport. The tournament will also cause countries of the Caribbean to raise the level of high school basketball play. The Caribbean High School Basketball Tournament has potential. It could evolve to an event similar to the CARIFTA Games of track and field. Austin Sealy of Barbados got that one started and today the CARIFTA Games competition stands as the strongest pillar of junior development for track and field in the Caribbean. The Caribbean High School Basketball Tournament has that kind of probability. Russell could duplicate in basketball what Sealy did for track and field. There surely is a very good chance that the event could become one of the signature sporting affairs that is looked forward to on an annual basis by the entire Caribbean basketball fraternity. Without a doubt, the relationship forged with the BBF will enable Street Legends to be accepted seriously by parent basketball organizations throughout the Caribbean.

(To respond to this sports feature, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at sturrup1504@gmail.com)

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News Article
Chamber: Study shows 'ease of doing business' initiative much needed

The announcement of steps being taken to guarantee the process of starting a business in The Bahamas is as straightforward as possible were yesterday applauded by the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation (BCCEC), which revealed it has found in its own recent study that the national business environment "leaves much to be desired".While presenting the mid-year budget statement in the House of Assembly yesterday, Prime Minister Perry Christie recognized that the country is "too far behind" other countries when it comes to the "ease of doing business", a measure of the efficiency of the government in getting businesses up and running and actively contributing to the local economy. Despite The Bahamas being one of three countries in the region that was recognized by the World Bank back in October for taking "definitive" steps to improve "our" business environment, the prime minister said emphasis must be placed on removing common roadblocks that often hold people back from conducting business easily in The Bahamas."[We need] to ensure that we are able to adequately compete in getting businesses up and running in an effective manner," he told parliamentarians."We were recognized for making transferring property easier by reducing the stamp duty. The Bahamas was also recognized for enhancing its insolvency process by implementing rules for the remuneration of liquidators, allowing voluntary liquidations and outlining clawback provisions for suspect transactions."Christie, who is also the minister of finance, pointed out how his administration is focused on all major areas of the country's change and growth agenda."We will persist in planning and further developing initiatives that assuredly will get our economy growing more strongly in the years ahead," he added. The Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation (BCCEC) welcomed the government's efforts as there continues to be too much "red tape" and "bureaucracies" that investors, both domestic and foreign have to fight through, according to its CEO Edison Sumner. In fact, he said the timing couldn't be more perfect as the BCCEC plans to unveil the results of a survey conducted by them last year on the ease of doing business in The Bahamas next month during a conclave. Based on a review of results to date, Sumner said it leaves "much to be desired" when it comes to the environment for conducting business in this country. He suggested this could be solved if the government agencies/departments were able to consolidate its efforts in some way, along with better communication between them."That would not only bode well for the business community but for foreign and domestic investors as well. Once we are able to take away the red tape and bureaucracy of getting certain things done. Once those things are completed, it will certainly be an impetus to hopefully cause more people to want to do business in The Bahamas and those who are currently doing business here will find it easier to get business done in the future," he told Guardian Business yesterday."The process on the whole seems to be onerous at time. So we're hoping that once we produce these results to the government, it will hopefully assist them with their planning as well."Currently, The Bahamas is ranked 84 out of 189 countries in the World Bank's 2014 Ease of Doing Business Report. That was an eight-point drop from 2013.

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News Article
Names pouring in for BBF's '40 Greatest' list

A basketball celebration like never before is being planned by the Bahamas Basketball Federation (BBF).
Secretary General Clifford Rahming has announced a week of activities, August 4-9, that will culminate with a banquet at which the '40 Greatest' players in the country's history will be saluted.
"It's going to be a big extravaganza. We are going all out. This is an event to deal with the greatest of them all and we have to make it fitting. We want all within the fraternity and public supporters to get on board (on court) with us for a week of basketball fanfare as we pay tribute to the '40 Greatest' players from the 1960s, 70s and 80s," said Rahming.
The celebrations will be in memory of the recently deceased basketball great Cecil Rose. Also, the BBF is working at getting one of the National Basketball Association (NBA) Hall of Fame inductees to be in attendance as a special guest. On board is the country's pioneer NBA player Mychal 'Sweet Bells' Thompson.
"We are going to have a fun time. We in the BBF want go through this process of honoring those who made valuable contributions to the sport, by working hard to achieve our objectives, but having fun at the same time. This is a joyful time as we prepare to do something that is bigger than anything ever done in basketball in this country," added Rahming.
The '40 Greatest' will be selected from the names submitted to the BBF. The names have indeed been flowing in and Rahming informed that in May, "we'll start the ball rolling by announcing 80 names from the lot".
About two weeks before the banquet, the '40 Greatest' will be announced and on the night of the banquet, the last item on the official agenda will be a salute to the top five players.
A car raffle is planned as well as a trivia contest that will begin in April and be conducted in conjunction with Floyd's Lounge on East Street South, just south of the East Street South Police Station and across from the C.V. Bethel High School.
Sponsors will be invited to partner with the federation through gold, silver and bronze packages and with smaller donations.
The names put forth thus far for consideration are: Sharon 'The General' Storr, Fred Smith, Peter Brown, Freddie Mckay, Al Russell, Basil 'The Kid' Sands, Osborne 'Goose' Lockhart, Tyrone 'Acre' Strachan, Craig 'Magic' Walkine, Jacob 'Shake-N-Bake' Rose, Reuben 'Cheetah' Knowles, Dewitt Hanna, Everette Pratt, Patrick Russell, Cecil Rose, Eddie Ford, Kermit 'Par' Rolle, Keith Smith, Noel 'Yea' Taylor, Arnold Gooding, Sterling Symonette, Tom 'The Bird' Grant, Kenneth Smith, Gary Symonette, Ellis Bodie, Richie Ferguson, Lionel 'Snake' Evans, Dereck 'Bookie' Nesbitt, Pat McKenzie, Samuel 'Bookie' Johnson, Deckery Johnson, Elisha McSweeney, Charlie 'Softly' Robins, Ethan Stubbs, Jimmy Culmer, Rudy Levarity, Ed White, Carl Minns, Rick Fox, Sterling Quant, Peter Gilcud, Carter Lightbourne, Charles Thompson, Jerome Barney, Mychal 'Sweet Bells' Thompson, Bradley 'Shy' Evans, Humphrey Smith, Leon Stuart, George Saunders, Charlie Moss, Eddie Lightbourne, Drexel Martin, Anthony Reckley, Jeff Pinder, Dereck Cummings, Phillip Williams, John Barr, Austin Grant, Simeon Lewis, James 'Goon' Culmer, Paul Rose, Jerry Johnson, Julies Lewis, Milton Russell, Richard Brown, Anton McKenzie, Allison Pinder, Fletcher Lewis, Gary McIntosh, Keith Mullings, David 'Stretch' Morley, Jarrold Russell, Bennett Davis, Ronnie McKenzie and Jock Hall.
The BBF Executive Committee, that will drive the organization of the '40 Greatest' week of celebration, is headed by BBF President Charles 'Softly' Robins. Also on board is vice president Mario Bowleg, vice president Anastacia Sands-Moultrie, vice president Brian Clare, secretary general Clifford 'Spike' Rahming, assistant secretary Sharon 'The General' Storr, treasurer Simone Beneby, general officers Stephen Brown, Freddie Brown and Daryl Sears, and public relations officer Eugene Horton.

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News Article
Memorial service for Audrey Martin set for tonight

A memorial service will be held tonight at the D.W. Davis Gymnasium for former national basketball team player Audrey Martin.
Martin died on Saturday, January 18, at the Princess Margaret Hospital. She was 30 years old. Shooting guard Martin played a pivotal role in the sport of basketball, winning titles at the regional level, in the New Providence Women's Basketball Association (NPWBA) with the Career Builders Cheetahs, and while at C.C. Sweeting Senior High School, playing for the Cobras.
She went on to further her studies at St. Augustine's College, now university, in Raleigh, North Carolina, graduating with honors.
Martin was described by many as a quiet person off the court, but very aggressive on it. President of the NPWBA Simone Beneby said Martin usually spoke her mind and allowed her skills to back it up.
Beneby said: "The league is in shock.
"I am still in shock and trying to deal with the passing of a kind, loving person like Audrey. Her passing was not something we expected. Audrey was an excellent basketball player, one who spoke her mind in a positive light and carried no hard feelings.
"She was always cheerful, laughing and full of energy. She was a tenacious player, who didn't hesitate to take the ball to the rim, and when she dipped her shoulder, you know she was headed to the basket. On behalf of the executives and all of the teams in the league, I would like to extend heartfelt condolences to the family of Audrey. She will be missed."
The memorial service for Martin will start at 7 p.m.
According to Mario Bowleg, vice president in the Bahamas Basketball Federation (BBF) and coach of the Cheetahs, the memorial service will be a time of reflection for all who shared special and memorable moments with Martin.
"Without a doubt Audrey will be missed," said Bowleg.
"She was an awesome player and person. This is a difficult time for players, the entire basketball community and myself. Audrey has touched all of us in a special way.
"She was a true friend, and a loyal player who always displayed sisterly love to all.
"The memorial is being organized by the club along with the local women's association. A number of persons are lined up to give tributes. Among them are her former players and coaches, as well as executive members of the federation and women's league. Audrey will definitely be missed."
Martin's funeral service is scheduled for this Saturday at 11 a.m. at Pilgrim Baptist Church.

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News Article
Basketball poised to reclaim popular status with the public

Under the guidance of president Charlie "Softly" Robins, the Bahamas Basketball Federation (BBF) is charting a proactive, innovative program that could very well enable the sport to reclaim the once great popularity it had with the Bahamian public.
There was a time during the late 1960s and 1970s when "BABA" as the then Bahamas Amateur Basketball Association was known, topped the popularity sports ladder in this country. The noted disciplinarian, Vince Ferguson, was the long-standing president and he drove the organization to great heights.
Ferguson and his executive colleagues were forward thinkers and they hit a milestone with an office base at the entrance to the Queen Elizabeth Sports Centre. Exciting competition was synonymous with BABA. The glorious era was sparked by the marquee match-ups between the fabled teams, Kentucky Colonels that evolved out of the St. Bernard's Club and the ultimate mentor Father Marcian Peters; and the Cougars, started by a group of young Priory Grounds residents, Fred "Papa" Smith and company.
It was a special period in the sports history of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas. The man of the time who steered the national basketball program was Ferguson, despite his controversial side. It was a feel good time in Bahamian sports.
In recent decades, the luster faded from the national basketball program and league play slipped from its high popularity pedestal. Now, with Robins and Secretary Clifford Rahming leading the way, the basketball program is being rebranded. An event to honor the "40 greatest" basketball icons could very well launch a new era of basketball in the country.
When Robins first put his name forward for consideration as president of basketball several years ago, it was an encouraging sign for the sport. Quite frankly however, Robins was never able to catapult the program. The blast-off that was expected during his first term never came.
Now though, President Robins is being innovative. The idea, an event of substance, will push his organization into the spotlight. Robins, Rahming and the rest of the executives appear to be making a strong effort to devise a thorough marketing plan for the federation. The proposed event will no doubt spark new interest among those presently involved in basketball. It will succeed also in reconnecting fraternity members of the past, their family and supporters to basketball in the present era.
Robins was arguably the most exciting basketball player in Bahamian history. He rocked gyms over and over and bonded with all spectators, (whether they favored his team or not), like few others. Hopefully, he is now minded to bring that same on-court pizzazz to his administrative responsibilities. If he does, Robins will certainly emulate the job done by Ferguson and perhaps go beyond.
Best wishes and congratulations Softly! Congratulations to the BBF!
o To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at sturrup1504@gmail.com.

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News Article
Carey, Pratt fall in second round of play in Ecuador

Junior tennis players Rasheed Carey and Simone Pratt were both eliminated from play at the International Tennis Federation's (ITF) grade one junior tournament, in Ecuador.
The Bahamian duo received first-round byes in their respective divisions, but were unsuccessful in their bids to advance to the third round in both genders. Pratt was eliminated in the second round by Olga Fridman of Ukraine, the tournament's number four seed. She lost, 6-4 and 6-2. Carey opened up the tournament against Eduardo Lacalle of China, and he lost that match, 6-1 and 6-1.
Pratt and Constanza Gorches was the seventh seed in girls' doubles. The pair was eliminated by Nicole Frenkel and Ellyse Hamlin, 6-0 and 6-4. Carey and Laurens Verbovenmet went up against Pedro Iamachkine and Ayed Zatar in the second round of boys' doubles. The match was won by Iamachkine and Zatar, 6-2 and 6-3.
Phillip Major's bid to play in the main draw for boys' singles was stopped by Keshav Vellodi who captured one of the fourth spots with a 6-3, 3-6 and 6-3 win.
The Ecuador ITF tournament, still going on at the Ecuador Guayaquil Club, was the fourth stop on the ITF Grand Slam COSAT U18 Circuit for Pratt and Carey. So far, players on the tour have competed in the Copa Gatorade held in Caracas, Venezuela, the Copa Barranquilla, held in Barranquilla, Colombia and the 50th Coffee Bowl held in San Jose, Costa Rica.
Pratt and Carey were selected to represent The Bahamas and the Central American and Caribbean Tennis Federation (COTECC) region on the tour.
Carey has moved up five spots in the ranking for junior girls, since playing on the tour. He is slotted at number 164 in the world, having earned 186.2 points so far on the year. Pratt is up one spot, sitting in at 149 with 233.75 points. Carey and Pratt are the top junior male and female players in the country and have played on numerous national teams.

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Top world track and field performances of 2013 - Part II

Men
The past year saw some brilliant performances by athletes all over the world and at the Moscow World Championships.
Jamaica's Usain Bolt was designated by the International Association of Athletic Federations (IAAF), the Athlete of the Year, but France's Teddy Tamgho, who came back from injury, had Track & Field News' Performance of the Year, 18.04 meters (m), the third best performance in triple jump history.
In the finals of this event, the Frenchman had the best initial jump, of 17.65m, against last year's World Junior Champion Pedro Pablo Pichardo at 17.38m, and Will Claye, the silver medalist in Daegu and London, at 17.19m. Tamgho had several scratches that went long. One was his fifth jump. You just knew a great jump was on the way. On his final jump, in the lead with nobody jumping after him, he got it all together with an 18.04m performance.
The 100m and 200m went true to form as Usain Bolt dominated both easily. In the 200m, Bolt ran the world's leading time of 19.66 seconds.
400m
This was supposed to be the showdown of the meet. London and Daegu Champion Kirani James from Grenada had traded firsts with Beijing and Berlin Champion LaShawn Merritt. When the gun fired in the final, Merritt was in lane six, just ahead of James. He decided to go out at a very fast pace and forced his competitors to catch him. Merritt finished in a personal best of 43.74 seconds, the fifth best performance of all-time. James tried to catch Merritt and blew a fuse, finishing in seventh in 44.99 seconds.
800m
The United States of America (USA) looked great this year with Duane Solomon going into the world championships with a world leading 1:43.27 and Nick Symmonds with a world fourth place of 1:43.67. Solomon decided to take the pace out in the semi-final, running 1:43.87. He tried the same thing in the final but ran out of steam with Mohammed Aman winning in 1:43.31, and Symmonds finishing in second place, in 1:43.55. Aman turned 20 on January 10, 2014.
1,500m
Kenya's Asbel Kiprop had the best performance of the year in this event at 3:27.72. Kiprop's performance was the fourth of all-time in this event. The next two were Britain's Mohamed Farah, who finished second in 3:28.81, and Kenya's Caleb Mwangangi Ndiku who clocked 3:29.50. Farah's performance surpassed Britain's Steve Cram's 3:29.67 record done in 1985. In Moscow, Kiprop won in a pedestrian 3:36.28. The USA's Matthew Centrowitz, son of former middle distance star Matthew Centrowitz, won the silver medal in 3:36.78.
110m hurdles
This was another exciting competition as most of the top competitors of the 2013 season made it to Moscow. The USA's Ryan Wilson made his first national team. When the dust settled in the final, David Oliver was the victor with a world leading performance of 13 seconds flat. Wilson won the silver medal in 13.13 seconds. Russia's Sergey Shubenkov made history by finishing third with a 13.24 seconds clocking. This was the first time a Russian won a medal in this event at the world championships.
400m hurdles
As it was in London, the long hurdles event was one of the most interesting in Moscow. London silver medalist Michael Tinsley ran 47.96 seconds to win the USA Championships in June. Trinidad and Tobago's Jehu Gordon ran 48 seconds flat three weeks later in Monaco for the second best performance of 2013. They both were on a roll. In the semi-final, Cuba's Omar Cisneros ran a world leading 47.93 seconds. Daegu Champion David Greene of Great Britain failed to make the final and when the dust settled, Gordon ran a brilliant race defeating the London silver medalist by one, one hundredth of a second, 47.69 seconds to 47.70 seconds. This was the closest victory in this event in championships history! This was a personal best for both Gordon and Tinsley.
Bahamian Jeffrey Gibson had broken Greg Rolle's 30-year-old national record of 49.46 seconds at the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Championships in Eugene in June. That qualified him for the 'A' standard for Moscow, the first Bahamian to qualify in this event since the inaugural world championships in Helsinki in 1983. Gibson advanced to the semi-final where he finished eighth in his heat and 21st overall in a time of 50.51 seconds.
High jump
This was one of the most popular events of 2013. The Ukraine's Bohdan Bondarenko had the best performance of the season at 2.41m, the fourth best performance of all-time. Bondarenko cleared that height in Lausanne in July and repeated the accomplishment to capture the Moscow World Championships gold medal in a championships record. There, he had two attempts at the championships record and made an attempt at Javier Sotomayor's world record of 2.45m done 20 years prior in Salamanca. Qatari Mutaz Essa Barshim, 22, the 2010 World Junior Champion had the season's second best performance at 2.40m, done at the Steve Prefontaine Classic in June. He jumped 2.38m for the silver medal in Moscow. Canadian Derek Drouin jumped a national record of 2.38m for third in the Moscow final. Drouin had one miss at 2.38m and Barshim had no misses at this height.
Bahamian Donald Thomas, the 2007 world champion who has a personal best of 2.35m, had his best performance of several years by jumping 2.32m for sixth place. This was the eighth best performance worldwide in 2013. Thomas had a challenging season, making the qualifying mark of 2.31m on July 1 in Tallahassee. Bahamian World Junior bronze medalist from 2012, Ryan Ingraham, cleared 2.25m to finish in a three-way tie for 10th in Moscow. In Edmonton in June, Ingraham cleared a personal best of 2.30m.
Pole vault
It was a great season for the pole vault. Frenchman Renaud Lavillenie had the seven best performances of the season. His best of 6.02m, done in London on July 27, was the seventh best performance of all-time. German Raphael Holzdeppe was the second best jumper of the season at 5.91m, and his teammate Bjorn Otto was the third best performer of the year, at 5.90m. In Moscow, this event had the eyes of the fans, with Lavillenie having a miss at 5.65m, one at 5.82m and two at 5.89m. German Holzdeppe cleared his three attempts, passing 5.75m, without a miss, thereby defeating the Frenchman. Both Holzdeppe and Lavillenie cleared 5.89m. This was the very first time that an athlete of color won this event at the world level.
Long jump
Prior to Moscow, no athlete had surpassed 8.50m. Mexico's Luis Rivera had won the University Games in Kazan, Russia in July with a national record of 8.46m. This was the world leading performance at the time. In doing this, Rivera defeated Russian Aleksandr Menkov, who jumped 8.42m, the second best performance of the season. Europeans had never won a world championships in this event, and no Mexican had ever won a medal in this event. In Moscow, Menkov went into the lead on his third attempt with a personal best of 8.52m. He improved to 8.56m on his fifth attempt for the victory. Ignisious Gaisah jumped a best of 8.29m on his fourth attempt for the silver medal, his second, and Rivera jumped 8.27m on his fifth attempt for third, making him the first Mexican to win a medal in this event.
Shot put
In Moscow, Germany's David Storl, the defending champion, threw 21.73m on his fourth attempt for the victory.
Discus
Polish discus thrower Piotr Malachowski had the best performance of the year of 71.84m prior to the Moscow World Championships. When the competition was all over, defending champion Robert Hartig, of Germany, captured his third straight championships with a throw of 69.11m.
Javelin
This event normally belongs to the northern Europeans. At the Moscow World Championships, Czech thrower Vitezslav Vesely threw the javelin 87.17m to capture the gold medal. His Moscow victory came on his first throw. In the fifth round, Kenyan Julius Yego, the first Kenyan to compete in this event that many people consider a natural for Kenyans, threw an amazing 85.40m for a national record, which placed him in third place at the time. However, this was in Moscow. Dmitri Tarabin, who had the second best performance of the season, pleased the hometown crowd by unleashing a throw of 86.23m for the bronze medal. As far as we are aware, this was the first time that a Kenyan had participated in this event at the world level and the federation has planned to concentrate on it. London gold medalist Keshorn Walcott, from Trinidad & Tobago, was injured earlier in the season and could only manage 78.78m in the qualifying round, which placed him 19th.
Hammer
At the Moscow World Championships, Polish thrower Pawel Fajdek threw a world leading 81.97m for the gold medal.
Decathlon
World record holder and London and Daegu Champion Ashton Eaton, of the USA, piled up 8,809 points, a world leading performance, for the victory.
4x100m relay
Prior to the Moscow World Championships, the USA had the best time in the world at 37.58 seconds done in Monaco in July. Jamaica ran 37.75 seconds a week later in London. On the closing day of the competition, Usain Bolt had to go into overdrive to win the global crown. The team ran 37.36 seconds for the victory. The United States finished in 37.66 seconds for the silver medal. Canada ran 37.92 seconds for the bronze medal. The Bahamas' team of Adrian Griffith, Warren Fraser, Jamial Rolle and Shavez Hart ran 38.70 seconds for a new national record. They placed sixth in their heat.
4x400m relay
The United States won this event by more than a second over Jamaica. They clocked a world leading time of 2:58.71 to Jamaica's 2:59.88, a season's best. Anchoring the Jamaican team was Javon Francis, the silver medalist in the BTC 2013 CARIFTA Games 400m. The Bahamas, who had won this event in London, was unable to field the same team as in 2012 and finished in fourth place in their qualifying round, in 3:02.67. Chris Brown ran the first leg, newcomer Wesley Neymour the second leg, LaToy Williams the third leg and former junior standout Ojay Ferguson the anchor leg. At the end of the third leg, the team was in the lead. They needed to run better than Australia who had run 3:02.48 to advance. Ramon Miller, who anchored the team to victory in London, suffered some tightness in his leg in the 400m qualifying round and was unable to run. Demetrius Pinder had been injured and did not try out for the team.
We along with the whole world look forward to these relay events at this year's inaugural IAAF World Relay Championships in The Bahamas in May.

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Carey, Pratt into third round of play in Venezuela

Rasheed Carey and Simone Pratt are through to the third round of play in the Copa Gatorade Tournament.
The two junior tennis players, who are currently on the International Tennis Federation's (ITF) Grand Slam COSAT U18 Circuit, are in Altamira, Venezuela playing in the second leg of the tour. Both are seeded at number 16 in their respective divisions, and both received first-round byes.
Carey, who defeated Adrian Andrzejczuk 6-2 and 6-3, will play Matias Zukas next. Argentinean Zukas moved on after pulling off a 7-6(2) and 6-2 win over Jesus Suarez Rivas of Mexico. Zukas is the tournament's third seed and received a bye into the second round. The top seeds are Brazilians Joao Menezes and Orlando Luz.
In doubles, Carey teamed up with Suarez Rivas. The duo fell in the first round to Alan Gadjiev and Aswin Lizen, 6-2, 2-6 and 17-15.
In girls' singles, before Pratt moved on to the third round, she took to the court against Julia Soica of France and defeated her, 6-2, 3-6 and 7-6(5). Soica advanced to the second round after defeating Camila Ramazzini, 6-1 and 6-3.
Pratt will play Jaqueline Cristian in the third round. Cristian got a win over Jessica Ho of the United States, 6-3 5-7 and 6-0. The Bahamian junior female tennis player paired up with Ramazzini in doubles. They took to the court and won their first-round match, 6-4 and 7-6(7), over Jemileth Aguilar and Paola Quintana Rojas. However, the team fell in the second round, losing 6-2 and 6-1 to Anna Blinkova and Ho.
Carey and Pratt are representing The Bahamas and the Central American and Caribbean Tennis Federation (COTECC) on the Grand Slam COSAT U18 Circuit. The COTECC team is a part of the ITF's Development Program, financed by the ITF - the international governing body for the sport, and the Grand Slam Development Fund. Guillermo Stevens of Mexico and Ismar Amaya of Guadeloupe are coaching the Bahamian duo.

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Looking back at Freddie Higgs' golf prominence era

Everybody can be replaced. Life goes on despite the circumstances. Sometimes though, such a void is left that the recovery period is quite lengthy. This is the case with the late, great sports icon, Freddie Higgs. Higgs was 'Mr. Golf' in The Bahamas.
Although he played the game and was in fact one of the pioneers of the movement which saw persons of color break the barrier at local hotel courses, his forte was more in golf administration. He had more to do with the transformation of the local golfing program to respectability in the Caribbean region and the Americas, than anybody else, I submit.
Since his demise 18 years ago, golf in the country has not been the same. The successful achievements diminished and in general the national golf program is not respected anywhere near the level of when Higgs was the pivotal figure in driving the sport forward. Now, there is a chance for a revolution of sorts in the sport. Someone who knew Higgs very well and appreciated all that he did for golf, is now in the chair at the helm of the Bahamas Golf Federation (BGF).
I refer to Craig Flowers. It is because of the Higgs golfing background that Flowers' job is so challenging. I told him recently that if golf in the country remains the same under his leadership, his tenure would be considered a failure. There is much to be done in heightening the profile of the national program and recapturing the glory days of the sport.
The Freddie Higgs' act has been a hard one to follow in golf. I have often mentioned the phenomenal group of milestone golfers called the Young Lions. Carlton Harris, another of that "old school" golf fraternity, reminded me the other day that it was Freddie Higgs who was responsible for the 'Young Lions' term.
Higgs knew what ferocious competitors the cadre of young golfers of the day would be. A lot of attention was paid to the development program, under Higgs' leadership. There were several levels of golfers that were better than the best of what we have today. The core group consistently brought in low scores in the 70s and from time to time, turned in sub-70 rounds. They could be counted on for that level of production. This was during the Freddie Higgs' era of golf administration. There was so much more to Higgs.
He had a firm approach that rankled some, but his style motivated all who came in contact with him. I traveled and observed Higgs in action, managing the affairs of the delegation but finding a way also to assist the team captain in encouragement of the players. With Higgs around, you wanted to do your very best.
Higgs was wonderful for the sporting mix, golf, in particular, of the country. He set the administrative standard for golf that Flowers has to try to attain. Indeed, as this new Bahamas Golf Federation administration gets settled in, we remember Freddie Higgs, warmly and with reverence. May his soul continue to rest in peace!

(To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at sturrup1504@gmail.com)

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News Article
Junior women's softball team to face Puerto Rico

By RENALDO DORSETT

Sports Reporter

rdorsett@tribunemedia.net

Although its local season ended months ago, the Bahamas Softball Federation (BSF) is still busy as it prepares to field the first of several national teams to represent the country in the near future.

The BSF's 18-member junior women's national team is slated to begin competition today in the International Softball Federation Youth World Cup.

The international event, featuring a myriad of countries, is all set to take place from December 30 to January 8, 2011.

The tournament will feature each team participating in at least six games during pool play with medals awarded from each team from first to fourth place.

The ...

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Baseball begins in Long Island

The Bahamas Baseball Federation (BBF) continues to celebrate its 10th anniversary this year and league executives were in Deadman's Cay, Long Island this past weekend to witness the opening of the Long Island Baseball Association's (LIBA) 2012 season.
Two games were played on opening day.  A total of six teams are registered to compete in the league this year.  In the age bracket 7-10, the teams are the Long Island Petroleum Oilers, the Island Wings Cadets and the Bayside Service Station Defendas.  In the age bracket 11-13, the three teams are the Bay View Constantaksis Apt Waves, the Treco's Service Station Hustlers and the Scotiabank Sliders.
The Long Island Baseball Association wishes to thank all who made opening day a success, inclusive of the BBF's executive board, coaches, sponsors and the parents of players in the league.
"Special thanks to BBF President Craig Kemp and Secretary General Theodore Sweeting who came to assistant and support our opening," said Dan Weightman, president of the Long Island Baseball Association in a press release. "Also, a special hats off to Ed Armbrister (former Major League Baseball player) for the encouraging speech he delivered to our league at the opening ceremony.  With this strong start to our league, we are poised for another great season."
The federation's theme this year is 'Decade of Success'.

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News Article
Yohan Blake - YB Afraid of 'The Beast'

With a focus of promoting Caribbean athletics globally, the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) is spearheading a 'Day in the Life' Series, featuring some of the best athletes in the region. The first stop on the regional tour is the island nation of Jamaica. Sheldon Longley is with the IAAF team, and will be bringing updates here in the Sports Section of The Nassau Guardian.

KINGSTON, Jamaica - The name of his foundation is YB Afraid. He has a passion for cricket, and on the tour he is known as 'The Beast'. All perfectly describe the man who is the second fastest sprinter ever behind his training partner and triple world record holder Usain Bolt.
Just a couple years ago, Yohan Blake was laying down some times and performances that solidified his place as one of the world's best sprinters. He had surpassed Michael Johnson's former world record in the 200 meters (m), and had matched Tyson Gay as the second fastest ever in the 100m. He was looking forward to an even greater progression in 2013, but a severe hamstring injury kept him out of the Moscow World Championships and he was unable to defend his world title.
Now, Yohan 'The Beast' Blake is on the comeback trail. He still feels that he is not at 100 percent, but is looking forward to a great season, inclusive of the inaugural world relay championships in The Bahamas. He said that he is looking forward to running with his Jamaican teammates in a sister Caribbean nation. The 2014 International Association of Athletics Federations' (IAAF) World Relay Championships is set for May 24-25, at the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium.
"It's going to be exciting," said Blake in an exclusive interview with the IAAF 'Day in the Life' Series team on Friday.
"I've always been a relay person so I'm looking forward to the world relays. Back in high school, we always talked about just running relays and relays alone. It would be fun. It was an idea of the late Neville 'Teddy' McCook, and we're looking forward to it. We're going to The Bahamas to represent Jamaica well, and we're going to love it."
Blake has personal best times of 9.69 seconds in the century, and 19.26 seconds in the 200m, both ranking second best of all-time. He is one of those Jamaicans who train at home, as a key member of the Racers Track Club.
"I just can't wait for the season to get started. I feel good - just taking my time and working my way back. I'm patient," he said. "I know what I can do. Once I'm healthy it's going to be problems (for his opponents). I just try to keep me focussed and keep working hard to get myself back to where I was before the injury."
Blake said that his focus, drive and love that he has for the sport separates him from everyone else.
"I never give up. While everyone is sleeping I am working," he said. "All of the athletes look up to me. They want to work with me because of the work ethic that I have. They see that I'm coming back from an injury and continue to train hard. That's the standard that I set in training," he added.
This past Sunday, the IAAF 'Day in the Life' Series team visited the Mt. Olivet Home for Boys in Walderston, Manchester, Jamaica - the home of Blake's latest project and the base for his YB Afraid Foundation. Currently, 26 boys, ages 7-18, are at the location. The home, which was established by the United Church of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands in 1967, provides a place for boys who would have been abused or neglected in the past. The home is licensed to house 30 boys.
"What this does is keep them happy," said Blake on Sunday. "When a lot of them first came here, everyone was fighting, but now they've kind of settled in. We're trying to build chemistry among the boys. With training ongoing, I don't get to come here that much but the YB Afraid team checks in and reports back to me.
"Every day it gets harder and harder. A kid gets kicked out or lose their mom or something like that. The pile is getting bigger every day. It's tough. Every day I get emotional. This place needed help, and it needed help fast. I give my all in everything I do - in this project, in track and field, and in my life."
Since taking on the project, with the help of Adidas, Blake and his team have provided furniture, a computer room, and sporting facilities such as a mini basketball court and a mini soccer pitch for the establishment. He's not stopping there, as he and his team plans to move to his hometown of Montego Bay next, and then possibly take on a project in Africa as well.
Sonia Lowe, director of the home and also of the Pringle Home for Girls in St. Mary's, said that Blake has established an ongoing relationship between himself and the boys, and they love it when he comes and visit.
"They cannot wait to see him. They know everything about him, and they always want to know more," said Lowe, who has been with the home for four years. "What happens is that these boys go before the courts, and if space is allocated, they get assigned to us and we prepare for their arrival. They come from all over Jamaica. We want our boys to succeed in whatever they do. We need trained men in all facets of society, and that's what we want from our young boys here. We don't want them to end up homeless, and I wouldn't want to see any of them washing anyone's car windows. We just want to push them to be the best that they can be."
When Blake is not training and dealing with his foundation, he said that he enjoys playing cricket here in Jamaica, and reading books.
"I just feel at home in my own country. I enjoy being home," he said. "I grew up loving cricket through my father. It's imbedded inside of me and something that I will cherish forever. Of course I'm passionate about track and field as well, but I don't like to talk too much about it because I don't want to put too much tension on my body when I'm competing. I like to take my mind off what I do, so as not to put too much pressure on myself. You would find that Usain and Warren (training partners Usain Bolt and Warren Weir) are basically the same. In my spare time, I just like to read books and play cricket. I like a lil bit of tennis as well and watching horror movies."
Blake, now 25, exploded on the world stage during the 2010 season when he lowered his personal best times to 9.89 seconds in the 100m and 19.78 seconds in the 200m. The following year he won the world title in the 100m, and about three weeks later, he recorded the second fastest time ever, in the 200m. He has also been a part of two world record setting 4x100m relay teams for Jamaica, but is still missing that elusive Olympic individual gold medal - a feat that he says drives him in practice each and every day. At his Olympic debut in London in 2012, he won two individual silver medals behind Bolt.
"Getting an Olympic gold medal would really mean something - it is something that could atone for four years of hard work," said Blake. "It's real important because that is the biggest stage in the world. What I learnt from my first Olympics is not to crush under pressure - take the experience from it. When it's your time, it's your time. I will always wait until it's my time. I always give my best and when it's your time, nothing can stop you."
Blake, a high school athlete at St. Jago in his younger days, watched as two of his sprint records were broken at the Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA) Boys and Girls Athletics Championships, commonly known as 'Champs', over the weekend. His 100m time of 10.34 seconds fell in the final of the Class 2 (14-15) final in that event as Raheem Chambers, also of St. Jago, ran a time of 10.29 seconds, and his Class 1 (16-19) record of 10.21 seconds was blasted by Kingston College's Zharnel Hughes who posted a time of 10.12 seconds.
"I really like what I saw at 'Champs'. I'm really impressed by what is going on," said Blake. "Records were meant to be broken. I just hope that these guys could hold the faith and continue what they are doing after they are finished with high school. I am really impressed with what they are doing. We just need to preserve our athletes after high school."
Young Chambers is a fellow Jamaican, but Hughes is from the tiny island nation of Anguilla. As far as his foundation is concerned, Blake said that one should never be afraid to help, hence the name of his foundation, which is known for providing good support for impoverished kids.
"I have the opportunity to assist, and I'm going to do that," said Blake. "Growing up, it was tough for me. I always told my mother that I wanted to make things better not only because of what I was going through but also to help young kids. I've been to some places in Jamaica, and it's really sad to see what some of the young kids are going through. Sometimes it makes me cry. These kids have a lot of talent, and I'm just trying to create a better world for them.
"Some of them have been abused and neglected. I'm trying to get them back to a life of normalcy. We at the foundation have made a lot of strides in that area. It is successful, and a lot of persons want to come on board because they see the success that we are experiencing. These kids are starting to do well in school. Every day I try to talk to the young kids at UWI. The sky is the limit for them, no matter what. I just want them to know that they could aspire to be the next fastest man in the world or even prime minister."
Blake and his high profile Racers Club teammates share a training ground with the young athletes from the IAAF High Performance Training Centre, at the University of the West Indies (UWI) Mona Campus. Growing up, Blake said that he got a lot of his inspiration and his drive from his parents.
"My mom and dad are the ones who supported me when things were really tough. It was really hard for them to send me to school. I didn't know I was going to turn out to be this type of person, but I just have to thank God for it. Going through what I been through, it's a huge drive for me. Sometimes in training, you feel like you can't go but when you remember where you come from and that you are making poor people happy, you have to keep going," he said. "You know training with guys like Usain and Warren is a lot of fun. We have chemistry, we gel together. We have fun and that helps the camp. It's a situation where you have the best four or five in the world training together, and that makes all of us better."
While he is eagerly anticipating the world relays in The Bahamas, Blake said that he hasn't made a decision on the Commonwealth Games as yet. The 20th Commonwealth Games is set for July 23 to August 3, in Glasgow, Scotland.
"For right now, I'm just looking to get my stride back, and get back to where I was in the world. I'm training and things will come together," he said.
On the tour, Blake has his own style that makes him stand out from anyone else, whether it be the plaits, the uniquely-designed socks or the long nails. He said that he likes the image that he presents, and just doing things differently.

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Christie thanks Chinese for National Stadium gift
Christie thanks Chinese for National Stadium gift

Opposition Leader Perry Christie said yesterday the handover of the new Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium to The Bahamas government represents the fulfillment of a promise he made to the youth of the nation more than seven years ago.

The People's Republic of China turned over the $30 million stadium to the government on Wednesday. Chines Ambassador to The Bahamas Hu Shan visited Christie's downtown office yesterday to officially thank him and the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) for the role they played in bringing the project to fruition.

Christie, who is a former long jumper, told Ambassador Hu that he wished he would have had the opportunity to jump in such a magnificent" stadium.

"I want to add my thanks to the Chinese and the people of China for this extraordinary gift," Christie said. The 15,000-seat facility sits on more than 450 acres of land that will be further developed to enhance the world-class stadium.

On Wednesday evening, Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham was handed the key to the future site of an International Association of Athletic Federations (IAAF) and International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) certified facility.

The handover took place about two years after the stadium project started. Christie said when his government began negotiations with the Chinese for the stadium, it was under the premise that the facility would be built for the youth.

"My sole interest was to provide a gift and legacy for the young people of our country," he said.Christie also thanked the ambassador for the design changes he requested which allow the facility to act as a hurricane shelter.

"I am pleased with what I saw. It is exactly as I envisaged it when I made my state visit to China in 2004," Christie added.
Ambassador Hu, through a Chinese interpreter, also thanked Christie.
The government recently signed contracts to develop the land surrounding the stadium. The complete transformation of the complex will take about a year, according to officials.

Improvements to the roads and changes to some facilities will take place.
In April the government signed a $48.5 million contract with two Bahamian companies for the Queen Elizabeth Sports Centre Redevelopment Project, an undertaking that is expected to catapult New Providence into a premier sports tourism destination.
The project is separate from the stadium.

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Mat sports exuberance catching on big locally

A new sports development unfolded in the auditorium of Xavier's Lower School this past Saturday.
Coordinated by the Bahamas Judo Federation, President D'Arcy Rahming and his colleagues presented a sporting mix that could well become the trend locally. Judo, wrestling and fencing combined to provide excitement for the onlookers.
"We're really happy to be able to this. I think this is the first time in the modern era that wrestling has been displayed like this. Well, the first time in recent years, I'm sure," said Rahming as he explained the idea.
"It's about being able to showcase two or several other sports at one show. I believe it will be accepted that we got off to a good start."
That was the case indeed. The crowd was not a large one, but it was enthusiastic and seemed knowledgeable as well. Judo is more of a finesse sport, with more of a concentration on grip, throw and pin, whereas with wrestling the contact could be more physically intensive. Fencing is skill-based and not a well-known entity on the Bahamian sports scene.
Without a doubt though, the male and female participants, in judo, fencing and wrestling, all gave a good account of themselves. Rahming and his associates are on to a good thing. The combination of mat sports could take off in a big way. In the future, tae kwon do and boxing are definite disciplines that will be included.
"We are headed to a point whereby all the organizations can come together in tournaments to give exposure to multiple sports. The tournament's objective was to create a multi-sport event that highlights the combat sports found in the Olympics. I hope to expand to all Olympic combat sports and then use this event as a basis for growing the sports locally and then internationally," said Rahming.
"Seventy-three athletes participated from four to 25 in ages. Wrestling, fencing and judo were involved and the hope is for the expansion to include tae kwon do, boxing and archery."
Excitement is in the air for a combined mat sports competition. Several expressed a profound interest.
"The last novice fencing event to my memory was in 1978 in Freeport. I just returned from a fencing congress in Paris. There is hope to expand and improve to the Olympic level with the help of the International Fencing Federation. This was a good start, although there is much more work to be done particularly on defense," said Maestro Anthony Lewis.
"Fencing is my favorite because it is not as aggressive. I felt strong and empowered without the contact," said Genaye Sherman of The College of The Bahamas Club.
COB's Bria Brown said: "I prefer physical sports without all of the running. I felt a sense of accomplishment. I would want to continue in wrestling."
Alana Cleare of COB said she "really enjoyed fencing because of its precision".
Robert Walkine of the All Star Family Centre Club said of fencing that "it was a challenge seeing through the helmet".
Taimak Saunders, a fencing instructor from the COB Club, said: "I always enjoyed the sword culture. Each combat sport offers something different."
Sherman and Brown participated in judo, wrestling and fencing.
Rahming said another such event is just around the corner.

o To respond to this sports feature, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at sturrup1504@gmail.com.

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News Article
'King Snake' softball tourney starts today

THE 11th Annual Austin 'King Snake' Knowles Softball Tournament for senior boys and girls will be hosted by the Bahamas Softball Federation (BSF), starting today. And it's free.

BSF president Burket Dorsett said the tourney is one of the federation's landmark events, and holds true to its motto. "This is one of the most important events on the calendar and is the true display of our progression and depiction of the motto 'The Way Forward'", he said.

"The continued growth of this tournament is directly related to the growth of the game locally and its ability to represent the country internationally so we continue our great expectations for this event."

Th ...

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What's the way forward for Bahamian soccer

There is a lot about the Bahamas Football Association (BFA) to be respected. Indeed, around the Confederation of Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) region, and the wider world, the administration of the BFA is highly regarded. Competitively, there is a different perspective attached to The Bahamas.
Administratively, the BFA is the envy of the region. In the year 2009, the BFA made history by being the first parent sports body in the country to host an international congress. Indeed, the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) held its big parley right here in The Bahamas. The viability of the administration of the BFA, headed by president Anton Sealey, made that all possible.
The BFA negotiated for the prime piece of property just to the west of the Sidney Poitier Bridge on East Bay Street, and on it is presently the best beach soccer facility in the entire Caribbean and most of the Americas. Last May, the BFA hosted a FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Qualifier. BFA administrators are respected for their credibility and drew the attention of the sports world when they refused to accept money offered, reportedly, for the support of a particular FIFA presidential campaign.
Undoubtedly, the BFA is thought of as one of the most important soccer administrations in the world. Competitively however, that really big step still needs to be taken. The Bahamas is not considered to be one of the power nations in the Caribbean or the wider Americas. In fact, in none of the categories, men, women, junior male and junior female, is the country sitting with a favorable rating.
A couple years ago the Under-17 National Team historically made it to the top eight in CONCACAF. That achievement has been the zenith of Bahamian soccer competition, all genders included. At the World Beach Qualifier in May, The Bahamas played gallantly but ended up outside of the top four. The United States won, with El Salvador as the runner-up. Mexico was third and Costa Rica finished fourth.
In the CONCACAF men's national rankings, as of July 2013, The Bahamas was way down in the pack at 30th with just 53 points. To present a bigger picture of the rankings, the United States sat on top with 880 points. Mexico was second with 865 points. Costa Rica was third with the accumulation of 688 points, Panama (601) and Honduras (582) made up the top five nations.
Haiti (in seventh place) with 552 points, headed the Caribbean nations. Jamaica was right behind with 484, followed Cuba with 457 and Trinidad & Tobago with 419. The reality of the situation is that The Bahamas pales in comparison, competitively, to the Caribbean powers of soccer.
Even less populated Caribbean nations such as Antigua & Barbuda (265); Grenada (264); Belize (242); Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (238); Saint Kitts and Nevis (218); Aruba (163); and Barbados (139) are far on top of The Bahamas on the points table. We are ahead of just the U.S. Virgin Islands, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Anguilla and the Turks and Caicos Islands.
In the CONCACAF national women's rakings, The Bahamas is not listed among the top 16. The list include in order: The United States, Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica, Trinidad & Tobago, Haiti, Guatemala, The Dominican Republic, Cuba, El Salvador, Suriname, Honduras, Nicaragua, Bermuda, Dominica and Antigua & Barbuda.
Without a doubt, the BFA is a well-known entity in world soccer circles, but not at all for competitive achievements. That development looms clear and large as the one big challenge for the BFA as the year 2013 quickly winds to a close. It will be interesting to see what unfolds in 2014.

o To respond to this sports feature, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at sturrup1504@gmail.com.

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New track at national stadium to get a facelift

A new track will be installed for a brand new event - that's the approach the Bahamian government is taking leading up to the inaugural World Relays to be held here in The Bahamas in 2014.
The world relays are set for May 24-25, 2014 at the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium, but the problem is, the track inside the complex is not Class I certified, which is required to host such a global event. There are over 200 member federations in the International Association of Athletic Federations (IAAF), and quite a number of them will be represented at the world relays. A total of eight world championship spots in the sprint and mile relays, in each gender, will be up for grabs as it was recently confirmed that the top eight will qualify for the 2015 IAAF World Championships in Beijing, China.
Before all of that can happen, the track itself must be brought up to standard. General Manager of the National Sports Authority (NSA) Jeffrey Beckles said that Italian company Mondo has already begun the process of refurbishing the track.
"Mondo and its team began the process, and we're very pleased that the work has started," he said. "Our new objective is to be able to deliver the track on time, so that we can have it finished in time for a test event in April, and then of course the big relays will be here in May."
That test event in April might just turn out to be the 2nd Annual Chris Brown Bahamas Invitational (CBBI), which is set for April 12 at the stadium. Whether work on the new track will be completed in time remains to be seen though. Bahamian national record holder in the men's 400 meters (m) and the 800m, Chris Brown, has already vowed to bring top talent here to these shores for the second year in a row. This year, a number of former World and Olympic champions graced these shores for the one-day meet, and it is promised to be even more prestigious in year two.
As for the track at the stadium, Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Dr. Daniel Johnson admitted that some errors were made in the initial installation. He is hopeful that the work that is already underway will be completed in a timely manner and up to IAAF Class I standard.
"You should have the inspectors, the IAAF and the engineers on site, on each occasion, during the process of installation so that it can be done properly with international guidelines," said the minister. "We will have those three parties working together with our team, so you will have personnel from the Ministry of Works, the NSA, international inspectors, the IAAF and Mondo on the scene all the time. This marks our initial move on the world stage in terms of hosting world-class track and field events. This will be an IAAF Class I certification track that can host any kind of world event."
Athletes will compete in the 4x100m, 4x200m, 4x400m, 4x800m and 4x1,500m relay events, in both genders, over two days of competition at the inaugural world relays. With no Bahamian meeting either the 'A' or 'B' qualifying standard for any of the longer individual races, it's safe to say that The Bahamas won't have representation in those relay events, and if there is representation it certainly wouldn't be competitive against the world's best.
According to Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations' (BAAA) President Mike Sands, the IAAF should release entry standards for the relay events in short order.
Currently, it is rumored that the entire event would run at a cost of about $5 million to the Bahamian government, but that was before it was revealed that the track itself would be uprooted. At this point, the total cost is unknown, but it will undoubtedly be in the millions. Sands said that he doesn't see the total cost being a hindrance, because it has already garnered the approval and support of the Bahamian government, which is a major stakeholder in the event. In addition, the IAAF World Relays are scheduled to be held here in The Bahamas in 2015 as well.
As far as participation is concerned, a number of top Bahamian athletes are expected to be home to compete. With the event being held in late May, there is a cloud of suspicion surrounding the collegiate athletes though. For instance, sprinter Shavez Hart might have school commitments, and even though she is a professional athlete now, Shaunae Miller is still taking classes at the University of Georgia which might interfere with their availability for the event.
Former World and Olympic Champion Jeremy Wariner, who was here in The Bahamas for a couple of days before leaving town yesterday morning, said that it is up to USA Track & Field to decide whether or not he will be a part of the U.S. team for the inaugural world relays.
"If I'm chosen, I'll be here and I'll give it all that I have," he said. "The Bahamian people have always been respectful, and they love the sport of track and field. I'm looking forward to being a part of it and getting a run in the new stadium."
Wariner said that he ran here in The Bahamas in 2002 as a junior athlete, and would love to get a run in the new stadium as a senior. As for the run by The Bahamas' Golden Knights at last year's Olympic Games in London, England, he said that he was impressed with what he saw and it was good for the sport for another country to step up to the challenge that was presented by he and his American teammates.
"They ran smart. They knew who they would match up well with on each leg. They just went out there and ran the same race that they ran in the prelims," he said. "They fought hard, and we haven't see that out of a lot of teams lately. For them to go out there and compete the way they did, it was great to see."
Wariner is still one of the top quarter-milers in the world, and he could very well be a part of the American team for the world relay championships. The 2014 IAAF World Relays will be just the second summer global athletics event to be held in the Caribbean, following the 9th IAAF World Junior Championships which were held in Jamaica in 2002.

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Sports Notice

Baseball
The JBLN officially opened its 23rd season this past weekend. After the march pass of all 32 baseball teams and five girls softball teams on Saturday, the opening ceremony was held. Present for the festivities were former Major League Baseball (MLB) player Edison Armbrister and current professional players Antoan Richardson, Sean Albury and Albert Cartwright. The Member of Parliament for Yamacraw, Melanie Griffin, along with Bahamas Baseball Federation (BBF) President Craig Kemp, Bahamas Softball Federation (BSF) President Burkett Dorsett and Bahamas Olympic Committee (BOC) Secretary General Romell 'Fish' Knowles were also in attendance. They were joined by Dr. Keith Wisdom of Cable Bahamas and the principal of St. Andrew's School. The family of the late Philip Kemp Sr. was also in attendance as "Kempie" was recognized for his contribution as an umpire in the JBLN for many years and his efforts in Youth Baseball, with a special plaque in his memory. The highlight of the team presentations was the introduction of five girls softball teams which will compete for the first time in organized girls softball as a part of the JBLN in 2012.

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BAAA executives come together... at last!

Unified! Together as one! All for one, and one for all!
All three terms were used to describe the new relationship of the BAAA executives yesterday, as they move toward the development of athletes and of the sport of track and field here in The Bahamas, in solidarity.
The Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA) was mired in a 13-month dispute, since its elections of last November, which threatened to cripple the functioning of one of the most prestigious sporting bodies in the country. Initially, there were votes of no confidence cast in three executives - First Vice President Iram Lewis, Secretary General Carl Oliver and Harrison Petty, a sitting member of the executive body by means of his presidency over the Bahamas Parents Association of Track and Field Athletes.
A court injunction ensued, votes of no confidence were cast in the entire executive body, the president was suspended, and further court action was threatened.
Now, it appears that all of the infighting has ceased. Sparked by a charge from Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Dr. Daniel Johnson, BAAA President Mike Sands said yesterday that the embattled executives decided to come together in the best interest of the sport, and continue their mandate which was entrusted in them at last November's elections.
"In every family, there is going to be some level of dispute, and how you choose to resolve that dispute is very important," said Sands yesterday. "Since the BAAA elections of 2012, unfortunately there has been some level of dispute in the BAAA family. However, there is no need to rehash as to how we got to that situation as compared to where we are today and where we are going.
"Based on the dispute, there was a meeting with the minister a few weeks ago, and at that meeting, there were frank and open discussions, with no prejudice. At the conclusion of that meeting, there was a decision that we would work together in the best interest of the sport and indeed the athletes who we are elected to serve. Subsequent to that, the executives also had a special call meeting to discuss the way forward, and I will dare say that was the turning point. You see, while we came to a resolve to work together, we have to be reminded that the motion on the floor was a motion by the membership, and therefore it could not be totally ignored. We advised the minister that we would have to take it back to the membership for further discussion."
The motion that Sands is referring to is the votes of no confidence that were cast in the entire executive body, inclusive of himself. According to him, that motion was dropped, and the body which came to office last November, remains intact.
"The membership made the determination to drop the motion," said Sands. "A resolution was amended to work with this executive body provided that the constitution be re-visited, which is highly recommended by the IAAF. There are a number of discrepancies. We have to show the membership that we are serious about working together because they will be observing us very carefully, even watching us month by month. We have to show them better than we could tell them. At the end of the day, the BAAA must maintain its status as the most preeminent organization in The Bahamas, and arguably in the region. We just hope that our stakeholders could restore faith in the organization, and support us, financially and otherwise."
Lewis and Oliver sat with Sands yesterday as he announced the truce, but they opted against commenting, only stating that a decision was made to have just one voice at the press conference in a show of solidarity. Noticeably absent from the press conference was Petty, but Sands said that he supports the move and remains an executive member of the body. He said that they could never correct all of the wrongs and heal all of the wounds that were incurred in the past 13 months, but they could move forward on one accord and get the organization moving in a progressive manner.
"Through it all, we are here to announce to the public and indeed our stakeholders that we are recognizing that there has been some damage done to our sport here in The Bahamas, but we have resolved to work together as an executive body and we will do everything in our power to move the organization forward. We have put aside our differences and will work together," he reiterated. "Included in the spirit of cooperation is the agreement that all sides will drop all court actions. The call meeting that was held afterwards was the most open, honest and fair meeting (that we had), where persons spoke their minds. Members gave forgiveness for any wrongs that were done to others; there were e-mails, and for the first time in a long time they were all positive, and apologies were offered. What we discovered is that we were discussing everything except track and field. A lot of us did deep soul-searching. We are still not perfect, but through the spirit of cooperation, we will make things happen."
At the general assembly meeting which followed the meeting with the minister, International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) representative Jee Isran, who manages the services of all 212 member federations of the IAAF, offered his thoughts and left feeling optimistic that the two sides would come together and work toward a common goal.
"He admonished us to do what we can in the best interest of the sport," said Sands. "At the general assembly meeting, every member voiced their concerns about what they felt was wrong with the executive body, and whether or not they thought we were serious about working with each other. At the end of the day, we have to re-group and identify specific roles that members can play. There is a lot of work to be done. The difficult part is always going to be finances, but we have to work on a finance committee to go out there and find the dollars because every dollar counts. We just have to sit down and look at where we are headed."
Isran, who is also in charge of protocol for the IAAF, was in town to view and examine some of the services that will be provided to IAAF delegates for next year's World Relay Championships at the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium. Sands said that he left feeling very satisfied. Up next on the BAAA's calendar is the end-of-year awards luncheon, which is set for December 29, and that will be followed by the National Cross Country Championships set for January of 2014.
"Work was slowed because of the dispute, but it was never at a standstill," said Sands. "National teams traveled, and there were performances at the highest level. What is happening with the local organizing committee for the World Relays is separate and apart from the BAAA. It was mandated that way from the IAAF. The Government of The Bahamas is a stakeholder in the event as well, so there are representatives from the government on the board. The IAAF saw the wisdom in setting it up like that, so that is why it is mandated that way. They provided a template of what the structure should be. All hands will be needed on deck for this one," added Sands.
The inaugural World Relay Championships, the primary item on the BAAA's agenda for 2014, is set for May 24-25, at the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium here in The Bahamas.

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Pro bodybuilding show set for The Bahamas

One of the biggest athletes in all of sports is rumored to be coming to these shores next year.
American Toney ‘The X Man’ Freeman, who currently resides in England, is scheduled to be the headliner at a professional bodybuilding show here in The Bahamas next year. Bahamas Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation (BBFF)?President Danny Sumner said that the show is definitely in the works and they just need to finalize a few details before it could be confirmed.
“I have already given my approval as the Bahamas Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation President, and I’m in the process of seeking support from the CAC (Central American and Caribbean) and the IFBB (Internation ...

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Minister Johnson engineers truce among BAAA executives

The International Association of Athletic Federations (IAAF), as has been warned, has gotten into the nasty fight that is going on between two factions of executives in the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA).
This is happening finally and for a good reason. The BAAA executive battle has now reached into track and field communities and media organizations all over the world. Particularly as it pertains to our region, there is great concern. This was never more evident than on Monday past when Sports Max Zone contacted me to be interviewed by lead host Simon Crosskill.
Sports Max Zone is the most important and influential television sports program in the Caribbean region and comparable to the best throughout the world. Crosskill expressed deep interest in the row and our interview went out to millions.
The IAAF is headed by Lamine Diack. President Diack, a native of Senegal, is a good friend of The Bahamas. He is a man of order.
So indeed, the time is definitely right for an intervention by the IAAF. At a Monday meeting reportedly called the by minister of youth, sports and culture, those attending were advised to urgently make a decision to reach a compromise so that the business of the BAAA could go on unimpeded. Reportedly coming out of the meeting was information that the IAAF deemed it necessary to send in a draft constitution it wishes for all member federations to subscribe to.
The BAAA is right in the middle of the planning of the IAAF Inaugural World Relays of 2014. The infighting threatens to stigmatize the signature sports event and understandably there is concern within the IAAF and of course, the Government of The Bahamas.
Johnson made his call for peace and as to how long this truce will be adhered too is anybody's guess. My understanding is that there were those, who, when Johnson put out the question, did not feel the two sides could work together. A preference for a vote of no confidence and new elections was expressed and supported by a few, I was told.
However, the truce proposal view carried the day.
Once the sides have thoroughly examined the IAAF draft constitution, the idea is for them to come together again and hopefully make a joint decision on the next step. A big question going forward is whether there are those who are bent on operating outside of the truce arrangements.
If this is the case, the impasse between the executive factions will persist. Accordingly, the IAAF and the Government of The Bahamas will be prompted to take stronger roles.
An ideal conclusion by both sides would be for the elected officials to operate strictly according to the elections results at the general assembly of November 2012. Such a decision would undoubtedly bring about an uneasy peace at best.
Nevertheless, it is a scenario would be the sensible route, in my view. I believe Diack and his IAAF executive colleagues would want that to be the case. So, would the Government of The Bahamas, I think.

o To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at sturrup1504@gmail.com.

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Mat sports formula looms large as interest increases

Mat Sports have been underappreciated in this country for the most part. For any number of reasons, none of them realistic, boxing, judo, taekwondo, wrestling, fencing and other mat disciplines have not been paid much attention by the powers that be.
Mere pittance has been the expectation. In fact, compared to higher profiled sports programs, the mat sports have gotten no more than the crumbs from the table. Well, enough is enough! Finally, there is a move afoot to heighten the presence of mat sports in the country.
Mat sports leaders have recently been talking regularly about a collaboration of events. This past weekend, there were two such competitions that turned out to be successes. First, there was the mixture of amateur and professional boxing in the Rainforest Theatre at the Wyndham Nassau Resort. It is the same sport but the mixture of amateurs and professional, looks like a great combination going forward, based on the response of the crowd at the Rainforest Theatre.
The following day, judo, wrestling and fencing were afforded a smaller but enthusiastic audience. The mat sports mix is a good formula and if the respective leaders concentrate on solidifying the movement, the deserved "high" attention from the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture will be the result.
Amateur Boxing Federation of The Bahamas (ABFB) President Wellington Miller (who also heads the Bahamas Olympic Committee) calls the movement, "the best idea to date for mat sports."
"In the past, mat sports operated in isolation of the other. Even in boxing, amateur boxing and the professional part were separate. Despite the good signs shown when both classifications came together on the same show, for the most part, the organizers staged separate events.
"Now, with the overwhelming way in which the fans at the Rainforest Theatre accepted the combination last Friday, hopefully that mix of amateurs and pros will happen more often than not. I personally see it as a very good thing. For years now, we in boxing had this agreement of understanding between us (ABFB), the Bahamas Boxing Commission and the Pan American Caribbean Boxing Organization (PACBO). We staged a tournament together with PACBO in 2009 and they have given equipment to the federation and other clubs in the country. The boxing commission has aided the whole program as well. All we need to do now is build on that agreement. With the other mat sports getting together, boxing can join in and it will boost the outlook for mat sports and much more," said Miller.
In truth, the mat sports movement has the makings of something that will evolve into a major presence on the local sporting landscape. Miller is prepared to get with other mat sports leaders to craft a template.
"We just have to get together and come up with a definite plan, for the future. Already, there have been pockets of activity that proves the mat sports movement can progress. We just need now to better organize the movement," added Miller.
It is anticipated that an even bigger mat competition inclusive of as many as six disciplines will happen early in 2014. The 'Big Mat Sports Blast' is coming!
(To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at sturrup1504@gmail.com)

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Bahamas Red Cross attends IFRC meetings

President of the Bahamas Red Cross Craig Tony Gomez is participating in the 2013 Statutory Meetings of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in Sydney, Australia.
Gomez, who heads the Bahamian delegation, is accompanied by Red Cross Director-General Caroline Turnquest and organization executive committee member on youth matters John Ronald Darville.
While in Sydney, the team is expected to provide insight on the current agenda of the general assembly of the movement, which is to include in-depth discussions on the newly ratified youth engagement strategy of the movement. It is expected to revolutionize the engagement policies for youth and volunteers.
High on the agenda are discussions on the Syrian crisis, new and current global humanitarian challenges and resource mobilization matters, all of which will be addressed by humanitarian experts. The agenda was also amended at its adoption to include discussions regarding the recent Typhoon Haiyan in the Central Philippines.
Darville is expected to make an intervention on behalf of Caribbean youth during the discussions on the youth engagement strategy and is a forerunner in elections for the post of chairperson of the youth network for Caribbean and Latin American countries.
Additionally, during these meetings, The Bahamas' delegation is being invited to sign the Gender Violence Prevention and Skills and Values Based Education Pledges of the federation.

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An excellent Accountants' Week

As an institute, we are committed to ensuring that we provide the focused, relevant educational opportunities, as well as guidance and thoughtful leadership to government, industry stakeholders and affiliates in this time of change.
- BICA President Jasmine Y. Davis

In November of each year, the Bahamas Institute of Chartered Accountants (BICA) observes "Accountants' Week", during which members of the accounting profession convene to focus on accounting education and topics of interest to members of that profession. The week begins with prayerful thanksgiving at a local church service, followed by four days of educational seminars, workshops and presentations for its members and other interested financial services stakeholders, and culminates with a Saturday morning fun/run/walk/push for accountants and others whose energy levels enable them to rise at 5 a.m. to participate in that early morning sojourn.
Therefore, this week, we would like to Consider This... has BICA achieved this year's thematic objective of "Broadening Our Expertise to Support the Changing Economic Environment"? A synoptic review of the week-long activities will assist us in answering that question.

Day 1: Preparing for VAT implementation: Presenting all the factors
Given the tremendous interest in and public discourse on the national issue of value-added tax (VAT), it is not surprising that the entire first day was devoted to this topic. The session commenced with an address on the subject by Michael Halkitis, minister of state in the Ministry of Finance, who outlined the rationale for the government's plans to implement VAT by July next year. The minister's succinct but comprehensive presentation addressed the urgent need for tax reform and shed light on the government's decision to introduce this new form of taxation.
In a second address on this subject, John Rolle, the financial secretary, explained that VAT represents the centerpiece of the government's tax reform. Numerous professionals from the Ministry of Finance delivered presentations at concurrent break-out sessions on a variety of topics, ranging from "the VAT Registration and De-Registration Process", "Accounting for VAT and VAT Accounting Systems", "VAT Compliance, the Legal Framework for VAT Legislation, Regulations and Penalties", "VAT Customs Transitional Arrangements for the Implementation Date" to "Legal and Compliance Issues".
Undoubtedly, the informative sessions on VAT highlighted the enormous resources that have been expended in developing this centerpiece of government's tax reform endeavors and the policy considerations that have been factored into the development of this subject. In the final analysis, the participants recognized and appreciated that many questions need to be answered relative to this transformative shift in the country's taxation system.

Day 2: Building on our foundations in accounting and
financial services
On Tuesday, conference participants were apprised of "The Expected Impacts of New Tax Legislation on the Financial Services Industry"; a presentation that was delivered by Cassandra Nottage, a stand-in for Ryan Pinder, minister of financial services.
An address entitled "Statements of Membership Obligations" was delivered by a representative of the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC), the international accountancy body that promulgates the accounting and auditing standards for the profession. BICA has been a member of IFAC since 1978. In addition, a representative of the World Bank delivered an address on "Institute Capacity Building". This was a historic moment for BICA because it was the first time that representatives of those two prominent international institutions, IFAC and the World Bank, addressed BICA members.
An extremely lively VAT panel discussion, comprised of members of the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employees' Confederation (BCCEC), raised grave concerns about the impending introduction of VAT next year. In essence, the panelists asserted that there were many unanswered questions as we approach this imminent launch date of July 1, 2014.
The afternoon session featured a presentation by the Bahamas Trade Commission and senior trade professionals of the Ministry of Financial Services on the topic "Regional Comparisons & Initiatives, Reciprocity Agreements specifically with respect to the World Trade Organization, Economic Partnership Agreements and CARICOM Perspectives".
The second day ended with an "Update on Pending Legislative Changes (to the Public Accountants Act) and Expected Impacts". Participants were apprised of important changes that are being considered to the legislation that regulates the accounting profession, most notably the legislative framework for practice monitoring and peer review of accountants who are engaged in public practice, as well as disciplinary matters for persons who breach the rules of professional conduct that govern the profession.

Day 3: Technical update
Historically, the technical update is the most popular session during Accountants' Week because it affords accountants the opportunity to be informed about the most recent accounting and auditing developments, pronouncements and practices. The theme for this year was "Maintaining Our Technical Competency". This session has normally been led by foreign employees of the larger, international accounting firms. This year, however, witnessed a departure from that tradition. For the first time, the technical update was presented by a Bahamian accountant, Gowon Bowe, a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers, and, by the reaction of many participants, attendees were treated to an exceptionally outstanding update of accounting, auditing and reporting standards.

Day 4: Cutting edge
tools, energy reform, ethics and certification fundamentals
The final day of educational sessions featured a potpourri of topics that were both timely and informative. The sessions included presentations on: "Making Information Technology Effective", "MS Office 2013 Highlights - Tools to Keep Your Business on the Cutting Edge", "Energy Reform for The Bahamas: A Step Change for Social Change & Economic Development", "Upholding Ethics in the Profession & Avoiding Scandals and Broadening Our Expertise Through Professional Training & Certifications".
Each of those sessions provided invaluable information, which when applied, will enhance professional efficiency and effectiveness and also provided registrants the opportunity to network with colleagues and presenters.

The week's highlight
Unquestionably, the highlight of the week of activities was the impact that VAT will have on the economy, the financial services sector, the society and the profession. Accountants by their education, experience and discipline are uniquely qualified to speak to and advise on the issues associated with taxation in general and VAT in particular.

Conclusion
The Bahamian accounting profession, which began in the 1960s, and culminated in the establishment of the institute with 13 original qualified accountant subscribers to the articles of incorporation in 1971, can now boast of more than 500 members. Approximately 250 accountants are licensed to engage in public practice by BICA. Twenty years after BICA's incorporation by guarantee, Parliament enacted The Public Accountants Act, 1991, which established a regulatory, legislative framework for the profession and that act has served the profession very well for the past 22 years. The profession is once again at the junction of legislative reform in order to assimilate the rapidly accelerating realities and nuances of the profession and the external demands of the world of business and finance.
Jasmine Davis, president of the BICA, her council and the continuing professional education committee should be heartily congratulated for a superlatively outstanding week of activities, which truly enabled the institute's members and participants to realize their objective of "Broadening Our Expertise to Support the Changing Economic Environment".

o Philip C. Galanis is the managing partner of HLB Galanis & Co., Chartered Accountants, Forensic & Litigation Support Services. He served 15 years in Parliament. Please send your comments to pgalanis@gmail.com.

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News Article
Commission begins push for boxing development

Long Island sports and education leaders will get a good idea of the role the Bahamas Boxing Commission (BBC) intends to play in fostering the growth of the sport throughout the archipelago.
The islands have produced some of the iconic boxers of our history. Of course, Bimini has led the way through Yama Bahama, Gomeo Brennan and Gary Davis. Sherman 'Tank' Williams has been the great sports ambassador for Grand Bahama. Then there is Andros, the land of Ernie, Sammy and Freeman Barr. The commissioners, in examining the state of affairs in the country as it relates to boxing development, have determined that the time has come to place much more emphasis, than was previously the case, on the Family Islands.
Yama Bahama and Brennan were bright lights of boxing for this country. They began their individual campaigns in the 1950s and crafted legendary careers. Presently, under the sponsorship of the Pan American Caribbean Boxing Organization (PACBO), a club was established in memory of Yama Bahama and is being kept vibrant by Jeff Davis.
Programs are also going on in Inagua and Grand Bahama. The commission wants to carry out an initiative that will see the sport take root in quite a few more island areas. It is in this vein that the team will be venturing, November 28-30, into Long Island.
"The time has come for us to reach out more in the Family Islands. We want to go into these areas and introduce the sport of boxing, speak about the wholesome value of training for competition and also the need to just to stay in condition and healthy. We look forward to traveling to Long Island. Our colleague down there, Commissioner Dr. Munir Rashad, who is also on our Medical Committee, has been paving the way for the visit by the rest of the team," said Chairman Alvin Sargent.
The focus on the islands ought to indeed take place in a much more comprehensive manner. Although the proposed National Sports Academy speaks to overall development in the country, it would be good for organizations to initiate individual programs geared to include the islands.
The commission, along with PACBO, is seeking to work also with the Amateur Boxing Federation of The Bahamas (ABFB) in spreading boxing around the nation. A key collective goal of the boxing fraternity is to have representatives at all of the regional and international events coming up, leading to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
While visiting Long Island, commissioners will hold sessions with sports and education leaders. Also, the Medical Committee will conduct free examinations of interested young students. The visit by the commission is in keeping with an expanded approach being taken by sports federations and quasi-government entities toward national development.

o To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at sturrup1504@gmail.com.

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