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Although the addition of the IAAF World Relays Championships has caused challenges for the selection of national teams, numerous federations have resorted to various options for solution...
The Caribbean Basketball Confederation has announced that it is in receipt of intentions to participate in the 2011 CBC Senior Men and Women Championships in Nassau, Bahamas from some thirteen (13) National
Member Federations. The event is set for July 25th to August 5th in Nassau, Bahamas.
The four new Bahamian certified international judges will get their first test, locally, at the annual Bahamas Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation’s (BBFF) Novice Championships.
Trevor Bethel, Simone Sawyer, Derrick Bullard and Maurice Hall will be among the field of judges at the June 4 championships, set to take place in New Providence. President Danny Sumner confirmed that the quartet recently received their international certification from the International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness (IFBB), after sitting the exam last year at the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Bodybuilding Championships. “We are pleased to announce that these four persons were ab ...
The hotel sector is awaiting government "clarity" with respect to a laundry list of concerns over value-added tax (VAT), with a leading stakeholder arguing that it is urgent that these matters are addressed and legislation released.
Commenting on the sector's perspective on the status of the government's VAT implementation plans, Robert Sands, president of the Bahamas Hotel and Restaurant Employers' Association (BHREA), said the industry will not be in a position to comment in an informed way on "how satisfied we are" until the government deals with "nine or ten" points.
"I think the fact of the matter is that there are still some details the hotel industry has provided to the Ministry of Finance requesting their review. There are still a number of outstanding issues that we've put in writing to the Ministry of Finance. We are engaged in dialogue on those matters."
The government announced plans to implement VAT at
7.5 percent in late May.
However, it has yet to
table legislation and regulations outlining the details of the tax.
Sands, who is also the senior vice-president of administration and external affairs at Baha Mar, said: "The success of VAT will be in the details and we have articulated about nine or ten points that require clarity. As soon as we get a clearer position we'll be in a position to give more details."
Asked by what time the industry would need to see the updated VAT legislation and regulations in order to successfully implement it, he said: "That point is now. That's why there's a sense of urgency for these matters to be addressed."
The Bahamas Institute of Chartered Accountants (BICA), which was previously identified as one of the entities that would lead the charge on the education of businesses in preparation for VAT, has stated that no education can take place prior to the publication of these documents.
Speaking with Guardian Business earlier this week, Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation Chairman Robert Myers said this week was the first time since the budget that the chamber and the government have been in communication about meeting again in regards to VAT and fiscal reform.
He had earlier indicated that there had been a lack of dialogue between the two sides since the announcement of the updated VAT plan.
"We wrote a couple of strong letters saying 'what's going on?' Hopefully this week we'll have that meeting and try to figure out the way forward with regards to the steering committee and the implementation committee that will help in the implementation of VAT," said Myers.
Meanwhile, as further signs emerged this week in the form of a meeting with private sector stakeholders on Monday, and a consultation held in conjunction with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) on Tuesday, that the government is gaining momentum in its efforts to bring into force National Health Insurance by 2016, Sands said it is too early to comment on BHREA's views on the proposed initiative as much remains to be clarified.
In a statement issued yesterday, Stuart Bowe, president of the Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA), said the association is actively engaged in the consultative process on NHI, working with various agencies including the Ministry of Health, the Pan American Health Organization, the World Health Organization, representatives from civil society, the National Insurance Board, social health organizations and the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation.
"The government of The Bahamas is procuring a strategy for universal health coverage for The Bahamas. The BHTA is sensitive to the implications of universal health coverage and will stay close to this important process in the coming months," Bowe said.
The Bahamas' senior women's national basketball team played in its final games of the 2014 Caribbean Basketball Confederation (CBC) Championships on Friday and Saturday, and left Tortola, British Virgin Islands (BVI) with a fifth place finish.
The squad lost just one game in the five-day tournament, which caused them a shot at the semi-finals due to a stringent point-spread system, but the way they finished was truly impressive. One of the teams they defeated, the Dominican Republic, is number 37 in the world according to the FIBA (International Basketball Federation) World Rankings.
"I think we did a good job, going 4-1. That was the best record we had in a while. Honestly, I feel sad because I feel that we were the best team in the tournament, if not the best then we were one of the best. Being told that having a record of 4-1 is not enough to advance really hurts," said Head Coach Yolett McPhee-McCuin yesterday.
"The only team that went undefeated was Jamaica and they were in a different pool."
After being eliminated from the semis, The Bahamas took on Guyana and Barbados in the classification rounds. Those games were played to determine who would finish in the fifth through eighth spots. They slaughtered Guyana in the first game, 113-27, and then blasted Barbados in the second game, 102-54. As mentioned, they finished with a 4-1 win/loss record, and won their final two games by a combined 134 points.
Jonquel Jones was one of the most exciting players to watch during the tournament. In the team's last two games she maintained her high level of play. In the first game, she scored a team-high 21 points and then put up a double-double in the second, finishing with 13 points and 12 rebounds.
In both games, The Bahamas' defense clamped down and forced turnovers, which allowed them to get out in transition. The fast-paced game suited the athletic players on the team's roster. They also exploited the size advantage down low. Along with Jones, Leashia Grant and Ashley Moss helped out on the boards.
One of the only issues The Bahamas had during the tournament was some of the decisions made at the point guard position. At times, the guards made careless turnovers and struggled to execute plays. They still shot the ball at a high percentage and remained aggressive throughout the tournament, but turnovers in the backcourt plagued the team.
"It (guard play) was definitely not one of our stronger points, but it was not the reason that we didn't advance. There were a lot of lay-ups and easy baskets that we missed, but as we continue to mature as a team, we will beef up in the areas that we feel that we struggled in," said McPhee-McCuin.
Besides that, there is not much negative that can be taken from posting four wins in five games.
However, the fifth place finish at the CBC Championships ensured that the women would not be competing in the Centrobasket Championships that will take place later this summer in Mexico, thus ending their Olympic journey, for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Although this team will not be moving on, the coaches did open doors regarding how national teams will be put together and trained in the future, particularly on the women's side. Their partnership with the owner of Macfit 360, Jimmy Mackey, produced possibly the best-conditioned national team ever.
Also, the players who performed at a really high level at the Caribbean championships are still relatively young. Jones just turned 20 this year and will be an even more seasoned player should she remain in good health. She is in her sophomore year at George Washington University and is expected to become an even better player as she fills out her frame and gets stronger. With players such as Jones, Leashia Grant, Britenique Harrison and others such as up-and-coming guard Valerie Nesbitt, The Bahamas' senior women's national program appears to be in good hands for the forseeable future.
"Nine of the girls who competed, that was their first time competing in international play. We took a lot from it and we learned that the point differential matters in FIBA, but we are just going to take things from this and grow," said McPhee-McCuin. "Hopefully, everybody was able to see that there is a lot of talent in The Bahamas and if we can keep this group together they will be dominant for years to come."
Luckily for the team they will not have to wait long for another chance to qualify for Centrobasket. The CBC Championships are held every two years but last year the host country dropped out due to financial reasons, which caused the tournament to move to this year. So, the CBC Championships are once again set for next year.
McPhee-McCuin said that she plans to begin training camp earlier next year, and she also wants to shift the location of the camp to the campus of Jacksonville University, where she serves as the head coach.
By RENALDO DORSETT
PREPARATIONS are underway as the local governing body for softball gears up for the climax of the Bahamas Softball Federation season.
The BSF National Round Robin is scheduled to return to New Providence November 3-6 for the preliminary round with the championship set for Andros the following weekend.
The round robin will be named in honour of Sonny Haven and Ernestine Butler while the championships will honour Brian Clear and Dora Evans.
The 2011 edition is expected to have the largest fields ever in the history of the Bahamas Softball Federation National Round Robin.
The BSF is set to hold its annual national championship ...
The Bahamas Amateur Athletic Association, now Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA), was founded in 1952 and its founders hoped to have Bahamian track and field athletes participate in the 1952 Helsinki Olympic Games. That did not happen.
On July 31 1954, a team of Cyril 'Peepsight' Johnson, Irrington 'Rinky' Isaacs and Leonard 'Skeeter' Dames marched into the stadium in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, for the opening of the British Empire and Commonwealth Games. The Chef De Mission of the team was BAAA President Cyril 'Cap' Richardson, who at the time was a sports reporter at the Tribune.
Tex Lunn was also selected to the team but was unable to travel due to illness. On their maiden voyage these athletes competed well but none advanced to the second round.
Two years later, the dream of the founding members of the BAAA came true when Richardson took an 18-year-old Tommy Robinson to the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne, Australia.
The first international medal was won by Robinson in 1957 at the West Indies Federation Games in Kingston, Jamaica. Robinson won a bronze medal in the 100 meters. The team increased its haul with Enoch Backford, Tom Grant and Oscar Francis joining Robinson to capture a bronze medal in the 4x100 meters (m) relay. Hubert Dean, George Shannon and Ulrick Whyly joined Francis to capture a bronze medal in the 4x400m relay.
On Top of the British Empire
The next significant first in Bahamian international track and field competition was at the 1958 British Empire and Commonwealth Games in Cardiff, Wales, when as a one-man band, Robinson won a silver medal in the 100 yards and then shocked the world by winning a gold medal in the 220 yards. These performances by the boy from St. John's College and Hawkins Hill put The Bahamas on the map in global track and field.
New Firsts in Kingston Again, this Time the 1962 CAC Games
Four years later in Kingston, The Bahamas participated in the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games for the first time. Robinson won the gold medal in the 100m defeating several world record holders in the 100 yards and 100m.
Two other significant things happened for Bahamian international track and field competition in Kingston. The first was that Bahamian women participated for the very first time. Gail North Saunders, Elaine Thompson and Althea Rolle-Clarke participated in the 100m. None of them advanced out of their heat, but Christine Jones-Darville joined them to participate in the 4x100m relay.
If you thought that was extraordinary, at those same games and on the same day, August 21, Perry Gladstone Christie celebrated his 19th birthday by winning a bronze medal in the triple jump. This was the first ever field event medal by a Bahamian, and one in a long line of triple jump medals for The Bahamas on the world scene.
Unfortunately for Christie, his rival Hartley Saunders was competing also, and the Tribune had on front of the sports page that he had won the gold medal. This was not so as Jamaica's Mahoney Samuels captured the gold. When it was announced that Christie won the bronze, it was anticlimactic. So enthusiastic was Christie, now Prime Minister Christie, about this event that he had a jumping pit erected in his yard on Montrose Avenue.
First Olympic Track and Field Final, First Field Event Participation
In Tokyo, Japan, at the 1964 Olympic Games, two firsts happened for The Bahamas in international track and field competition. Firstly, the world was on its heels about an American sprinter from Jacksonville and Florida A&M called Robert Hayes. Our own Tommy Robinson finished second to 'Bullet' Bob Hayes in the semi-finals of the 100m, and there was great hope for an Olympic medal. This was not to be though. Our hopes went up when Robinson made the Olympic final in the 100m. In the final, Hayes set a new world record and Robinson suffered one of his muscle pulls, finishing eighth in the final. Another "first" happened when Hartley Saunders competed in the triple jump, a first in a field event for the country who had earned Internal Self-Government from Britain.
Christie and Saunders were chief rivals in the triple jump but after Christie went to school in Britain he turned his attention to his studies. All of our accomplishments in Tokyo were small in comparison to that of one sailor Durward Knowles who had already won a bronze medal in Star Class sailing at the Melbourne Olympics in 1956 with Sloane Farrington. In Tokyo he teamed up with Cecil Cooke for the gold medal.
The Golden Boy Wins First Field Events Gold
The CAC Games in San Juan, Puerto Rico in 1966 saw another first in our sport internationally. An 18-year-old super talented Timothy Barrett, still in Government High School (GHS), took on the very best the region could bring and won a gold medal, in the triple jump of course. This was the first field event gold medal for the country. He was called "Golden Boy"!
First Woman to Participate in Olympic Games
Fast forward to 1972 when another athlete from GHS, Claudette Powell, would compete in the Munich Olympic Games, a first for Bahamian women.
From Bimini to World Hurdles Record
A young man from Bimini dawned upon the track and field scene in 1972. Danny Smith attended school in Florida and participated in an unusual event for The Bahamas. This was the 120 yards and 110m high hurdles. He came to the notice of Bahamians when the Miami Herald ran an article on him running one of the best times in the world in May of 1972.
At the Toronto Star-Maple Leaf Games in February of 1973, Smith tied the world record of 5.8 seconds in the 50 yard hurdles. In that race, he defeated 1972 Olympic 110m hurdles champ Rod Milburn, 1968 Olympic champ Willie Davenport, and to be 1976 Olympic champ Guy Drut.
First CAC Senior Championships Gold
The Bahamas participated in its second CAC Senior Championships in 1975, this time in Ponce, Puerto Rico and talented all-around sprinter Mike Sands became the first Bahamian to win a gold medal in the CAC Senior Championships. It was in the 400m.
First Olympic Field Event Final
At the Montreal Olympic Games, Grand Bahamian Fletcher Lewis, one of the most talented all-around athletes ever, made the final in the long jump, becoming the first Bahamian to advance to a final in a field event at the Olympics.
A Great Leap from Mexico to Dusseldorf, Germany
In 1977, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) held its first world event, the IAAF World Cup. 'Fox Hill Gal' Shonel Ferguson went to the World Cup Trials in Mexico and leapt all the way to Dusseldorf, making another first in international competition. Shonel had won the long jump, clearing more than 20 feet, for the first time for a Bahamian the year before at the CARIFTA Games, the first international event ever hosted in The Bahamas.
Can Bahamians Race Walk?
The Bahamas hosted the CAC Junior Championships in 1980, and this time Philip McKenzie, a middle distance runner, won a medal in a walking event, the first and only time a Bahamian had done such a thing. The BAAA made a decision to bring in two experienced coaches in the hammer and race walk. The race walk coach was Elliott Denman, a 1956 US Olympic walker.
First World Championships Finalists
The IAAF held its first World Championships in 1983 in Helsinki, Finland, and both Bradley Cooper and Steve Hanna made the finals of their respective events, Cooper in the discus and Hanna in the triple jump.
First Olympic Relay Team Finalists
At the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games, the team of Eldece Clarke, Pauline Davis-Thompson, Debbie Greene and Oralee Fowler finished sixth in the 4x100m relay, making them the first to make a final in a relay at the Olympic Games.
First IAAF Medal
It was at the inaugural IAAF World Indoor Championships in Indianapolis, Indiana, in 1987 when Frank Rutherford etched his name in Bahamian international track and field history when he won the bronze medal in the triple jump.
First IAAF World Cup Medalist
Five years later, in Barcelona, Spain, javelin ace Laverne Eve won a bronze medal, making her the first Bahamian to win an individual medal in the IAAF World Cup.
Finally a Dream Come True in Barcelona
It was Barcelona again in 1992 when Frank Rutherford, in the triple jump, of course, won the first track and field medal for The Bahamas at the Olympic Games. Rutherford won a bronze medal. This was a dream of the founders of the BAAA 40 years earlier.
World University Games Success
At the 1993 World University Games in Buffalo, Grand Bahamian Daphne Saunders won a bronze medal in the long jump. No other Bahamian has won a medal in the University Games
First and Second IAAF World Outdoor Championship Medals, Ten Minutes Apart
By 1995, the IAAF World Outdoor Championships was celebrating its fifth edition, this time in Gothenburg, Sweden. The Bahamas had never won a medal in this world competition but on Tuesday August 8, 1995, Troy Kemp defeated the great Javier Sotomayor for the gold in the high jump and Pauline Davis-Thompson won the silver medal in the 400m, both, first medals for Bahamians in the world outdoor championships.
First Olympic Relay Medal
At the Atlanta Olympic Games, the team of Eldece Clarke, Savatheda Fynes, Debbie Ferguson and Pauline Davis-Thompson won the first Olympic relay medal for the country, a silver in the 4x100m relay.
The Golden Girls Arrive
Three years later, at the dawn of the new millennium, The Bahamas captured another gold medal in the world championships, this time in the women's 4x100m relay. Eldece Clarke, Debbie Ferguson, Chandra Sturrup, Pauline Davis-Thompson and Savatheda Fynes were in fine form. The same team repeated that victory at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia with Davis-Thompson being upgraded to the gold in the 200m many years later after Marion Jones was stripped of her Sydney gold due to doping infractions.
The Pot of Gold
Finally, in 2004, Tonique Williams-Darling captured the women's 400m title at the Athens Olympics. Tonique also was a Golden League winner that year. She had not been defeated in any of the Golden League events in the 400m. Only one other athlete could claim that in 2004. That was Sweden's Olympic and World Triple Jump Champion Christian Olsson in the men's triple jump. Williams-Darling and Olsson had to share half of the million dollar pot.
Let's Celebrate and Give Thanks
The BAAA and Bahamians have much to celebrate. Over 20 years ago, The Bahamas became known worldwide as 'Small Country, Great Athletes'! The thank-you celebration will be held at a luncheon on Sunday July 13 at The Balcony in Pompey Square at 2 p.m. The event is under the patronage of Prime Minister Perry Gladstone Christie and his wife Bernadette.
At the luncheon, a movie by videographer Stanley Mitchell will be shown of Bahamian international track and field competition, including much of these firsts.
Donation for the luncheon is only $50, but participants can donate more since the event is a fund-raiser to take Cyril 'Peepsight' Johnson and Leonard 'Skeeter' Dames and their wives to this year's Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland, 60 years since they participated in Vancouver. The 20th Commonwealth Games is set for July 23 to August 3, in Glasgow. For Johnson and Dames, it is felt that this thank-you gesture is not too much to give.
Sir Orville Turnquest is the only living founder of the BAAA. He surely appreciates and understands the trail marks made by Johnson and Dames. Tickets for the luncheon can be purchased at the BAAA office at the old Thomas A. Robinson Stadium and any other donations can be made there also.
This luncheon will enable both athletes and fans to mingle and get to know each other. It will also permit the younger athletes to be able to get to know the veteran athletes and vice-versa. We invite all patriotic Bahamians as well as residents to attend this luncheon.
It is an event you will not soon forget!
THE North Carolina Tar Heels closed out their second trip to the Bahamas with another unbeaten exhibition series on Thursday night at the Kendal Isaacs Gymnasium.
Coming off their 130-87 rout over the Bahamas Basketball Federation's national champions Commonwealth Bank Giants on Wednesday night, the Tar Heels prevailed with a 123-86 decision over the Bahamas All-Star team.
It was the second night of the federation's Summer of Thunder College Scrimmages, featuring a number of visiting collegiate teams against locally based teams.
North Carolina's legendary coach Roy Williams said they definitely played much better in the second half as they made the adjustment to the style of play by ...
LOCAL gymnastics enthusiasts will receive a major opportunity to develop their craft as a master instructor will be in town to train and certify coaches in the capital.
A technical training course for current and perspective gymnastics coaches will be held September 12 - 19, 2011 at the Atlantis resort on Paradise Island, the Gymnastics Federation of the Bahamas (GFB) announced yesterday.
The week-long course is being held courtesy of grants by the Federation of International Gymnastics (FIG) and the Bahamas Olympic Committee (BOC).
Participants will earn an FIG qualifying certificate.
Their is a fee and no prior experience is necessary to enroll in the course.
"We are thrilled to ...
Despite just a three-medal haul, it is widely felt that The Bahamas turned in some brilliant performances at the 20th Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland.Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace turned in one of the best swimming performances the country has ever seen at a major international event. She captured a silver medal in the women's 50 meters (m) fly, and added fourth and fifth place finishes in the 50 and 100m free events, respectively.Jeffery Gibson won a bronze medal in the men's 400m hurdles, setting a new national record in the process. The final medal for The Bahamas came from the men's 4x400m relay team, as the runners blazed their way to a silver medal. Also, the men's 4x100m relay team managed to set a new national record in the heats of the event, finishing fifth in the final. Aside from the performances, these games were successful for other reasons as well.This year's team was more diverse than ever before. For the first time, The Bahamas competed in judo and wrestling. There were also several cyclists on the roster for Team Bahamas.In track and field, this was the first time in a long time that the country was represented in all of the relays and the first time ever that all four relay squads made their respective finals.Also, the team was relatively young. Even though the inexperience may have been a slight hindrance to the team, the lessons learned from these games will no doubt be valuable to the athletes who took part."The younger athletes really appreciated this experience because now they know exactly what needs to happen. Some of them believed that they were doing so much, but now they came to find out that they were not doing anything. So, these games helped to put them in a different frame of mind moving forward and trying to reach higher goals in their respective disciplines," said Chef de Mission for the Commonwealth Games team Roy Colebrooke.At the 2012 London Olympics, The Bahamas competed in just two disciplines. In Glasgow at the Commonwealth Games, The Bahamas was represented in six disciplines.One of the mandates of the Bahamas Olympic Committee (BOC) this quadrennial period is to make sure that sporting federations have the necessary tools to send their athletes to high-level training camps. The main reason for that is to help the athletes prepare for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil."These games did a good job of showing each and every federation exactly where they are at and where they need to go. The athletes expressed it themselves, so for a lot of them, the experience was second to none," said Colebrooke. "It is important that we highlight the disciplines that did not win medals, but the experience is truly invaluable to them."There was also some controversy surrounding the cyclists, in Glasgow, concerning their taking a wrong route and being placed in immediate danger. Colebrooke expressed his sentiments on the issue surrounding those athletes."The media said that The Bahamas cycling team went on a highway and we had to clarify that point for them, stating that the GPS system itself that came with the cycling equipment provided, had that route on it. They went on the highway for maybe five minutes, but we immediately corrected it that day to ensure that our cyclists were safe. Aside from that, it is safe to say that Team Bahamas did a splendid job at the games."Moving forward, the athletes now know what it takes to compete at the highest level of competition. Although the 2016 Olympics is still two years away, it is important for each of them to push harder than they have done in the past in order to be represented at that level.
The Bahamas Gymnastics Federation (BGF) made history this summer as it competed in the Senior Pan Am Championships for the very first time August 25 to September 1 in Mississauga, a small town outside of Toronto, Canada.
The team consisted of three gymnasts: 20-year-old Simone Hall, 19-year-old Toneka Johnson and 17-year-old Kianna Dean. They were accompanied by coaches Trevor Ramsey and Alexandra "Muffy" Deal.
The trio, comprised of level eight and nine gymnasts, went up against some of the best in the world, as all of the other competitors were level 10 or elite level gymnasts.
Over 700 athletes from 24 nations around the Caribbean and the Americas competed in the event that served as a qualifier for the 2015 Pan American Games.
Although their squad was outclassed, BGF President Barbra Thompson said that she was pleased that her gymnasts chose to attend the prestigious event.
"I'm very proud of what they did, and I think the country should be very proud of them as well. They were competing against more experienced athletes, and even though they did not finish on top, they did well based on their level of training. I really wish I was there to see them in action," said Thompson.
Prior to the championships, the trio completed a two-week training program at Branch Gymnastics in Michigan. Coach Ramsey considers the past few weeks a real eye opening experience for the young women and hopes that it helps them going forward.
"I think that they did a very good job and handled themselves with the utmost professionalism, even though it was very challenging going against the high level athletes. I think this is the first competition of this level that they have attended, and now that they're back home after the experience, they can really analyze where they want to take their gymnastics careers. I personally hope that they continue to stick with it," said Ramsey.
The BGF does not know whether or not the athletes have been invited to the 2015 Pan Am Games as yet, as the announcement of the list of qualifiers will be made sometime in the coming weeks. In the meantime, the federation has shifted its focus to putting together both a junior and senior national team.
"Were putting these teams together to try and give our gymnasts as much opportunities as we can. The girls that competed serve as coaches as well in our Nassau Nastics program and we hope that they will serve as the leaders that the younger athletes look up to," said Thompson.
Ramsey said: "This has been a process that has been going for a while, and right now we are really close to getting it done. We should have a final word on this very shortly."
The gymnastics calendar will begin to pick up again in October, when Nassau Nastics begins its season. The club will also travel abroad to a few international competitions before the year is out.
The Bahamas Sports Authority has been officially operating since the beginning of this month. The authority started off under the gun and the pressure is not going to lessen anytime soon.
The field at the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium will prove to be a huge hurdle the authority has to clear. Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Charles Maynard appears inclined to let the Sports Authority do its job without interference. When the general election dust clears, if Maynard is still in place, there will no doubt be continuity in how he deals with the all important sports body.
If someone else ends up in the sports minister's seat, hopefully there will be full recognition that the best way ahead is to ensure that those who coordinate the Sports Authority can do so comfortably.
Whatever the case though, the embryonic period for the Sports Authority is going to be incredibly challenging and the road beyond looks equally daunting. It's a brutal portfolio that the authority has been saddled with. All the government facilities are under the jurisdiction of the authority. The accumulation of demanding situations will be awesome. Today, I just want to focus on the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium.
The field that is the anchor section of the facility is not a good one. Minister Maynard recently made the frank admission that while the field looks good from afar, close-up you easily notice the bad patches and the infestation of ants.
There is another problem. Some of the watering apparatuses have been installed inside of the playing area. Yes, right where players will be running at full steam, there is a covered spigot. It's dangerous and by no means, will the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) qualify the field as is.
The truth be told, more than cosmetic work needs to be done to bring the field up to FIFA standard. Infrastructural work is necessary. The cost will be prohibitive. It's looking more and more like the powers-that-be should decide to go for broke one time and install synthetic turf. Sure, there is the initial turf installation cost, but for the long run, that's the way to go. Even if the field, as it currently is, can be fixed to the satisfaction of FIFA, the ongoing servicing will be constantly problematic.
Right out of the blocks this is the staggering challenge that confronts the Sports Authority. Multiply that with the labor and maintenance needs of the National Stadium and the other facilities; having to deal on a day-to-day basis with the federations that use the areas for competition, and one gets a very clear picture of what the authority is up against.
This is why I've suggested in this space that Chairman Leroy Archer and Deputy Chairman Anton Sealey must have free reins. They need to be able to function independently, despite the portions of the Sports Act that refer to the sports minister. The great workload they have been mandated to handle is challenging enough.
To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at firstname.lastname@example.org
By RENALDO DORSETT
BASEBALL in the Bahamas has experienced a resurgence in recent years with milestones at both the local developmental and international level. Now the local governing body seeks assistance for their elite athletes in the sport.
With the ascension of Antoan Richardson to the Major Leagues, the Bahamas Baseball Federation has engaged in dialogue to add baseball players to the list of athletes receiving subvention from the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture.
BBF president Craig Kemp said the BBF would make formal declaration to the Ministry in the near future to offer financial assistance to the federation's elite athletes.
Baseball in The Bahamas has withstood several tumultuous decades. The controversy over just which organization is truly the parent body for the sport has still not been settled to the satisfaction of some.
Of course the fact that the Bahamas Baseball Association is recognized by the International Baseball Federation, gives the BBA automatic status as the authorized group, the one qualified to sanction national teams to play in regional and world competitions.
Nevertheless, the Bahamas Baseball Federation has been much more productive and within that organization, in existence for just some eight years now, is the Freedom Farms League.
While the BBF because of its dedication, backed by the tremendou ...
The Bahamas senior men's national basketball team claimed victory in the gold medal game of the Caribbean Basketball Confederation (CBC) Championships on Saturday night at the Multipurpose Sports Complex in Tortola, British Virgin Islands (BVI), and they did it in impressive fashion, defeating a very tough Cuban team for the second time in the tournament. The Bahamas prevailed in the gold medal game, 75-64, in a wire-to-wire victory.
The team traveled to the BVI last week with the goal of winning the gold, and qualifying for the Centrobasket Championships later this summer, in the process. They accomplished both. They ended the five-day tournament with a 4-1 win/loss record, looking particularly sharp in the final three to claim the gold.
In the final game of the tournament, The Bahamas and Cuba came in with contrasting styles of play which made the match-up very intriguing. It was one of the most exciting games of the week.
Cuba relied heavily on post play while The Bahamas played at a rapid pace because of the athleticism of the players.
The team also had to overcome its share of adversity, as it lost starting point guard Lynden "L.J." Rose to a high ankle sprain in the first game, and also overcame a blowout loss to Antigua, a team it was expected to beat.
In the gold medal game, it would once again be the guards of The Bahamas that stole the show.
Alonzo "C.J." Hinds and Marvin Gray finished with 22 points apiece to lead Team Bahamas. Magnum Rolle had another productive game as he fell one rebound shy of a double-double. He finished the game with 12 points and nine rebounds.
In the first quarter, Cuba got off to a fast start. They were led by their forward Jasiel Rivero Fernandez who finished the game with a team high 15 points to go along with seven rebounds. Cuba was active around the rim and used their size to get deep position on the blocks which allowed them to score easily on point blank lay-ups and second chance put-backs.
Despite a slow start, the Bahamian team managed to go on a run that allowed them to take the lead midway through the second quarter. At times, the Bahamian team tried to play isolation basketball and although they were successful occasionally, they were most effective when they worked the ball around. Good ball movement is what allowed them to outscore Cuba 20-12 in the second quarter and take a 34-29 lead into the half.
Kadeem Coleby played well for his squad down low. He and Javier Justiz Ferrer battled all game long in the post. He powered in 11 points for Team Bahamas.
Yaser Rodriguez Alfonso finished with nine points for Cuba, and Ferrer and Alexis Mestre Mencia dropped in eight apiece.
In the third quarter, the teams traded baskets, and it wasn't until the fourth when Cuba made a final push. They stormed back to cut the lead to five points, but Hinds wouldn't allow his team to stumble.
He connected on back-to-back jump shots, and as the time dwindled in the fourth quarter he delivered what most feel was the highlight play of the tournament. Hinds drove the lane and threw down a monster one-handed jam that sucked the life out of the Cuban team and sealed the deal for The Bahamas.
Team Bahamas claimed the gold in impressive fashion, but they have no time to rest on their laurels, as the Centrobasket Championships is right around the corner. Centrobasket is set for August 1-7, in Tepic, Nayarit in west-central Mexico. The top four from Centrobasket qualify for next year's FIBA Americas Championships where they will get an opportunity to qualify for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. FIBA (International Basketball Federation) is the world's governing body for basketball.
The CBC Championships for Senior Women will get underway Tuesday in Tortola.
THE Bahamas Baseball Federation, headed by president Craig 'Salty' Kemp, expressed its deepest sympathy to the family of the late umpire Philip Kemp.
Known as 'Umpire Kempie,' Kemp was a member of the Junior Baseball League of Nassau (JBLN) Umpiring Crew and a member of the umpire crew that officiated at the BBF's National Baseball Championships which was hosted in New Providence.
BBF AGM RESCHEDULED
THE Bahamas Baseball Federation has announced that its annual general meeting and election of officers that was scheduled for Saturday, November 5, has been postponed until Saturday, November 12 in the boardr ...
WITH the aim of remaining on the "cutting edge" of new developments in their profession, members of Nurses Association of the Commonwealth Bahamas (NACB) participated in the two-day international Nurses Leadership workshop this week.
More than 100 nurses attended the workshop, which started on Thursday and is being hosted by the NACB as part of its 63rd annual conference and in conjunction with the Commonwealth Nurses Federation (CNF), of which the Bahamas is a member.
Founded in 1973, the Commonwealth Nurses Federation comprises national nursing and midwifery associations in Commonwealth countries such as the Bahamas.
The CNF's objectives are to influence health policy throughout t ...
The formation of the regional Anti-Doping Committee, for bodybuilding and fitness, is timely said president of the Bahamas Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation (BBFF) Danny Sumner. He said that more and more is now being done regarding the cleanliness of the sport.
The new board was set up at the 39th hosting of the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Bodybuilding and Fitness Championships that were staged in El Salvador from September 23-26. Dr. Cyprian Strachan was elected to the executive board where he will represent The Bahamas. His nomination was backed by Sumner, who thanked him for accepting the prestigious honor.
"This is a big thing for bodybuilding," said Sumner. "The Bahamas always has representatives on the various boards at the regional level, so having Dr. Strachan be a part of this and representing the country and the sport is good. He is very familiar with sports rules and regulations. Dr. Strachan has served as medical doctor for numerous track and field teams, as well as other sports.
"I personally want to welcome him, on behalf of the federation. I am sure that he will do his best to assist in cleaning up the sport and making sure our athletes follow the guidelines. Nowadays, there are a lot of products out there to enhance your performance. I try to keep our athletes away from that, but with him on board I am sure we will continue to be clean."
Dr. Strachan will be one of many medical advisors on the CAC committee. He was unavailable for comment yesterday, but in an earlier interview, he stated: "I am grateful, pleased and humble to be able to assist the sporting community in whatever capacity or way that I can. I was approached about three months ago, just before they hosted the nationals, with the idea. There are numerous persons who have assisted and who have gone before me, so just being able to give my services is satisfying. I love sports and have a passion for it. This is the best way we can level the playing field for everyone, so I think it is a good idea. There are also certain health aspects that people need to concern themselves with. I believe if they know all the side effects that are involved then they will be discouraged."
Grand Bahama Amateur Boxing Association (GBABA) President Terry Goldsmith was insightful in presenting his perspective of the way forward for boxing in the country, with an emphasis on the amateur program.
The occasion was the conclave held Saturday, February 26, by the Amateur Boxing Federation of The Bahamas (ABFB).
Goldsmith, who is also a vice president of the federation, was strong on the need for proper official documentation at every step of the way now in this new high-profile Olympic style era, and he also emphasized the need for a great increase in tournaments and club meets.
A product of the British system as a standout amateur boxer and subsequently a referee and judge, Goldsmith is well q ...
An official date has been set for the second round of the regional beach volleyball tournament, leaving the country's four-man squad with less than two months to train.
The team of Muller Petit, Renaldo Knowles, Byron Ferguson and Prince Wilson, waited a year for the executives of the North, Central American and Caribbean Volleyball Confederation (NORCECA) to release the dates for the Sub Zonal Olympic Beach Volleyball Tournament. They were hoping to get word earlier in the year so that they can better prepare themselves for the sizzling sands event, which is a qualifier for the 2012 Olympic Games. The December 4-5 hosting was confirmed by 1st vice president in the Bahamas Volleyball Federation (BVF) Joseph Smith over the weekend. It was welcoming news for Head Coach DeVince Smith, who noted that the team members are now in season and should be in tip-top shape for the event which will be held in the Cayman Islands.
"We've been waiting on them to release the dates of the tournament for a while now," said Smith. "We are happy that a date and venue has been confirmed. The guys are eager and ready to play. I am not sure if the players have heard the great news as yet, but I am sure that when they do they will be ecstatic."
Petit and Knowles represented The Bahamas as Team 'A' and Ferguson and Wilson was Team 'B', in the preliminary round. Even though the teams are divided into two, the points accumulated are tallied as one.
The Bahamas, which was ranked fifth in men's play, defeated the fourth seeded Barbados squad of Elwyn Oxley, Winston Gittens, Hughly Sealy and Jamaal Nedd, to move onto the finals. Oxley and Gittens were Team 'A' while Sealy and Nedd represented Team 'B' for Barbados. In the finals of the preliminary round, The Bahamas met up with Trinidad and Tobago, the host, defeating them for top honors.
Smith said: "I believe that the players are going to be very strong because the New Providence Volleyball Association (NPVA) is currently going on. I think that they will be able to make the adjustments very quickly from the hard court to the sands. They did it last year and the results were positive. As far as training is concerned, I don't have an official date as yet. I intend to meet up with the players first, have a meeting to discuss and decide on a training schedule."
The female squad of Laval Sands and Tia Wilson did not qualify for the second round. As a team, they finished fifth.
The official dates brings hope to the junior national female team, who are still awaiting word for the regional tournament, in their age division. No host or date has been set as yet. The team was supposed to travel to compete this summer but their segment of the regional tournament was postponed. The junior male squad competed and placed fifth. That championship was held in Jamaica.
By SHELDON LONGLEY
NG Sports Editor
It appears that all is cleared up between the'Battle at Atlantis'organizing committee and the Bahamas Basketball Federation(BBF), and for the first time in the history of sports in the country, male and female NCAA Division I basketball games will be played here simultaneously.
According to reports, the Atlantis Resort is going full steam with its one-day exhibition men's encounter on December 18, and the federation which apparently reached a compromise with the resort yesterday afternoon, is going ahead with its plans for a women's tournament featuring college basketball standout Brittney Griner and the Baylor Bears, around ...
By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
HAVING abandoned her quest to secure her professional card through the Bahamas Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation, Dawnita Jones-Fry has decided to pursue it through the World Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation.
This weekend, she will be competing in her second show in the Canada based WBFF when they launch their initial campaign in the United States at the Fitness Atlantic Championships at the Oakdale Theater in Wallingford, Connecticut.
Jones-Fry, who leaves town on Thursday for Saturday's competition, said she's eager to get on the stage for her first show for the year and the first for the WBFF that is headed b ...
Understandably, Bahamian sporting icon Pauline Davis-Thompson is sending out a desperate plea to have her precious medals returned. An entire nation is hopeful. But, the unfortunate incident last Friday also raises the question: What can be done, in terms of replacement medals if those national treasures are never returned?
According to Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations' President Mike Sands, it is a situation in which they are not prepared to stand idly by.
"I can certainly understand the sentimental attachment, so my sympathy goes out to her, and I just want her to know that the BAAA will support her in any way that we can," said Sands yesterday. "At this time, I don't know if there is any recourse for replacement but certainly, giving a reasonable amount of time to see if they would be returned, we would make a request to the IAAF to see if the medals could be replaced. They are not some things that you can go in the store and buy.
"I know that in games and events of that magnitude, when the medals are made, extras are always made for obvious reasons so I could only assume that there will be a possibility that the respective international bodies will look at it favorably. I'm not sure how they would review the request but I am hoping that it would be favorable, if it comes to that, given the manner in which the medals were taken."
Last Friday, Davis-Thompson's home, on the western part of New Providence, was ransacked. Burglars took her 1996 Olympic relay silver medal from the Atlanta Games, her relay gold from the 1999 Seville World Championships, her Order of Merit award from the Bahamian Government, her Officer of British Empire (OBE) award, her medal for acceptance into the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Hall of Fame, along with a number of electronic devices including flat screen TVs.
The relay gold from Seville isn't 100 percent pure gold and carries little, if any, monetary value. All Olympic medals are at least 60 millimeters (mm) in diameter and three mm thick, but they too carry little monetary value. Olympic gold medals, in particular, are required to be made from at least 92.5 percent silver, and must be plated with a minimum of six grams of gold. The last series of Olympic medals to be made of solid gold were awarded at the 1912 Olympic Games in Sweden.
"My heart goes out to Pauline on the loss of her medals because those are some things that carry value only to Pauline. I'm hoping that what I'm hearing from this 'Cash for Gold' business is not a stimulus to cause that to happen, but if for some reason, the perpetrators take the medals to the 'Cash for Gold' people, we would hope and expect that those persons would be running legitimate businesses, and have the fortitude to reject them and even go as far as to call the police," said Sands.
An emotional Davis-Thompson said that she, herself, will see what she can do to get the medals replaced, and to see if there are any costs attached in doing so. Davis-Thompson was re-elected to the International Association of Athletic Federations' (IAAF) Council last month, the governing body of the track and field world championships. That body along with the host city is responsible for the make-up and issuance of the respective World Championships medals.
"I think that, given her position, Pauline is able to sit at the table with her colleagues and express her own personal feelings on how the medals were taken, and I'm sure that would carry some weight, but as a member federation, we in the BAAA certainly expect to take the lead and put in an official request," said Sands.
As far as the Olympic silver medal is concerned, Bahamas Olympic Committee (BOC) Secretary General Romell 'Fish' Knowles said that he expects it to be a difficult process, given the 15-year window since the passing of the Atlanta Olympics, but they too would appeal to the respective international governing body for a replacement.
"First of all, it was most unfortunate. When you have an athlete who have dedicated so much time toward training and then to go on and win a medal, that medal is certainly a reward for all the hard work that is put in. When it's just taken from you, there has to be a certain degree of disappointment. It's sad that someone would just take a medal that someone else spent a lifetime trying to earn. Obviously, it's no value to them so we just hope that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and some way, somehow, those medals are returned," said Knowles.
"We will definitely appeal to the IOC (International Olympic Committee) on Pauline's behalf of making another medal, if possible. We will have to petition to the Atlanta organizing committee from those games as well. Hopefully the medals would be returned by then, but if it comes down to that, we will definitely do what we can to have a replacement medal issued. It certainly would be a challenge, because we are talking about '96, but it wouldn't be impossible given the popularity that Pauline has and the level of success that she attained as a five-time Olympian. I'm sure that Atlanta will do all that it can to assist us."
According to reports, the police have no leads in the matter at this particular time. Davis-Thompson said yesterday: "It hurts. It really hurts. I think that the entire Bahamas knows that I have worked very hard, and they feel my pain. I just want to thank the Bahamian people because they are reaching out to me, and for the most part, they know what it is to work hard for something and have it taken away. They themselves are hurting, and I'm just grateful for the support."
Bahamian veteran quarter-miler Chris 'The Fireman' Brown said he would be devastated if he had suffered the same fate. He won Olympic relay silver at the 2008 Beijing Games, and is still awaiting a relay bronze from Sydney in 2000 due to doping by others. At the World Championships level, he is the current World Indoor Champion in the men's 400 meters (m) and has won quite a few individual and relay medals, indoors and outdoors.
"In a situation like this, we just need to pray that the persons who stole her medals bring them back and she can be at peace. Those things cannot be bought in the store - there's a lot of hard work and dedication put into it," said Brown. "I don't know if the person or persons who took the medals are looking for some type of reward but it's very disturbing. You know, as athletes we want to always showcase our medals when we have visitors and guests, but now something like this would probably cause all of us to be a bit more cautious. Nowhere is safe anymore. We as athletes might have to find a different approach and probably secure them in safety boxes or in a safe.
"My heart goes out to Pauline. When I received the information, I was devastated because if it had happened to me I wouldn't know where to turn or where to look. Something like this shows us as athletes that it can happen to any of us. You know, it's mind boggling to know that someone would have no heart and stoop to this level. Pauline is an icon in this country and well loved by everyone."
Davis-Thompson's individual gold medal in the women's 200m from the Sydney Olympics was presented to Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham in the House of Assembly last year, to put on display for the Bahamian people. She originally finished second behind disgraced American Marion Jones, but Jones was stripped of her five Olympic medals from those Sydney Games for taking performance-enhancing drugs and her role in the BALCO (Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative) steroid scandal. Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Charles Maynard said that Davis-Thompson's Olympic gold medal in the 200m will be showcased in the new Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium, as the former 'Golden Girl' wishes.
I just don't get it. Our political leaders (all of them) continue to miss the boat when it comes to recognizing the true importance of sports to this country and act accordingly.
It is so obvious that the only way the criminal element in this country will be pushed back is if the national sports program is expanded to gobble up the vast majority of the young boys and girls who go astray because of having no positive sense of direction. The national sports program is a great option for our little boys and girls and the older ones as well.
The Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium was bursting at the seams with people on Saturday past. There was the big question bandied around about whether the stadium would ever be seated to capacity. Well, we got our answer.
Let's be clear about the situation. On Saturday, the overwhelming support was not about politics. The politicians were neutralized on Saturday even though they came out in big numbers. The response from the crowd to the names of Hubert Ingraham and Perry Christie was subdued and similar. No, it was not about them.
Yet, the ongoing comments from that arena prove that the politicizing never stops. The real teaching moment from the event was about sports. Only sports can get all Bahamians, from every persuasion together. Hypocrisy appears to be a constant among our politicians when dealing with sports in particular.
They soak up the opportunities to grandstand on forums created by the awesome collective ability within the Bahamian sports fraternity. They boast and praise the athletes, administrators, coaches and trainers to the highest. Still, against that backdrop, just the financial crumbs from the National Budget table fall off to the national sports program. I invite readers to compare the allocations for health, education and tourism to that of sports. By no means do I wish to dilute the significance and importance of prime health care, high-level educational opportunities and tourism vibrancy to the stable existence of our people. It's been proven over and over again though that the national sports program deserves to be right up there in that top category of budget allocations.
Young boys and girls are dying by way of crime. The lives of others are been snuffed out almost daily, by the young among us. The role models of more and more of our young are not Tommy Robinson, Andre Rodgers, Sir Durward Knowles, Cynthia Moxey-Pratt, Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie, Chris Brown, Mark Knowles, Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace, Devard Darling, Mychal Thompson, Gomeo Brennan, Glen Griffin, Carl Minns or the many others of that ilk.
Today, the role models who too many of our young seek to emulate, are the crime merchants. It is because the system has changed to enable those who promote crime to be in closer contact with our young. The burden on the sporting administrators, coaches, trainers and other mentors is too great because of the numbers that need attention and the meager funds to go around. Many sports mentors spend personal funds, just to provide meaningful opportunities for sporting growth.
I have personal knowledge of this. The biggest reason for my resignation as president of the Amateur Boxing Federation of The Bahamas (ABFB) way back in 1976 was because my children were getting bigger and more expensive. I no longer was able to afford helping to pay some of the costs for those monthly trips to the Florida Golden Gloves, and other friendly competitions against Bermuda and Canada.
Grants for federations and the National Subvention Program were decades beyond the horizon then. Now, thanks to the central administration, grants and subventions are commonplace. The funding for the subvention program is fine. The grants must be adjusted greatly. The core sports group needs $300,000 at least per year and the smaller sports programs around $200,000.
An essential body like the Bahamas Anti-Doping Commission (BADC) should be given $500,000 yearly, because of the huge area mandated by the law. If this happens, crime would not be eliminated but there will be a huge dent in the activities of the criminally inclined. The sporting programs would then be in position to inculcate our wayward youth and those who are apt to be directed to the wrong paths in life.
It was indeed a teaching moment about sports on Saturday, February 25 at the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium. I wonder just how many learned the lesson taught. I'm sure the man whose name the national stadium bears, got the message. He's been a part of the message for many years. Maybe in his own way now, he will be able, somehow, to educate the politicians about the true value of sports.
Thomas Augustus Robinson no doubt was aware of the teaching moment. Congratulations Tommy for the honor bestowed upon you.
(To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at email@example.com)
Tears of joy streamed down the faces of many Bahamians on Saturday evening as they watched the spectacular show staged, for the opening of the country's first state-of-the-art sports facility, in amazement. Thousands poured into the new Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium on Saturday, wanting to be a part of the historic event.
For many years now, athletes past and present were lobbying for an arena which would set them apart from their regional counterparts, like their performances in various sporting disciplines, and the construction of the stadium is said to be the edge that will be needed to further propel the country forward.
While the fireworks lit up the sky, and Bahamians stood proud, the country's best athletes including the trail blazers and those still carrying the torch, shouted out with glee, "finally". Olympic icon Pauline Davis-Thompson viewed it as "a vindication for all of the sporting persons", who came before her and those standing and still competing now. She said: "The Bahamas should stand proud and tall, as we understand that there were people who came before us and sacrificed many things to make this dream come true. The Bahamas is now recognized as one of the sporting powers in the world, but more importantly, the people of The Bahamas recognized us for what we have been doing. The Government of The Bahamas has recognized what we have been doing by rewarding us with such a beautiful arena."
The four-hour ceremony featured Bahamian athletes, musicians, dancers and icons. The event, broadcasted live, gave Bahamians from around the country an opportunity to share in the moment. International leaders, including representatives from the International Association of Athletic Federations (IAAF) and the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA), regional sporting heads and giants, were on hand to watch the ceremony, which was done at an approximate cost of $600,000 to the government.
The national facility, named after Thomas Augustus Robinson, is a gift to The Bahamas from the People's Republic of China. It seats 15,000 and will be the home of the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA) and the Bahamas Football Association (BFA). Robinson was the sole competitor for The Bahamas on the world stage for many years. He competed in four Olympic Games, starting in 1956. Two years later, he won gold at the British Empire and Commonwealth Games, in Cardiff, Wales. The gold medal performance was accomplished in the 220 yards. Robinson also won a silver in the 100 yard dash.
When the British Empire and Commonwealth Games were hosted in 1962 and 1964, he claimed a silver in the 100 yard dash. At the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games, held in 1962, Robinson won a gold medal in the 100 yard dash.
It was these achievements among others, in which, the grand celebration was held. Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham said: "Tonight, we celebrate. We celebrate the embodiment of our Bahamian spirit and our Bahamian pride in Thomas Augustus Robinson in whose name and honor we dedicate this new national stadium. Tommy, you make us all proud to be a Bahamian. You are a sprinter by training. Yet you are also a marathon man as demonstrated by your considerable contributions to national development, and in helping to bring to fruition, the dream of this day. Tommy, you have fought the good fight. You are finishing the race with the very style and grace you exhibited in representing your country in four Olympiads. You have kept the faith.
"Tonight, we also celebrate Bahamian athletes, past and present. Tonight we celebrate a new day for athletics in fields of endeavor and competition such as baseball, basketball, soccer, American football, swimming, diving, tennis, cycling and other sports. We are delighted that this new athletic and cultural center will host major regional and international events like jazz and reggae festivals as well as other musical and special events. Fellow Bahamians at home and those joining in this celebration from overseas, tonight we celebrate the very essence of who we are as a people. We celebrate our Bahamian identity and nationhood."
Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Charles Maynard said the construction of the national stadium "creates real opportunities for The Bahamas to extend an invitation to the world to practice, compete and enjoy the best of the islands of The Bahamas." He believes that key to sustaining growth, is the state-of-the-art facility.
The preparation process for the official opening did not go without hiccups which resulted in many becoming critics of the current government. Many believed that the price tag for the opening was too high, especially since millions will be spent on the overall re-development of the Queen Elizabeth Sports Complex.
"The government is spending over $50 million in and around this site starting with the commissioning of a comprehensive master plan of the 400-plus acres around this stadium," revealed Maynard. "The IBS group, a Bahamian Civil Engineering group, whose principals are Nick Dean and Kevin Sweeting, completed the design of a multiuse sports and recreation compound in record time. We are now well into the execution of phase one of this master plan which has created a lot of what you would have seen on your way here, and a lot of what you cannot see that makes this stadium functional."
Maynard is promising that work will begin on the new state-of-the-art internationally certified Hot Rod complex by the end of next month.
Two years ago, a sporting milestone was achieved in The Commonwealth of The Bahamas. With the Grand Bahama American Football program as the catalyst, an under-19 team represented the nation at an International Federation of American Football (IFAF) regional tournament in Panama.
The association with the IFAF was a significant step and paved the way for the sport to get the kind of world prominence it had not gotten before. American LaLisa Anthony spearheaded the American Football program in Grand Bahama and still holds the position of president of the Bahamas American Football Federation (BAFF).
However, Stanford Duhaney is now the football maestro in the island. He heads the Bahamas Youth Football (BYF) organization as the commissioner and is in charge also of Flag Football in Grand Bahama. Anthony is no longer based in Freeport so it falls also to Duhaney to be the prime mover locally for the BAFF.
The man has a plate that is quite full and should be given the maximum support. As in other sports disciplines, the raw talent is certainly in Grand Bahama for American Football. Some of the momentum has been lost but the enthusiasm is still strong for American Football in Grand Bahama.
Flag football has proven to be an extremely exciting dimension to the sports picture. A major BAFF affair is planned for early in 2012. The BYF new season is due to start, on October 29, and Duhaney is set to go.
"Yes, I'm encouraged. We had a bit of a general lull when some of our support fell off, but I'm convinced that we are back on track. I can say that Youth Football in the island is still surviving and I really look forward to a vibrant season. There are six teams made up from some 200 athletes who are in the program and the future really looks bright. You know the kids today have the physical size. They are excited and want to play. We have the connection to provide the equipment for them. The season is going to be exciting.
"I see signs of the support coming back and this is good. There is great potential for advancement in American Football in Grand Bahama. We have the numbers. The interest is certainly there among the young lads and once we get the support, the sky is the limit for us. There is one thing we have to do. We have to make sure that we become sound in fundamentals and technical. I can't emphasize more just how important it is for the kids to be properly taught the game," said Duhaney.
There are indeed so many skill items that need to be addressed, digested and passed on to the youngsters for them to be able to compete favorably against their peers in the region and the wider world jurisdiction of the IFAF. It is a big undertaking for Duhaney. Grand Bahama should rally around him. The noble venture of developing the youth of our nation ought to be appreciated by all.
(This series will continue tomorrow. To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at firstname.lastname@example.org)
In the Prime Minister's address on crime, he invited the populace to increase the level of volunteerism, something he felt would reduce the crime level. People from many sectors in The Bahamas have been and continue to be involved in volunteerism.
You name it - Rotary, Kiwanis, fraternities, the church, Yellowbirds, The Cancer Society, etc. Much has been done and continues to be done by volunteers in The Bahamas. There is however a whole body of volunteerism which has not gone unnoticed. We are speaking about the sporting community which strives on volunteers.
At the closing ceremony of this summer's IAAF World Championships numerous volunteers were at center stage on the field. We often forget how many volunteers are needed to pull off a national, regional, or international competition, much less to carry on a continual program of bringing athletes from the introduction to a sport, to them becoming world champions. Today we salute those unsung heroes who have made a difference in sports in The Bahamas.
The School System
It is said that most things are learned in school. Most athletes have been introduced to sports through their schools. From the track and field perspective we single out Andrea Lockhart of Oakes Field Primary who was instrumental in the start of Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie in track and field. About 55 years ago, Dr. John Carey was instrumental in the athletic start of former Member of Parliament and Olympian Leslie Miller at Eastern Junior School.
Numerous world class athletes can trace their humble beginnings to somebody in the school system that recognized their talent and encouraged them to pursue sports further.
Bahamas Association of Certified Officials (BACO)
Andrea Lockhart became a member of the Bahamas Association of Athletic Officials (BACO) of which Deacon Leviticus Adderley was a driving force. This organization is now headed by Ralf McKinney and assists numerous groups in staging road races throughout The Bahamas, in addition to their regular obligation of officiating at all Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations events as well as numerous other organization's events.
The Club System
There are the numerous clubs throughout the country through which athletes are guided and hone their competitive skills. No athletes who won medals for The Bahamas this year, or any previous year, could do it without the guidance of somebody in a school or club.
In the early years of track and field clubs like St. Bernards, The Southerners, St. George's followed by the Pioneers' Sporting Club, The Ambassadors, and The Bain Town Flyers, to name only a few, made a significant impact on the sporting and cultural life of The Bahamas. Some of the coaches like Henry Crawford, Charlie Wright, and D'ynza Burrows were legendary and contributed to the development of numerous national and international level athletes.
Volunteerism was the 'name of the game' with them. Fast forward to today where there are about 20 track and field clubs in The Bahamas which monitor the progress of our upcoming athletes. Many of them hold their own track and field meets which are heavily subscribed by athletes. Each of these clubs have numerous volunteers who give of their time, and occasionally resources, to ensure the success of the athletes.
Parents are a significant factor in the success of numerous athletes and clubs. Sometimes they act as just transportation to practice and sometimes they are a significant part of the clubs, whether they are coaches or part of the organizational structure. There are numerous parents throughout The Commonwealth of The Bahamas who give yeoman service to the sport.
The Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA)
This is the organization given the mandate by the international body, the International Association of Athletic Federations (IAAF), to develop and promote Road Running, Cross Country, Mountain Running, and track and field throughout The Bahamas. The BAAA will celebrate its' 60th anniversary on May 6, 2012. The organization's initial membership included president Alfred Francis Adderley, Cyril Richardson, Joseph Garfunkle, Edward Mitchell, Reginald Farrington, Fred Moultrie, Reginald Robertson, Kendal Isaacs, Cecil V. Bethel, Gerald Cash, Randol Fawkes, and Orville Turnquest.
The presidents who succeeded Adderley were Cyril Richardson, Harold Munnings, Paul Adderley, Levi Gibson, Sir Arlington Butler, Reverend Enoch Backford, Winston Cooper, Dr. Bernard Nottage, Alpheus Finlayson, Foster Dorsett, Desmond Bannister, Mike Sands and Curt Hollingsworth (Interim).
From its inception, the organization has been defined by volunteers who have worked untiringly to make it one of the premier sports federations in the country and in the region. As the BAAA moves into its' 60th anniversary and London Olympics year, it is imperative that more volunteers, in addition to the elected members are needed to fulfill its mandate. The volunteers can be to the local clubs or the BAAA.
We have members of BACO who have officiated in regional and area competitions and look forward to an increase in the number of members of BACO and hope that one day soon, one of its members will soon qualify to officiate in the World Championships and Olympic Games. Funding is a critical area so persons who adept at those skills are in high demand. Then there are those who are adept at organization. They are needed in every organization.
The BAAA has had athletes win Olympic and World Championships gold medals and coaches who coached at the highest levels. We have had two Bahamians, Alpheus Finlayson and Pauline Davis-Thompson, who have been elected to the Council of the IAAF, the world's governing body of track and field. In the process, the organization has been influential in the lives of many young persons, in and outside the inner city, who would have been left by the wayside and may have pursued a life of crime otherwise.
Next year will be a significant year for Bahamian track and field. Volunteers are definitely needed for the organization to do what we all know is possible. If you have some extra time or are looking forward to a rewarding experience, please call the BAAA office at 325 4433 or e-mail us at email@example.com.
By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
WITH the Bahamas rising to another level with Freedom Farm winning the Cal Ripkin/Babe Ruth Little League title last year, the Bahamas Baseball Federation has been granted the sanction to host the XII LLB Junior Regional Tournament.
With Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham as the patron, the 13-14 age group tournament is slated to be held at the Abaco Central and Cooper's Town Fields in Abaco July 15-24.
Grand Bahamian Edward 'Eddie' Claude, district representative/director of the Little League Baseball Bahamas District One and fourth vice president of the federation, returned from the annual general meeting in Santo ...