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It was indeed a 'family affair' in Marathon Bahamas this Sunday, as the two overall titles from the running of the fifth annual event were captured by the husband and wife team of Justin and Melissa Gillette.
The dynamic duo were just one of many families that completed in the 26.2-mile course, which took runners on a picturesque route on the northern tip of New Providence. Justin won the men's overall title in 2:36.57 and Melissa took the female title in 3:04.01.
"It felt good to win," said men's winner Justin Gillette. "It was definitely a shock to my system, to go from eight
degrees (weather), and here we were running in about 65 or 70. Everybody here on the island was just so excited. It didn't matter what country you were from, they were cheering real loud so it was pretty fun to be a part of this and to win. I've never been to The Bahamas before, so I just thought it was a unique idea. It is winter time back home so the idea of going to an island in the middle of winter is always appealing. We brought the whole family down, my kids, my wife and my in-laws. We just made a nice little vacation out of it. It is nice to have matching awards in the house, it makes the trip feel a whole lot better."
While Justin said the wind was a bit of a problem for him around mile 16 or 17, Melissa said the wind actually helped to cool her down. She also said seeing her husband out front, made her push even harder.
She said: "I think it was a little different experience for me. The beginning was rough for me. I had to get adjusted to the temperature. For me, the wind actually helped to cool me down so I ran about four seconds faster in the second half, than what I ran the first half. I got into a rhythm later on."
The top masters male division was won by Bahamian Keithrell Hanna and visitor Michelle Walker took the top masters female spot. Hanna's time was 2:49.25 and Walker finished in 3:41.26. Hanna was the first Bahamian to cross the finish line. The Freeport, Grand Bahama native said: "It feels great and I give God thanks for the victory. I have been running for 30-plus years, from I was a little child.
"This is the my third marathon. I am getting ready for the Boston Marathon, I was just preparing myself and using this for bigger events. In Freeport, I run 15-20 miles every Saturday and Sunday, running the sand and on the grass."
A number of groups and organizations also competed in the annual event. One group in particular, the Kids of Courage, an organization based in New York, had more than 50 participants. The race, for one of their members Merra Herman, was special in more ways than one. Herman said: "Kids of Courage is fairly new to me, but it has been amazing. I used to do a lot of things, like getting myself up and keeping myself up emotionally. Sometimes I used to sit in class and I couldn't move my legs because I couldn't feel them. I used to be in tremendous pain. I used to say I don't know how I was going to get up, but now, whenever that happens, all I do is think about my wonderful counsellors, the wonderful staff and friends at Kids of Courage. It is just amazing because I never had that before. It also brought me and my family closer. My brother, he pushed me pretty much the whole way, and I don't think many siblings would have done that."
The top relay team in the male division was Pharmachem Technologies which posted a time of 3:23.27 for the win. Following them in a time of 4:00.27 was Iberolam. Strombus was third in 4:03.48. The Hillview Pathfinders clocked 4:11.46 for fourth and Deloitte As One came in fifth in 4:16.58. The Smoking Hot Mamas was the top female relay team, stopping the clock at 3:56.59. The Long Island Gals came in second and the Desperate Housewives team finished third in times of 3:59.34 and 4:11.26 respectively.
Winning the men's half marathon was Jonathan Volpi, in 1:11.27, and Angela Cobb took the women's half marathon in 1:26.23.
Mr. Althorne Brett "Tootes" Toote Sr. age 32 years of Crawford Street, Oakes Field and formerly of Freeport, Grand Bahama will be held on Saturday, June 11, 2011 at 11am at Faith Temple Ministries International, Prince Charles Drive. Bishop Philemon R. Wilson, assisted by Rev. Carlos Thompson will officiate and burial will be in Lakeview Memorial Gardens and Mausoleums, John F. Kennedy Drive and Gladstone Road.
The Radiance of this "Topaz of A Gem" will always glow in the hearts of his: One Son: Althorne Toote Jr.; Three Daughters: Mylan Dean, Jasmine Cleare and Serenity Trembley; Mother: Loretta Marie Simms; Father: Brett Orville Toote; Step Father: Basil Simms; Step Mother: Sandra Toote; Two Brothers: Jonathan and Aaron Toote; One Adopted Brother: Darren Knowles; One Grandmother: Barbara Toote; Step Brothers and Sisters: Dexter McIntrye, Shindo, Shantell and Sherese Simms, Tanya Henfield and Shikera Knowles; Three Nieces: A'nya and Gabriella Toote and Devonya Knowles; Ten Uncles: Mark, Art, Stephen, Patrick and Al Francis, Hartley Wilkinson, Churton, Vaughn "Ricardo" Sr., Keith and Mario Toote; Twelve Aunts: Sabrina, Esther and Shorlette Francis, Theresa Burrows, Pamela Thompson, Marilyn, Sonja, Jacqueline, Deloris, Dersiree, Neisha and Edith Toote; Granduncles: Seron Adams of Nassau Bahamas and Kermit Bowe of New York; Grandaunts: Andrea McDonald of Miami, Florida, Marie Sealy of Freeport, Grand Bahama, Ruth Adams Edgecombe, Isa Strachan and Veronica Adams of Nassau, Bahamas and Nadine Lewis of Ohio; Numerous Cousins: D'Marco, Marcus, Tyler, Elan, Anson, Durana, Jem, Duran and Enriqua Francis, Georgette Robinson-Sands, Jacqueline Robinson, Nadia Rolle, India Wilson, Phillipa Armbrister, Jennika Lee, Shervonder Kemp, D'Angelo Bethel, Steven and Saasha Fountain, Tornesha, Stevana, Stephen Jr., and Tess Burrows, Adrian and Justin Carey, Harold and Betty Cash, Christen and Veron Charlton, Tinia Toote-Parker, Christopher and Kendra Toote-Cooper, Chana, Byron, Monique, Blain, Kenya, Sharon, Kevin, Keithra, Vaughnique, Javaughn, Vonrico, Vonya, Vaughn Jr. and Vaughnia Toote, Dominique and Denise Johnson, Chrislyn Dean, Trevor and Patricia Edgecome, Tia and Alexis Roberts, Merlin and Buttons Bowe, Devon and Carmen Strachan-Major, Mia, Anita and Len King, Calouise Williams, Donovan and Maria Laing, Maurice and Gayle McDonald, Raleigh Robinson and Joy Walker of Ohio, Joy Wilkinson-Moss, Chasserie, Mary Elizabeth and Churuse Sealy, Dion, Andrew, Davinia and Patria Thompson; God Sister: Nakesha Knowles-Kelly; Adopted Mothers: Rosemary Elvies, Margaret Gellineau, Dianna Simmons, Violet Patrick, Barbara Hanna, Arlene Sands and Pamela Sturrup; Adopted Sisters: Miriam Smith and Phillipa Brown; Other Loving Family and Friends Including: Bro. Clement Maycock, Sis. Patricia Ferguson, Bro. Emile Lesbot, Bro. Perry Decosta, Bro. Melvin Wallace, Tyrone Nabbie, Yvonne and Lester Flowers, Anise Bullard, Betty Henchell, Naomi Lubronson, Debbie Allen, Kristina Miller, Anjamarie Charles, Bro. Simms, Dr. Michael and Antonya Toote, Tamara Lockhart, Divinia Dean, Sivanna Cleare, Justina Trembley, Adrian Tinker, Ceri Howells, Kirk and Kyle Wilson, Terrell Culmer, Roy Minnis, Mark Davis, Ted Kay, John Carey, Eugia Edwards of Florida, Mark Dillard, Marshall Neymour, Gravin "Lukkie" Woodside, Changamarie (Co) Carey, Justin Sands, Nakiel Russell, Ezra Rolle, Jay, Shantanica Cooper, Percel Sturrup, Tara Clare and their families; The Edwards, Lockharts, Francis, Toote, Simms, Turnquests, Smiths, Burrows, Bethels, Lightbournes, Newbolds, Laings, Stubbs, Jones and Youngs Families.
Special Thanks To: Hon. Leslie O. Miller, Michael Fernandez, Maudline Hanna, Claudette Gibson, Eric Messmer, Shornette Smith, Lina Camacho, Princess Pinnock, Christine Russell, The Crawford Street Community, The Ringwood Drive Community, Freport Grand Bahama, Freeport Seventh Day Adventist Church, Family Guardian Freeport, Grand Bahama, The Adelaide Seventh Day Adventist Church.
Visitation will be in the "Emerald Suite" Emerald Ridge Mortuary & Monument Company Ltd. #20 Claridge Road on Friday, June 10, 2011 from 1pm to 6pm there will be no viewing at the church.
In lieu of flowers donations may be sent to Althorne Brett Toote Sr. children's educational fund at any Royal Bank of Canada Branch Account number 7516024.
BY DENISE MAYCOCK
Tribune Freeport Reporter
FREEPORT - The murder trial of Coletor Johnson and Glinton Louis opened in the Supreme Court yesterday with testimony from eye-witnesses who recalled how 23-year-old Markinson Justin was struck by a car that left the scene.
The matter being heard before Senior Justice Hartman Longley.
Johnson, 23, and Glinton, 32, are accused of being concerned together and intentionally causing the death of Justin at Explorer's Way on July 12, 2011.
It is alleged that some time after 8am, the accused were in a gold 2000 Buick Century that struck and killed the victim, who was walking.
According to the prosecution, Justin ...
Funeral service for Jehu Timothee, 29 yrs., a resident of Sumner Street, Nassau Village & formerly of St. Louis Du Nord, Haiti, who died on 12th April, 2012, will be held at Solid Baptist Church, Kool Air Subdivision off Fox Hill Road, on Saturday at 11:00 a.m. Officiating will be Pastor Paul Justin, assisted by Bro. Rivet Petit DOS. Interment follows in Southern Cemetery, Cowpen & Spikenard Roads.Left to cherish his memories are his Parents: Belizaire & Marie Timothee; Sisters: Gladys & Esther Timothee;Brothers: Nehu, Moise & Baby Timothee; Foster Parents: John & Deborah Deleveaux; Special Friends: Yudi Thomas; Employers: Toby Austin & Deidre Fernander; Grandmother: Decius Timothee; Aunts: Cizelia, Marina, Altagrace & Charitable Timothee; Cousins: Rev. Paul Justin, Anthony, Renaud, Philony, Leonie, Leon, Maxene & Vilner Timothee, Lemoine, Jonas & Yvronie Justin, Herold & Evins Lubin; Numerous other relatives & friends including: Exmini & Renea Benoit.Friends may pay their last respects at Demeritte's Funeral Home, Market Street, from 10-6:00 p.m. on Friday & on Saturday at the church from 10:00 a.m. until service time.
In 2013, although faced with a complicated domestic and international situation, the CPC (Communist Party of China) Central Committee and the State Council led the people of all nationalities of China in thoroughly implementing the spirit of the 18th Party Congress, upheld the general ethos of "moving forward while maintaining stability", and adhered to the guideline that "the macro policy should be stable, micro policy flexible and social policy should support the bottom line", while maintaining steady growth, adjusting economic structures and forging ahead with reform, all while actively making innovations to the means of macro control. As a result, national economic and social development saw stabilized and accelerated growth and achieved a good start.
Economic performance fulfilled its target in 2013
The economy as a whole was stable and experienced comparatively fast growth in 2013. GDP for the year reached 56.88 trillion yuan (1 USD = 6.1 yuan), an increase of 7.7 percent over the previous year and in full accord with the targeted figure. China's government revenue increased by 10.1 percent to 12.91 trillion yuan and the deficit was 1.2 trillion yuan. Profits from industrial enterprises totaled 6.28 trillion yuan. It is gratifying that domestic demand continued to be the main driving force of growth. Retail sales of consumer goods totaled 23.78 trillion yuan, an increase of 13.1 percent. A number of new forms and areas of consumption were very vigorous, and the value of e-commerce transactions exceeded 10 trillion yuan, an increase of 19.3 percent. The contribution of domestic demand to economic growth reached 104.4 percent.
Meanwhile, overall price levels were basically stable. Consumer prices for the year rose 2.6 percent, within the targeted range. The work of purchasing, storing and releasing important commodities and of adjusting their imports and exports proceeded in good order.
Progress was made in structural adjustment and economic transformation
China has experienced three decades of super-fast growth at the expense of cheap costs. Now, we face more restrictions from limited natural resources and an ageing society. Domestic consumption should be the new growth engine. In 2013, the Chinese government comprehensively advanced economic structural reform and created sound systems and mechanisms for maintaining stable growth and carrying out structural adjustments.
China's economic adjustments have shown marked progress. Industrial structural adjustment proceeded steadily. Significant achievements were made in technological innovations and fostering emerging industries. The integration of urban and rural development proceeded in an orderly fashion. Development in multiple regions became better balanced. Efforts were accelerated to conserve energy, reduce emissions and protect the environment. According to statistics, the proportion of the manufacturing industry to GDP dropped for the first time. The growth rate in the less developed central and western parts of the country was much higher than in the richer eastern region in 2013, signaling more balanced development across the board.
An array of measures have successfully helped to transform the economy, such as using value-added tax to replace turnover tax and setting up the pilot Shanghai Free Trade Zone. China's fast development has proved the doomsayers wrong.
Meanwhile, China is putting forth efforts to use innovation to support and lead economic structural improvements and upgrades. Innovation is the motive force for adjusting and upgrading the economic structure. The government aims to make innovation the core of China's development endeavors, promote the full integration of science and technology with economic and social development, and elevate China's industries to a high level in the global value chain.
Deepening reform is the top priority for the Chinese government
The Chinese government has determined that the process of comprehensively deepening reform will be completed in seven years, and 2014 marks the first year. Reform is the primary theme of the government's agenda this year, with economic reform in particular being the paramount task. The direction of many reforms has been made clear and the measures have been readied for implementation. They can be divided into three categories. Those pertaining to the economy include streamlining administration and delegating power to lower levels, tax reform, financial reform and accelerating economic transformation. Those relating to social development and management include advancing urbanization, improving people's well-being and reforming the household registration system. Finally, reform in ecological progress comprises measures to advance the transformation of energy production and consumption.
China's reform used to be led by the government, but future reform will be a revolution imposed by the government on itself. This will be a painful process, which will call for not only great determination, but also great political wisdom. This year's reform measures are aimed at ensuring stable economic growth and avoiding unnecessary risks. Therefore, they must facilitate economic growth.
China's measures of comprehensive reform are also good news for the world economy. Because the fortunes of the Chinese economy are so incredibly linked with those of the global economy, sound economic and social development in China will bring opportunities to the wider world.
o Yuan Guisen is the ambassador of the People's Republic of China to The Bahamas.
BAHAMIANS AT PLANTATION
* MARVIN Rolle and Justin Lunn played over the weekend in the first Futures Tennis Tournament for the year in Plantation, Florida.
Rolle lost in the first round to Alexandru Gozun from the United States, 3-6, 6-4, 6-3.
However, Lunn advanced to the second round where he was eliminated, 6-2, 6-0, by Justin Shane from the United States. Lunn won his first round match, 4-6, 6-3, 6-3, over Marlon Korbut from the United States.
Both Rolle and Lunn will play in the F2 Futures this week in Sunrise, Florida.
TOUR OF THE BAHAMAS
* ONCE again the organizers of the Tour of the Bahamas, scheduled for the weekend of January 27-29, have invite ...
Congratulations goes out to Justin Snisky
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It's no easy feat to break through in the world of modeling especially going up against the thousands of beautiful young women who also believe they have the "it factor". Having someone with the experience guide you through the twists and turns that come with that world can make the journey a tad less difficult. With this in mind, Bahamian model Kamela Forbes returned home to share her knowledge, experience and adventures she's had over the years with young Bahamians with aspirations of breaking into the professional world of modeling.
"I know the errors I made in getting myself out there and what I went through personally to get to the level I am at now in my career," said Forbes. "And I want to help other young people get off to a smoother start because what I went through was great as a learning experience but a lot of it I could have avoided had I just known certain things. So, now that I am at a place where I have experienced a lot and I'm comfortable where I am I wanted to share what I know with up and coming models. There is so much potential here in The Bahamas and many of the young ladies just need little advice to get them on the right track."
The five-foot, 10-inch stunner told the 40-plus young models that showed up at the workshop held at the Yodephy Dance and Modeling Studio of the importance of finding the right agent and getting settled before making the leap to move to fashion capitals like New York.
She said she jumped headfirst into her career which has taken her all over the world, from Africa and Europe to the Caribbean, and it was an exhilarating experience, but she said it was one that came with many pitfalls.
"When I got started I wasted a lot of time making wrong turns not knowing what to do and not to do. I spent a lot of time trying to find an agent and made decisions that were not always in my favor at the end of the day."
Do not waste time
She staged the workshop to speak with the young ladies so that they could get on the ball faster than she did and not waste time. She spoke to the participants about how to go about finding an agent, and going to open calls at agencies or submitting pictures online. And she told them it's a myth that money needs to be spent to get into the industry.
Forbes told the young women that it's as easy as going to agencies and showcasing themselves.
But she said they have to prepare themselves for a long period of rejections. She said many agencies will turn them down and maybe not even bother to see what they're about. She told them to be prepared for agency representatives who won't even take the time to explain to them why they rejected them, unless they are one of the lucky few who get snatched up right away.
She also warned the young women to always do their research of agencies, policies and to carefully review any contracts, even if they find an agent.
And she warned them that although it will be exciting when a door opened, she told them it was important not to say yes without knowing what they are getting themselves into.
Forbes, who has done print work for Tiffany & Co., Target, Macy's, Motorola, and donned the high fashions of designers like J. Mendel and Marc Jacobs, told the young women that no matter what happens, whether things are going well or not so good, that it is necessary to have high self-esteem, thick skin and the ability to move on to another option or keep on improving their portfolio and retrying.
"The modeling game is one that depends on persistence and consistency. And breaking down or giving up after the first few slammed doors is not going to make the journey any easier," she said.
The portfolio and composite card
Putting together a good portfolio and making appropriate composite (comp) photo cards she told them are essential for aspiring models. And she said despite popular belief, a good beginner's portfolio does not need to have lots of photos nor is it required that a lot of money be put into developing one. She said since a model never knows what an agency is looking for, a few simple shots are usually good enough. The portfolio should include a headshot, a full body picture, a bathing suit shot and casual wear at least. And if they have an editorial shot, or pictures from a show or modeling experience, she said it would be a good addition as well.
"You don't want to be spending a lot of money on photos that agencies may not even like. You don't want to bottle yourself or turn their mind to viewing you in only one specific way. Let them imagine you as more and just show that you are fresh and young in the shots you do include in your portfolio. Comp cards are also important to have with you and to give out. These cards are a collage of a few of your photos from your portfolio. They will be what the agents or clients may have as a first and last impression of you. You want to be memorable so you should put a little effort into this," she said.
According to Forbes a good signature walk is another high point young models need to focus on. She said it is essential for models with runway potential and even those who aren't going in that direction. She said a good walk may catch the eye of a client or agent and get them in the door. Forbes demonstrated walking to the girls, and evaluated their walks.
She also spoke to the girls about being open-mined to the different kinds of modeling. She said that too many models only think runway, when they should be open to try their hand at editorial, showroom, informal, parts modeling, full-figured modeling, commercial and commercial print. As long as a job does not go against their belief system she encouraged them to try things.
Forbes also told the young women that maintaining their standards was also just as important. She told them that they do not have to lower their standards just for a job, because they will have to live with their decisions.
"If exposing your body is not something your religious or personal beliefs condone then of course nude modeling or certain runway jobs are not for you. In fact there is a recent story about a [lingerie model] turning down her contract because of her beliefs. So, I would say not to just say yes for the money and then feel bad about what you did."
Maintain your standards
The young ladies were told that even though the field is about going beyond their comfort zone, they should still have standards.
Forbes encouraged them to take care of themselves to remain as youthful and healthy for as long as possible. And that they should eat well, get into a good exercise regimen and make good choices about their social life. Forbes said she does not advocate starving oneself or adjusting one's life so dramatically that it becomes unhealthy, but rather living the life of a model in a healthy way.
"Although it is hard to get into the industry and be successful internationally, the benefits are endless. No two days are the same for me. There is traveling, meeting people and experiencing new cultures everywhere. Once you are in the field and have an agent who will work to get you jobs consistently, after a while you build up clout and a good portfolio so you can say which jobs you would prefer over others."
She reminisced about her early days in the business doing small runway jobs that did not actually pay financially. She said she got clothes instead, which was nice, but did not pay the bills. As an established model, she said she was able to demand jobs that paid -- whether it was a magazine spread, cover or billboard.
"When you get to that level, that's when this field gets even more rewarding," she said.
Forbes told the aspiring models to begin their research in the field, and get themselves prepared to take off as soon as possible. Preparation she said was better than moving to the United States and just hoping for luck without a real plan like she did. She said sometimes it does work out with persistence and hard work but other times it can feel like a wasted effort.
To keep up with Kamela Forbes, follow her on twitter.com/@kamelaforbes or visit her online at facebook.com/kamelaforbes.
Born and raised on New Providence, Kamela Forbes attended Yodephy Modeling and Dance Academy at a young age, where she received her basic training in runway, poise and etiquette. She attended St. Anne's High School. Upon completion of high school, Kamela went on to attend The College of The Bahamas on a full scholarship, where she received her associates degree in accounting, and then continued her studies at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she obtained her bachelor's degree in business administration.
Upon graduation, she was courted by the Ebony Fashion Fair travelling runway show. With her degree under her belt, Kamela headed to Chicago and in 2001 accepted a job to tour with the company. For the next nine months, Kamela participated in 189 runway shows across America, Canada, and The Bahamas. After the tour, Kamela moved to Los Angeles to further her career in modeling. She landed numerous coveted nationwide campaigns and her image has appeared in ads for Motorola, Mitsubishi, Sirius Radio Network, NYX Cosmetics and Wella Hair Care Products. She has also been featured in music videos alongside Grammy-winning recording artists Babyface, Justin Timberlake and Jay-Z, and has made television appearances on the hit show "Entourage", "8 Simple Rules" and in the movie "Maid in Manhattan" starring Jennifer Lopez.
Kamela signed contracts with famed designers such as Marc Jacobs, Kaufman Franco, Sue Wong, J. Mendel and Chado Ralph Rucci. She has also been featured in ads for fashion house Lafayette 148 and Wamsutta linens as well as magazines such as Essence, Ebony, Cosmopolitan, and Vanity Fair. She has shot numerous editorial spreads for magazines such as Cosmopolitan, O (Oprah), and Real Simple. She has graced the cover of Africa's Fashion Week magazine and walked the runway for many of South Africa's top designers.
In 2012, Kamela landed the coveted contract as the face of Tiffany & Co., Rubedo Collection and Target.
Under the current administration of the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA), the junior program is as vibrant as it has ever been, the seniors are continuing to be afforded with opportunities to compete against the world's best, and more and more student athletes are benefiting from scholarships to attend universities abroad. However, here at home, an ongoing problem continues to rear its ugly head.
During the recent election of officers, it was speculated that animosity between New Providence and Grand Bahamian officials led to the eventual defeat of presidential candidate Curt Hollingsworth. The apparent issue came to light again, with the suspension of a couple Grand Bahamian coaches and schools from BAAA activities following infractions at the 2010 Penn Relays. Now, with BAAA officials requesting verifiable data from a recent Grand Bahamian meet in order to honor results, certain track enthusiasts are crying foul play once again.
There were apparently four qualifiers for the International Association of Athletic Federations' (IAAF) World Youth Championships, from the Daisy McPhee Invitational in Freeport, Grand Bahama, at the end of last month, and an additional athlete who apparently set a new junior national record. However, BAAA officials are questioning the authenticity of the results based on a number of discrepancies. They are asking for photo finishes and full automated results with little or no discrepancies, which according to a few local coaches and parents, are more than what is normally required, especially from New Providence based meets.
"I just want my meet to be treated to the same standard of every other meet held in this country," said meet organizer Dwayne Jennings, coach of the Grand Bahamian based Golden Eagles Track Club which hosted the meet. "I don't know of any other of meet where this kind of data is asked for by the BAAA to the extent it was asked for from my meet. I don't believe that an opportunity should be taken away from any deserving Bahamian athlete that meets international standards. Here, we had some kids meeting the standards and their results are being questioned," he added.
In addition to the Grand Bahamian kids, about 100 youngsters from New Providence took part in the meet hoping to attain qualifying marks for the World Youth Championships. The final trials for that world level event and the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Age Group Championships, were held this past weekend at the Thomas A. Robinson Track and Field Stadium.
Lyndale Lewis, mother of young talented hurdler Kirk Lewis, said that her son has done everything that is required of him to qualify for the World Youth Championships, but to date, his performances are still being questioned by the BAAA. Kirk Lewis was one of those four apparent qualifiers for the World Youth Championships in Freeport, running 13.90 seconds in the 110-meter (m) hurdles.
"Here we have some of our athletes trying to get these last opportunities to attain the qualifying marks for the World Youth Championships and the BAAA is making it extremely difficult on them," said Kirk's mother Lyndale. "These kids are making the IAAF times but the BAAA times are much more difficult to make. For instance, the IAAF standard for the World Youth Championships in the hurdles is 14.45 seconds and the BAAA standard is 13.90 seconds. My son still achieved that in Freeport, but now they are being told that the results from the Freeport meet are not consistent. That is ridiculous! The IAAF standards are set to give fair competition to athletes all over the world, and here they are adjusting them. I don't think that's fair to our athletes. We feel that the BAAA is not supporting our kids," she added.
The BAAA has taken the liberty to adjust a number of standards for the World Youth Championships, but in their defense, those standards were set in place from the beginning of the track season, and their ability to adjust them for the betterment of Bahamian athletics is totally within the realm of the full scope of their authority. BAAA President Mike Sands reserved comment on the matter until hearing all the complaints, but he did mention that whatever is done by his organization in respect of adjusting standards is done in the best interest of Bahamian athletics.
"If you have an athlete that is finishing seventh or eighth in the region, even though that athlete is running the time that is set in place by the IAAF, you really have to ask yourself, do you really take that person just to give them a trip or do you go with a view that our athletes need to prove themselves against the world? If a situation is like that and we have the authority by the IAAF to adjust the standards to suit our environment, then we have to exercise that right," said Sands briefly.
However, Jennings and others feel differently.
"I believe that international standards set by the IAAF should not be tampered with by any federation," said Jennings. "These standards are adjusted by the BAAA for junior athletes so our athletes are at a disadvantage to other athletes from other countries, but there are no adjustments on the senior level for any international meet," he added.
It seems like a certain number of Grand Bahamian track enthusiasts, on the whole, feel that their programs and even some of their athletes are constantly being neglected and overlooked by the BAAA. New Providence based coach Shaun Miller of Bahamas Speed Dynamics, and father of World Junior Champion Shaunae Miller, has some concerns as well. Shaunae Miller was the athlete who reportedly set the new junior national record in Freeport, running 52.40 seconds at the Daisy McPhee Invitational.
"To me, it sounds like Nassau and Freeport still have something personal going on against each other but they need to communicate and sort it out quickly because it is hurting our athletes," said Shaun Miller, nephew of former Bahamian quarter-miler and politician Leslie Miller. "The thing is, if they don't have communication then how are we going to get to the bottom of it. At this point, I am trying to keep these kids' morale up. I'm just letting them know to continue training and let the parents and the coaches sort this out. I've heard about this type of thing happening in the past, but this is the first time that I am experiencing it. I feel that if a meet is sanctioned by the BAAA, the BAAA should ensure that everything is in place."
Miller took over the head coaching duties for the Bahamas Speed Dynamics this year, filling in for George Cleare who left to take up a coaching spot with the University of Georgia Bulldogs. The four athletes who apparently ran World Youth Championships qualifying times in Freeport, were all from his club.
"We had inquired from the BAAA to make sure it was sanctioned and that BACO officials (Bahamas Association of Certified Officials) were there so that these kids' times and distances could be recognized," said Miller. "It was really our second to last chance of qualifying for the World Youth. We trained very hard, and at the end of the day, four kids qualified for the World Youth Championships.
"We were very excited but when we got back in, we heard that they are not honoring the times or that they are investigating this and that. Now, there was inclement weather that delayed the meet but all-in-all, it was a pretty good meet, so, to find out that these kids went out there and did what was required of them and to now have a lot of questions surrounding their performances... it's just heart-breaking."
Speaking from a parent's point of view, Lyndale Lewis said that she too and many other parents are also heart-broken, given the number of hours that their kids put in, in training for the Grand Bahamian meet.
"The track in Freeport is a Mondo track. It is IAAF certified so I don't understand why they would question the results," she said. "These kids weren't significantly better than what they have been in the past. They ran very good times but those times are not that far off from what they have done in the past. Freeport is always complaining that the BAAA is always questioning the results that are achieved there and here we have that same situation again," she added.
As far as the adjusted qualifying standards for the World Youth Championships are concerned, Miller said that he has always challenged the BAAA on the matter but is never given a satisfactory response.
"If the IAAF set times they know why they set them and we need to abide by those times," he said. "The IAAF is the world's governing body for track and field. If they set these standards, we need to leave them as is and see if we can get as much of our athletes to qualify as possible," he added.
The CAC Age Group Championships is set for July 1-3 in Tortola, British Virgin Islands, and the IAAF World Youth Championships are scheduled to be held July 6-10 in Lille, France.
Funeral Service for MRS. SUSAN BEATRICE RUSSELL, 80, of Hope Town, Abaco will be held on Saturday, September 18, 2010 at 11:00 a.m. at St. James Methodist Church, Hope Town, Abaco. Officiating will be Vernon Malone, JP, Rev. Marie Neilly and Pastor Savage. Interment will follow in the Upper Cemetery, Hope Town, Abaco.
She was predeceased by her husband: Sherlock Russell, daughter: Joan, son: Duncan and great grandson: Bennett.
Left to cherish her memories are her daughters: Olga, Linda, Karen and Ruth; sons: Peter and Glen; granddaughters: Nancy, Yvette, Sharmon, Maryann and Carmella; grandsons: Justin, Andrew, William and Dean; great granddaughters: Angelia, Kaylyn, Paige, Aisha, Dana, Justine, ...