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The Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA) has covered six decades and is moving steadily through another. The organization was born as the Bahamas Amateur Athletic Association in 1952. From a humble beginning with the first medals, regional ones, coming not until the 1957 West Indies Federation Games, the BAAA grew to world prominence.
Gold medals have been won at all levels of regional and international events, in abundance. With the BAAA scheduling a 60th anniversary affair at the Thomas Augustus Robinson National Stadium for Sunday, May 27, winning medals against the best the world has to offer has become a certainty.
It is a powerful statement The Bahamas, through the BAAA, has made to the world. While great nations such as India, Chile, Ecuador, South Africa, Venezuela, Egypt, Israel, Colombia, Chinese Taipei and many others much larger than The Bahamas, struggle mightily to get into the medal mix, we consistently put athletes on podiums no matter how grand the stage.
Without a doubt, the BAAA has been and remains one of the great sports pillars in the country. Sailing blazed the trail with Sir Durward Knowles winning the 1947 Star Class World Championship (with Sloane Farrington as crew); the first Bahamian Olympic medal (a bronze in 1956, again with Farrington as crew), and the first Olympic gold medal (1964 with Cecil Cooke as crew).
Bobby Symonette bested the world in the 5.5 Metre Series and Ocean Racing; and Pierre Siegenthaler and Donnie Martinborough have been superb in winning World Sunfish Sailing titles. Others such as Winifred Sands, Kenneth Albury, the Kelly brothers (Godfrey, Basil and David), Foster Clarke and Roy Ramsay have been outstanding in regional competition.
Yes, much to be proud of was produced by our sailing ambassadors. The BAAA has been constant. From 1992 to the present, athletes from the BAAA have collected Olympic medals for The Bahamas. It's really an incredible record of consistency the BAAA has had. We expect so much, because of having been blessed so abundantly in sports. When you compare The Bahamas to the nations aforementioned however, we might be considered a country that continues to over-achieve.
Much is owed to the BAAA. Robinson was on that national team at the 1957 West Indies Federation Games. He won a bronze medal in the 100 while teaming up with Oscar Francis, Enoch Backford and Tom Grant to win the sprint relay bronze. That was the start for the BAAA. Robinson became a regional legend in track and field and was the first Bahamian from the sport to reach a final at the Olympics (1964 in Tokyo, Japan).
Frank Rutherford was the pioneer Olympic medal winner in track and field due to his triple jump bronze medal in 1992 at the Barcelona Games. The original Golden Girls (Pauline Davis, Chandra Sturrup, Eldece Clarke, Savatheda Fynes and Debbie Ferguson) won a silver medal in the sprint relay at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games and the gold four years later in Sydney, Australia. Davis won the 200 meters gold in Sydney.
In Athens, Greece, in 2004, Tonique Williams-Darling was the 400 meters gold medal winner and Ferguson won a 200 meters bronze. In 2008, in Beijing, the 1,600 men's relay team won a silver medal and Leevan Sands duplicated Rutherford's feat with a triple jump bronze. Troy Kemp, the original Golden Girls, Ferguson, quarter-miler Avard Moncur, Williams-Darling, and high jumper Donald Thomas won world championships. The BAAA has paraded out scores of junior regional and world champions.
Quite frankly, today around the world when The Bahamas is mentioned, most would say they know that "the country is very good in track and field". Without a doubt, the BAAA and the sport it governs are more synonymous with our country than anything else. That's the true measure of the organization.
Robinson these days just smiles at the knowledge "of us coming so very far".
"To me the years seem to have flown by. I have to pinch myself sometimes. Fifty-five years have gone by since we got the medals in Jamaica at the West Indies Federation Games. When you really think of all that we've accomplish and you put us next to a good number of the largest countries in the world, you know, we've done well," said Robinson.
Indeed, and, it was 54 years ago that he sent that big message to the world that The Bahamas produced top track and field talent. He won the 220-yards dash and finished second in the 100 yards at the Commonwealth Games that year in Cardiff, Wales. The BAAA has grown in leaps and bounds over 60 years. President Mike Sands and his colleagues are to be congratulated on behalf of what they have done to craft the legacy. I salute also the administrations before his.
It's been a great run for the BAAA family! Celebrate the milestone with them on May 27!
(To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at email@example.com)
There is a long list of speed merchants of Bahamian baseball. In the early decades, players like Tyrone McGregor, Lou Adderley and Basil 'Slick' Burrows set the pace on the base paths during Bahamas Baseball Association (BBA) games.
The 1970s however produced a special set of artists, skilled in getting from first to second, to third and home plate very quickly. It was a fearless lot, those speedsters trotted out by the top teams. Roosevelt 'Bruso' Turner of Del Jane (the organization known at times also as St. Pauli Girls Barons and Holsten Knights) was arguably the best. Turner also played for Beck's Beer.
He won the league scoring titles from 1972 to 1978 with the exception of the one year, 1977. In winning his six scoring titles, the first two for Beck's, Turner hit the 50 runs scored mark four times, his highest being 55 in 1975 for Del Jane. He had 50 in 1972 for Beck's, 53 in 1976 for Holsten Knights and 54 in 1978, also for Holsten.
However, his Holsten teammate Eddie Ford scored 58 in 1977. That mark is considered to be the all-time record. Jayson Moxey won the runs scored title in 1971 with 19 and Anthony Smith won in 1970 with 15. In the stolen bases department, Turner again separated himself from his peers. He won four stolen bases crowns (1972, 1973, 1974 and 1977). His 48 in 1972 is thought to be a record.
The 1970s also produced two pure speed specialists. The Schlitz Beer Franchise (also 100 Pipers and Bahamian Lumber) sort of took a page out of the book of Charlie Finley who owned the Oakland Athletics of the American League. Finley who was known for novelty tactics, once signed a track star named Herb Washington, just to steal bases. Washington never had an at-bat or played anywhere in the field. He was called into the game exclusively to pinch-run. Washington's career did not last too long because he had no baseball background.
During the 1974 and 1975 seasons, he stole 31 bases in 48 attempts and scored 33 times. He was never a big factor and Finley soon got tired of the exploration and let Washington go. Schlitz though, had Gordon Farrington and Anthony 'Skeebo' Roberts. They were different from Washington. Both Farrington and Roberts understood baseball.
Nevertheless, they were asked primarily to generate runs by stealing bases. It was an exciting time when they reached first base. Everybody in the park knew they were going to attempt a steal of second and if they got there, it was a try for third. They made for an added dimension of excitement to the 1970s.
Then of course, there were the regular starters around the league with speed, players like Jayson Moxey, Richard Lockhart, Eddie Ford, Lorenzo Lockhart, Ron Smith and Anthony Huyler. None of them were as successful however, as Turner. He was the biggest threat on base. Indeed, Roosevelt Turner was the speed king of Bahamian baseball in the 1970s. The statistics indicate as much.
Milestone statistics provided by Sports Historian Jeff Williams. To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
Taureano 'Reno' Johnson has picked up his seventh straight victory. But he had to go to the scoreboards for the second win Saturday in Hollywood, Florida.
Fighting on the undercard at the Westlin Diplomat Resort, Johnson won by decision over Brazil's Edvan Dos Santos Barros in identical scores of 60-54 on all three judges' cards for the triumph.
"I'm getting much more comfortable in the ring," said the 28-year-old Johnson, who is now under new management that has him fighting at least every two to three weeks.
"In fact, I'm there. I'm back to where I should be. I didn't come out with a k ...
This past week, the Junior Baseball League of Nassau (JBLN) hosted its yearly fundraiser.
The Field of Dreams Complex was packed with hundreds of supporters and sponsors as they hosted their annual fun day and cook-out. It was a beautiful day for the event that turned out to be a complete success for JBLN. Volunteers were present early in the morning and began to set up from 8 a.m., getting the grill going for fresh grilled steaks and barbecue chicken.
It all started at 12 noon and went until 6 p.m., serving over 2,000 people with dinners. Besides great dinners, there were also fun activities for the kids to take part in. A bouncing castle was donated to use for four hours and there was also a professional face painter for the young girls and boys.
There was exciting baseball action all day long that kept many people engaged. It really provided an opportunity to showcase the youth in the league and the progress and organizational skills at JBLN. Games were re-scheduled from Sunday to Saturday so that everyone would be able to see games at every level.
The JBLN consist of six different baseball divisions: T-Ball (5-6), Coach Pitch (7-8), Minor (9-10), Major (11-12), Junior (13-15) and Senior (16-25). This 2012 season, the league was able to add a high school girls softball division thanks to the assistance of Stephen 'Bishop' Beneby' and his wife Sherry. The Bahamas Waste Crushers took on the Snapple Snappers this past weekend, but the game wasn't completed due to darkness.
The featured game of the night was at 7 p.m. as the Seven Seas Oilers went head-to-head against the Sports Center Players. It turned out to be a back and forth game with many close calls and plays, but ended in a 10-10 tie.
Hundreds of people stayed to watch the softball game.
For those who have not been a part of the league and seen the finished product, Saturday was a prime example of the positive aspect that such an organization can bring to the Bahamian community. Keeping young people off the streets and involved in good programs, and building relationships with other players and coaches, is a major focal point of the league. At JBLN, youth is priority and that is shown day in and day out. The public is asked to come out and support the Junior Baseball League of Nassau (JBLN) as action continues this week. Action begins Wednesday, continues on Friday night and then through the weekend on Saturday beginning at 10 a.m., and on Sunday at 3 p.m.
With telecommunications giant BTC coming on board as the title sponsor, the Bahamas Swimming Federation (BSF) is now set to host what they hope will be one of the grandest CARIFTA Swimming Championships ever.
The 27th annual event is set for April 12-15 at the Betty Kelly Kenning National Swim Complex, with over 500 young swimmers from 22 countries participating. A 36-member Bahamian team is set to represent The Bahamas in six divisions over four days of competition. BSF President Algernon Cargill said that they are extremely grateful for the $40,000 contribution of platinum sponsor BTC, and look forward to an exciting meet where young Bahamians will be competing against the region's best.
"Without BTC and the support of the government, we would not have been able to host this meet," said Cargill. "BTC's title sponsorship enables the Bahamas Swimming Federation to provide an opportunity for young Bahamians to compete at home in front of their families and friends. We have to thank BTC for stepping up, particularly when so many doors were closed due to budget constraints and competition for sponsorship.
"BTC, together with the government of The Bahamas, are providing significant funding to the BSF to assist with the hosting of the CARIFTA Swimming Championships. BTC's mission statement includes their commitment to improve the quality of life for the people of The Bahamas and it boasts many programs, such as its 'Connection Program' that boldly demonstrates its commitment to its mission statement. The 36-member Bahamian CARIFTA swim team members are by extension proud ambassadors of BTC's commitment to improving the quality of life of Bahamians, and on behalf of the federation, I thank BTC."
Also coming on board for the championships as bronze partners of the federation are Morley Realty, Commonwealth Brewery, Asa H. Pritchard Ltd. and Bluebird Juice, and J.S. Johnson. Caribbean Bottling Company Ltd. and Coca-Cola are aqua sponsors.
"Corporate Bahamas, it's not too late," appealed Cargill yesterday. "Our committee has made a yeoman's effort to solicit your assistance in these difficult times and we ask you to emulate the contribution of our platinum sponsor, BTC, and other sponsors and contribute in some meaningful way to the community in which you do business. Our young people appreciate your contribution to their development."
As for the team itself, with the championships being held here at home, Cargill said that it was imperative that they select the strongest squad possible.
Arguably the best breast stroker in the region, Dustin Tynes, will be looking to sweep the breaststroke events just like he did in Barbados last year. Only, this time, the Grand Bahamian swimmer will be competing in the 15-17 division as opposed to the 13-14 age group. Other multi medalists, from a year ago, returning this year include Margaret Albury, Tremaine Allen, Simone Sturrup, Laura Morley, Bria Deveaux, Taryn Smith and Evante Gibson just to name a few. The talented 36-member squad is expected to be led by Deveaux on the female side, and Gibson on the male side. It is a true national team with members from New Providence and Grand Bahama, and for the first time ever, two from Abaco.
In addition to it being the top junior swim meet in the Caribbean, the 2012 CARIFTA Swimming Championships will also be a qualifier for this year's Olympic Games in London, England, where only two Bahamians have qualified thus far - Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace and Alana Dillette.
The Bahamas finished third at last year's CARIFTA Swimming Championships, and has consistently been in the top three over the past 10 years. The country last won the regional meet in 2003, when it was held in Jamaica.
The Bahamas will also be competing in water polo at the CARIFTA level this year, and according to Cargill, that team is also in need of corporate support. Those championships will be held April 6-9, in Kingston, Jamaica. The Head Coach of the swim team is Andy Knowles and the Head Coach of the water polo team is Laszlo Borbely.
BTC, which has supported sports in the country on numerous occasions in the past, continues to assist in national development in a most tangible way. The telecommunications company was also the title sponsor of the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations' (BAAA) Jr. and Sr. National Championships last year, and in addition to being the title sponsor of the CARIFTA Swimming Championships, the company is the official team sponsor for the swim squad as well.
"BTC is proud to support the Bahamas Swimming Federation and this select group of talented Bahamian swimmers as they represent their country on their home soil," said BTC Vice President of Brand and Communications, Marlon Johnson. "We are very excited to be a part of this historic event that will showcase the new athletic facilities of The Bahamas and the excellence for which the Bahamian team stands. When we at BTC provide funds for a worthwhile cause in the community, we do not consider it as a gift. We believe it is an investment in the future of The Bahamas, and perhaps nowhere is this more true than in sports."
Johnson said that their vast contribution to the CARIFTA swim squad stems beyond just being a good corporate citizen by giving back to the community.
"Sports teaches us so much," said Johnson yesterday. "It personifies and exemplifies that which is good in a society. To be good, we have to practice. To be great, we have to practice even when we do not feel like it. It teaches us discipline. It teaches us that hard work has its rewards, that dedication and devotion and sacrifice can make us winners. It teaches us teamwork and the need for respect for others whether competitors or teammates.
"In sports lies the lesson that no matter how good we are at what we do, we do not perform in a vacuum but in concert with our teammates or competition against others who are also striving to be the best. We are not in this alone, no matter how alone we may feel at times. We do better as a team, and that coincides with our theme here at BTC, the team that powers your connectivity.
"We at BTC are proud and excited to be a part of the 2012 BTC CARIFTA Swimming Championships, and we wish all of our swimmers a great meet, with lots of healthy competition, strong teamwork, lots of good sportsmanship, and at the end of the day, we hope that you will be dripping not just with beads of water, but with medals galore."
Cargill said that this has been one of the most challenging years ever for swimming, with the heaters at the Betty Kenning complex not being fully functional. As a result, the swimmers weren't getting the amount of training time that they normally get.
Kevin Colebrooke, chief sports and recreation officer in the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture said that they are extremely proud to be a part of the championships, and assured the public, that the pool at the Betty Kenning complex which has experienced problems with the heaters since the start of the season, will be ready for competition. He said that the heaters will be up and fully functional for the duration of the championships.
The American Twisters Tim Rand Gymnastics Invitational experienced a 'Bahamian twist' recently (March 2-4), as nine members of the Bahamas Star Gymnastics (BSG) team competed impressively in the field of almost 800 athletes.
Clubs were present from the United States, Trinidad and Tobago and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and they converged at the Ft. Lauderdale Convention Center to battle for top spots.
The Bahamian team, under the leadership of Head Coach Alexander Mayet and Assistant Coach Kachara Marshall, took in a final workout session at the Park Avenue Gymnastics facility in Cooper City, Florida.
"We left home ready to compete but the session at Park Avenue fueled the team even more because they were able to workout alongside Park Avenue's elite athletes who were also competing in the Twisters' meet," commented Mayet.
The nine-member team included: Zia Joos, a Level 2 newcomer competing for the third time ever; Kyla Rolle, a Level 3 gymnast; Rachea Knowles and Sydney Wells, competing at Level 4; Caitlin Cash, covering Level 5; Athalia Swann and Kianna Dean at Level 6; Toni Johnson at Level 7; and Toneka Johnson at Level 8.
"We were able to compete across the board which allows up-close examination of USA Gymnastics (USAG) standards. We primarily compete in USAG meets so this experience helps us to improve individually and collectively as a team," commented Mayet.
Bahamas Star's team earned impressive results at the Twisters' meet.
Leading off the squad was Joos, a grade three student at Xavier's Lower School. She won medals on the vault with a 9.0 (third place), on the uneven bars (UB) with a 9.25 (second place), on the balance beam (BB) with a 8.55 (fourth place), and took the first place finish on the floor with a 9.175. The resulting all-around score of 35.975 earned her a third place finish in her division. These scores gave Joos her personal best scores in bars, beam and floor.
Queen's College student Kyla Rolle responded to the pressure by continuing the impressive showing of the BSG team with a 8.75 (ninth place) score on the vault, a bars score of 9.0 (sixth place), a beam score of 8.7 (seventh place) and a 8.825 (sixth place) on floor for an all-around score of 35.275 and a seventh place finish.
The Level 4 duo of Knowles, a Queen's College fourth grader, and Oakes Field Primary School third grader Wells posted impressive results as well. Knowles' 9.05 (14th place) on vault, 7.0 (15th place) on bars, 7.975 (13th place) on beam and an 8.250 (14th place) on floor resulted in an all-around score of 32.275, placing her at 15th out of the 30 gymnasts competing at that level.
Her Level 4 partner, Wells, improved her personal best all-around score of 35.40 achieved only a week prior at the Wolverine Classic in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Wells, like teammates Joos and Rolle, won medals in all four events, earning a 9.3 (out of a possible 10) on the uneven bars (fourth place), 9.4 on the vault (fourth place), 9.1 on the floor (sixth place) and a 8.45 on the balance beam (eighth place). The all-around score earned Wells a sixth place overall finish among 30 competing Level 4 gymnasts. Wells' all-around score of 36.25 is now the new all-around best score of all teammates and competing Bahamians thus far for the 2011-2012 season.
Xavier's Lower School fifth and sixth graders Cash and Swann appear to be tracking their levels with their grade. Cash competed at Level 5 and despite a tough field of over 65 gymnasts competing at that level, she held her own. Cash achieved her personal best on the vault with a score of 9.175 (fourth place) and respectfully scored a 7.5 (17th place) on the bars. She also had a 8.05 (14th place) beam score and a 8.25 (12th place) on the floor for an all-around 16th place finish of 32.95.
Swann, Xavier's Lower School sixth grader and Level 6 gymnast, would continue to trend and ensure that Xavier's and BSG were well represented. Registering her personal best in bars with a score of 8.775 (sixth place), Tally, as her teammates call her, secured a notable 9.125 (seventh place) on vault, a 8.15 (11th place) and a 8.55 (sixth place) on beam and floor respectively. These scores gave Swann her personal best all-around score of 34.6 and an eighth place finish.
Dean, Aquinas College Aces' 10th grade honor student put on an impressive performance in the Level 6 category, achieving her personal best on the bars and the beam with scores of 8.65 (10th place) and 8.5 (fifth place) respectively for what were deemed her 'weaker' events. Dean performed equally well in the vault with a score of 8.475 (12th place) and rounded out her score with a floor score of 8.25 (seventh place) for an all-around score of 34.075 (11th place), more than two points higher than her previous high all-around score for the season.
The sister-sister team of Toni and Toneka Johnson was back in action in their first offshore meet for the season, putting the exclamation point on the team's performance. The Prince William High School's eighth and 12th grade students amazed the spectators with their talents while their proud grandmother looked on. Toni, who competed at Level 7, achieved her personal best in three of the four events with a score of 9.335 (11th place) on vault, 7.35 (11th place) on bars, a 8.6 on beam and a 8.20 (14th place) on floor for a personal all-around best score of 33.50 (13th place). Although her beam and floor scores, 7.7 (12th place) and 7.1 (14th place), were below her expectation, the veteran Level 8 gymnast, Toneka, offered up an impressive showing in her other events, earning a vault score of 8.725 (first place) and a personal best score of 8.125 (sixth place) on bars, giving her an overall score of 31.65 (10th place).
Both coaches were impressed with the results from the Twisters' meet and are now looking forward to most of them moving on to new levels.
"This squad has competed well at their current levels and meanwhile we have been working on the skills required for their next levels," said Mayet. "There is a cadre of rising stars waiting in the wings ready to vie for spots on next season's team."
The 2012/2013 team is expected to be bigger and better than ever. Mayet says he is excited about the development of his coaching staff as well which is comprised of staff coaches Kachara Marshall, Monique De'Swanton and dance coach Idania Garcia-Stroud.
"What is most amazing is that most of the gymnasts all improved their scores on the events that have traditionally been a challenge and the 'Achilles heel' for Bahamian gymnasts for years - bars and beam. That speaks volumes to the superior training that the club is now benefitting from.
This meet and Wolverine Classic in Michigan were possible for Bahamas Star Gymnastics as a result of many hours of hard work by the Bahamas Gymnastics Parent Booster Club (BGPBC) and the financial support of the clubs' corporate sponsors, in particular Sun Oil Limited, which specifically contributed to these two meets. The booster club and school both thanked Sun Oil and all Bahamas Star sponsors and supporters for supporting the development of a team of talented gymnasts who are striving to represent The Bahamas at the 2016 Olympics.
Up next for the team is an exhibition performance at the club's annual primary school cheerleading competition dubbed 'Cheermania 2012' to be held on March 24, at 6 p.m.
If the 100 meters (m) final for under-20 girls at the Colina CARIFTA Trials over the weekend was an indication of what's to come at the CARIFTA Track and Field Championships in Hamilton, Bermuda, then The Bahamas could be in for quite a treat in the event.
In her first local meet of the season, junior sprinter Anthonique Strachan not only qualified for all of the junior championships, set for this year, but she also dipped below the 'A' qualifying standard for the London Olympic Games. In the final on Friday, she defeated Shaunae Miller, who had dominated the sprints on the local front so far. Strachan's time of 11.22 seconds was below the Olympic Games 'A' qualifying standard of 11.29, and Miller came in just shy of the Olympic Games 'B' standard, of 11.38. She ran a personal best 11.41 seconds. Third place went to Carmeisha Cox who posted a time of 11.76 seconds.
All three athletes were below the qualifying standard for the International Association of Athletic Federation's (IAAF) World Junior Championships, and in the case of Strachan, she was just three one hundredths of a second off Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie's junior national record time.
Pulling out of the 200m final, after posting the fastest qualifying time, was Miller. Her absence left Strachan to pull off the double in the sprints.
Strachan got the win over Freeport native Rashan Brown and Cox. The winning time was 23.23 seconds. Brown and Cox posted times of 23.64 and 24.03 seconds respectively. Miller did not compete in the final due to a slight injury. She also opted out of the 400m.
A record number of athletes competed in the Colina CARIFTA Trials this past weekend which was sanctioned by the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA).
More than 20 athletes had already qualified for CARIFTA prior to the trials. Janae Ambrose was one of those athletes, so all she needed to do was finish in the top two this weekend to book a seat on the plane headed to Hamilton, Bermuda. Ambrose did just that, as she won the under-17 girls' 100m, dipping under the qualifying time for CARIFTA again, as well as meeting the standard set for the Jr. Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Championships and the World Junior Championships. Ambrose stopped the clock in 11.85 seconds. The BAAA had set 12.10 seconds as the standard for the Easter weekend CARIFTA Championships, and the standard for the Jr. CAC is 11.90 seconds. The international governing body for the sport, IAAF, set a qualifying time of 11.96 seconds for the World Junior Championships. This meet will be held in Barcelona, Spain, July 10-15.
In the under-17 final, Keianna Albury, Makeya White and Kadeisha Hield were all under the CARIFTA standard set. Albury clocked 12 seconds flat for second, and White ran 12.05 seconds for third. Hield finished fourth in 12.06 seconds.
The half lap event was also won by Ambrose, in a time of 24.38 seconds, which was also under the qualifying time for the World Junior Championships. Coming in second in that race was Juannae Lewis and Hield was third in times of 24.70 and 24.76 seconds respectively. Both times were under the mark set by the BAAA for CARIFTA.
Lewis won the 400m in 56.89 seconds and Geordine Thurston came in second in 57.64 seconds. The third place time was 58.36 seconds turned in by Dreshanae Rolle, who turned around and won the 800m in 2:19.32.
Booking her ticket to Bermuda was Taryn Rolle in the under-17 girls' triple jump. She had a best jump of 11.62m (38' 1-1/2"). Brashae Wood and Janelle Curtis qualified for CARIFTA and the Jr. CAC Championships in the discus throw. Wood led the charge with a best throw of 34.89m (114' 5") and Curtis recorded a best throw of 33.87m (111' 1"), done on her third attempt in the circle.
The top two finishers in the under-17 boys' 100m were Cliff Resias and Ian Kerr. Resias was also the winner of the 200m, leaving Kerr to settle for third in that event. Theotis Johnson split the duo for second.
Resias' time in the 100m was 10.82 seconds and Kerr followed in 10.97. Keanu Pennerman was third in 11.10 seconds. The clock was stopped at 21.79 seconds in the 200m. Johnson turned in a time of 21.86 seconds and Kerr finished in 21.93 seconds.
The two fastest times in the under-17 boys' 400m hurdles were well below the qualifying time for the Jr. CAC Championships. Xavier Coakley won the event in 54.46 seconds and D'Mitry Charlton came in second in 54.73 seconds. Both easily qualified for CARIFTA as well, which had a standard time of 57 seconds flat.
Coakley will also contest the long jump event. He soared 6.62m (21' 8-3/4") for the win over the weekend.
Strong man Drexel Maycock will lead the charge on the field in the shot put and discus throws events. Maycock qualified in both events.
Jonathon Farquharson will line up in the 100m for the under-20 boys. He crossed the finish line in 10.47 seconds. Blake Bartlett won the 200m in 21.19 seconds, and Elroy McBride took the 400m in 47.54 seconds.
Ashley Riley had the best time in the 800m, 1:53.93, and Patrick Bodie ran 14.27 seconds for the win in the 110m hurdles.
Funeral Service for Ezra Eglon "Woopsy", "Pork Chop" Ferguson, age 24 years, of Cabbage Hill, Crooked Island, will be held on Friday, March 30, 2012 at 11:00 am.
Church: Holy Cross Anglican Church
Address: Highbury Park off Soldier Road
Officiating: Father John Kabiga
Interment: Woodlawn Gardens Cemetery, Soldier Road
He is survived by his parents: Carl and Bloneva Ferguson of Cabbage Hill, Crooked Island; brother: Nehemiah Ferguson; sisters: Teora and Quitel Ferguson; grandmother: Rosemary Moss of Major's Cay, Crooked Island; sister-in-law: Kendera Ferguson; brother-in-law: Kamal Thompson; uncles: Habakkuk and Joseph Ferguson, Vincent Moss of Miami, Florida, Cpl 2241 Cyril Anthony Moss, Nelson and Deacon Darrel Moss; aunts: Christine Sweeting, Thelma Miller, Bernice Culmer, Rachel Gradolph, Patricia Jones, Annamae Richardson, Rowena Ferguson, Priscilla Farquharson and Daphne Cunningham; uncles-in-law: Franklyn Culmer, Robert Gradolph, Louis Sweeting, Joseph Jones, Robert Farquharson, Gerald Cunningham and Leroy Richardson; aunts-in-law: Sherry Ferguson, Denise, Caron, Joy and Shaketress Moss; grandaunts and granduncles: Julia Mills, Leroy Ferguson, Inez and Montgomery Johnson, Calvin Ferguson, Preston and Ralph Ferguson of Florida; cousins: Rashetta, Raquel and Marvin Strachan, Rendi Culmer, Tasha and Charles Ferguson, Sheila and Albury Major, Steve and Jonathan Miller, Melissa, Crystal, Tameka, Ramon, Stacey and Joseph Jones, Carolyn and Mario Lewis, Christina, Keith, Cindy, Kenrick, Kirk, Stacy and James Sweeting, Chrisanta and Terrell Hanna, Jason, Rhonda, Rubyan and Rosie Ferguson, Yvette Bethel, Jasmine, Malone, Cassandra, Avardo, Cheryl, Stephen, Michelle and Earle Ferguson, Crescelle and Rashad Farquharson, Tameka Richards, Shantelle and Valdez Ferguson, Ethan, Amya, Anthoniece, Anthonique, Sonjay and Israel Moss, Patrick, Alton, Andrew, Novus, Vanessa and Katrina Ferguson, Martine Hanna, the family of the late Hosea and Emily Ferguson, Khishlyne and Khalyne Johnson, Elroy, Danielle, Preston Jr., Ralph Jr. and Krystle Ferguson, Damien, Lahai, Antone Miller and the family of the late Leah Nottage; other relatives and friends including: Peter and Cylestina Williams, Diama Ramos, Barbara Gibson and Robert Gibson, Jason Deleveaux, Dennis, Valentino and Cpl 1460 Jerone Thompson and family, Huden and Jennamae, Leroy and Borice Clarke, Timothy and Glenda Thompson and family, David Cunningham, Deangello Knowles, Evelyn Ferguson and family, Sean Spencer, Pastor Linkwood Ferguson and family, Deacon Kermit Farquharson and family, Alphege and Nelson Ferguson, Luellen Farquharson and family, Pastor Dorcas and Stephanie Thompson and family, Evelyn Ferguson and family, Thirza Williams and family, Mrs. Alleset Deleveaux, Cleveland and Elizabeth Ferguson, Viola Cunningham and family, Kenneth and Ruth Farquharson and family, Enrico N. Wright, Father John and Eloise Kabiga and family of All Saints Anglican Church, Church Grove, staff of Thompson Trading, Nassau and Sun Shine Cruises, Water Sports at Atlantis, Paradise Island, the Class of 2005 Crooked Island High School, the Honorable V. Alfred Gray, M.P., MICAL Constituency and the entire community of Crooked Island.
FRIENDS MAY PAY THEIR RESPECTS AT ROCK OF AGES NORTH SIDE CREMATION CENTER ON THURSDAY FROM 10:00 A.M. TO 5:00 P.M. AND AT THE CHURCH ON FRIDAY FROM 10:00 A.M. UNTIL SERVICE TIME.
Jodi Cornish is a senior at the Stapledon School for the Mentally Challenged and because of the school he attends, most people would immediately put limitations on him and expect him to be capable of little.
Actually, Cornish's life has been filled with barriers. He was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) which made learning challenging for him. His mother, Carmel Cornish said he is also "deaf" to certain pitches, but he refers to it as "selective" hearing. And he has a speech impediment.
But the 16-year-old is definitely more than meets the eye. And he is ready to "shake-off the shackles" that people use to hold him back, and prove that great things can happen to anyone no matter what cards they are dealt in life, as long as they get the attention they need.
Jodi in recent years has gotten the personalized attention that he needs and is finally excelling further than he had ever dreamed.
One of his most recent opportunities to shine came when he was awarded at the 10th annual thanksgiving and recognition ceremony for schools in the northwestern district award. Cornish was selected as the student of the year for the Stapledon School for the Mentally Challenged. He achieved an A grade in art in the recent Bahamas Junior Certificate (BJC) examinations. It was the first time a student at the school had ever taken and passed the exam and he did so with the best possible result.
"It felt good to get the award. I worked hard and it was fun. You have to believe in yourself. I knew I would do well. I love to draw. I feel great because of it," said Jodi.
But Jodi was not always this confident in himself or his abilities. In fact, in the past had he been asked what he wanted to do when he was older, he wouldn't have been confident enough to look that person in their eyes, much less try to form a sentence to answer them. He has come a long way from being the shy youth sitting at the back of the class in a daze, to the young man who has dreams of being a mechanic and living a normal, unhindered life.
And it all changed in the last two years. His mother got fed up with the lack of assistance her son was receiving at school in Abaco, and transferred him to the Stapledon School for the Mentally Challenged in New Providence, to get him into the right learning environment.
"It definitely was a big step for us to move to New Providence in order for Jodi to go to school in the right environment," said his mother. "I am glad we did because despite living for years in the United States and having access to special education classes in the public school, Jodi has not gotten as much help as he is getting right now. We moved back to The Bahamas seven years ago and I still kept trying to find him the help he needs. For years I had tried unsuccessfully to get my son in the only special school in Abaco, it was not only 40 miles away from us in Marsh Harbor, but the waiting list was too long and I got fed up. Jodi was frustrated, he wasn't really learning and wasn't too happy in the government school he was in, so I knew we had to do something."
Since the move she saw her son "skyrocket" intellectually, and his interest in school and extracurricular activities increased. Jodi not only attends classes at Stapledon School daily, but he also goes to Government High School three times a week to study art; the Centre for the Deaf once weekly to learn woodworking and design, and is tutored in reading and writing once a week outside of his normal classes. He is also getting assistance with his speech impediment.
The single mother said she is doing all she can to ensure that her son gets the help he needs, to learn and achieve the levels of success she knows he is capable of.
"It is almost overwhelming how he has gone from having so little help to being showered with it," she said.
She is even prouder of the fact that her son is just as interested in achieving as his teachers are in helping him.
And Jodi has goals that entail him excelling outside of the classroom. The teenager is also a sports fanatic and has played football and baseball. But basketball is his all-time favorite sport. The point guard spends many of his afternoons practicing and working out with other players. All the practices paid off for him as he was selected to the team that represented The Bahamas last year in Athens, Greece in the Special Olympics.
"I was really excited to go to Greece and play. It was fun and I got to go by myself. I hadn't been away for a long time, so it was nice. It was a long flight and long trip [three weeks] and I got to play a lot. We didn't win but I got to see a lot of stuff. I got to see two different hotels. I stayed in one and the other I visited. It was a good trip."
Moving forward, Jodi is thankful for all the help he has received from teachers who have gotten him to this point in his life. He said it took a lot to build his confidence to truly believe he could be anything he wanted to be. He now even dares to dream of one day attending the Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute to study automechanics and body work.
"I did not always believe in myself. Before now I didn't like asking questions or saying I don't understand. My teachers didn't understand me and I didn't like to talk," said Jodi. "But I'm learning better now and I want to try everything I can. It will make things easier for me if I learn stuff. I really like school now. I like Math and doing division and multiplication. I'm good at it," he said.
Jodi's new-found confidence has him setting his sights on an even bigger accomplishment. He plans to take BJCs in Mathematics and English Language in June, as well as the Bahamas General Certificate in Secondary Education (BGCSE) in Art.
After his graduation in 2013 he hopes to also get his driver's license and own a car. He also aspires to fulfill his dream of one day of being a mechanic and maybe even owning his own company. Although many people may not believe in him he feels nothing is impossible if one tries.
He may not have gotten off to the best start, but he is confident that he will finish as strong as he can. He now believes that when one thing fails, he has the confidence to try something else.
"I can do anything. I like to see my mom proud. I like when people cheer for me. I will keep working hard so I do my best," said Jodi.
For as long as he can remember, Cameron Newbold says if he walked a short distance, he would get tired fast. He thought that was normal. If walking did that to him, imagine the level of fatigue he felt when he ran or rode his bicycle. The 14-year-old thought that was how a healthy person was supposed to feel. He never thought anything was seriously wrong with him. He never knew that he had been born with a hole in his heart that had gotten progressively worse over the years due to the lack of treatment.
Cameron never knew that in the first few months of his life that his deceased mother had taken him for treatments, but for reasons unknown had stopped seeking medical help for her baby. As he grew he chalked up the lethargy he felt on a daily basis as "normal".
But on Labour Day (June 2011), seven months after the death of his mother, the lack of medical attention caught up with the teenager. He had attended the parade with relatives and it was there that he started to feel sicker than he normally did.
" I started to really feel bad. I was feeling really weak and I got really dizzy," he recalled. "When I got home, I was vomiting and it got hard to breathe." An older cousin took Cameron to the hospital, where tests revealed a problem with his heart. It was in failure and he would need emergency surgery. Cameron, who has no insurance, had life-saving open heart surgery on November 22, 2011, funded by the Sir Victor Sassoon (Bahamas) Heart Foundation. The surgery repaired his acute mitral insufficiency, a condition in which a valve doesn't properly close, causing blood to leak into an upper chamber of his heart.
It was a whirlwind of activity by his relatives to save the 14-year-old's life. His aunt and legal guardian Bonnie Solomon hadn't even known about her nephew's condition. Scared at first when she learned he was suffering from heart failure, she said she didn't know how she would be able to afford to get him the medical care he needed. She said it was only by chance that she heard about the Sir Victor Sassoon (Bahamas) Heart Foundation and the work it did for children with heart conditions. Solomon requested assistance of the foundation and Cameron was slotted in to get the help he needed.
Cameron's surgery was performed at the Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital in Fort Lauderdale. Bahamian pediatric cardiologist Dr. Jerome Lightbourne assisted with the surgery.
The now 14-year-old Cameron, an eighth-grade student at T.A. Thompson Junior School, said his illness "coming to a head" and the subsequent surgery was a scary time for him. But he also said it was one of the best experiences of his young life, as he visited the United States for the first time.
"Before going to Fort Lauderdale for the surgery I had never gone away to the States that I remember. It was my first time and I was excited about that. I didn't really see much of the place but it was nice knowing that I was there. I will always remember my surgery because it made me better, but also because I got to see [the U.S.]. My doctors even invited me to come back so I could see how the surgeries are done, since I am starting to be interested in those kinds of things since this experience," he said.
Cameron's co-guardian and cousin Antia Solomon said the experience was life-changing for her, as a parent, because his chances of survival would have been bleak without it.
"Knowing that he can do the things he couldn't do is a great relief. None of this would be if it wasn't for the Sir Victor Sassoon (Bahamas) Heart Foundation," said Solomon. "The procedure would have been done, but when I don't know because of the lack of resources. I'm so grateful and appreciative of them."
Despite the surgery, Cameron still has to be on his toes about his health. The rambunctious junior school student says he now feels more energetic than ever. And he returned to school two weeks ago and was more than anxious to get back to the books. He admits that prior to his surgery he did not have much interest in his education, but given a second chance, he said he can't wait to get back on the "right track".
"I was never so happy to go to school before," he says. "I never used to do my homework or listen to my teachers too much. But now I want to be here so I can learn and be with my friends. I really hope to do better. I used to have a [grade point average] below a 1.00 and I really plan to try harder," he said.
The young man now realizes just how important his education and life are to him. He always thought that there was time and he didn't have to worry about anything, but now he is beginning to understand that he has to make the most of everything he has. Rather than thinking about if he can get the latest bicycle or worrying that he couldn't be a part of his school's sports day, Cameron is appreciating that he can now ride his bike without tiring quickly, and play a game with his friends for longer than a few minutes.
His cousin, Latoya Solomon, 21, is pleased to see the good that came from Cameron's experience. She is glad that he was able to pull through and return to his normal everyday life. Some days she says she can barely believe that he has recovered so quickly.
"It was kind of scary to think that Cameron may not have made it to see 15 years if he didn't get the surgery right away, so seeing him now is good -- especially considering how well he is doing. When he came home after two weeks in the U.S. he never wanted to just sit down and rest. He just came to life and wants to be involved in everything. He really wanted to keep up with his friends and go back to school. He just seemed so focused and ready to try hard. The way he recovered was like he just had a cold and is fine now. I am grateful for what happened to him. He's happy and doing well."
The Sir Victor Sassoon (Bahamas) Heart Foundation is a privately funded charity that raises funds primarily through donations and from the annual Heart Ball held annually in February, and which will be held on Saturday, February 18 at the Sheraton Cable Beach Resort. Over 97 percent of each dollar raised goes directly ot the aid of children.
Donations can be made to the Sir Victor Sassoon (Bahamas) Heart Foundation at P.O. Box N-8189, Nassau, Bahamas.
Antia Solomon says it is absolutely imperative for the public to support the foundation, because they never know when a person they know may need the help. She says she is now aware more than ever how much she must be open to helping others as well.
"You could be helping to save a life. You could be saving the life of the future prime minister, or a future doctor or lawyer," she said. "More importantly, you could also be saving the life of the world's greatest parent to some child. You would not just be helping the parent(s) or the child, but I would also encourage you to help the foundation that is making it possible for some of these kids and parents to go and do these procedures. I would just ask the public to help save a life," she said.
The foundation was established as a living tribute by Lady Sassoon following the death of her husband, Sir Victor Sasson, in 1961, to assist Bahamians with heart disease. Lady Sassoon had asked that instead of sending flowers to honor her husband, that people send a donation to the local heart fund. A few weeks later the hospital called to tell her that a substantial amount of money had been donated in her husband's memory, but that there was no local heart fund. She took it upon herself to create one.
Through the foundation's fundraising efforts, over 4,000 children have been afforded quality medical care. The foundation currently has a list of 11 children that need immediate lifesaving surgery.