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Once the initiatives are taken, a lot of benefits can come from the Bahamian sports industry.
As Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, Dr. Daniel Johnson admitted recently, the sports industry in this country can be greatly expanded. This point has been made on numerous occasions in this space. Based on Minister Johnson's resolve though, he seems prepared to pursue options available to us for growth of the industry. Hopefully, this is the case also for his colleagues.
I bring back to the forefront, the suggestion of a plan to turn the Andros Barrier Reef into a "huge money-making" product. The eastern side of Andros slopes into one of the great sea drop-offs in the world. There is the Great Barrier Reef of Australia, the granddaddy of them all. Then, there is the Red Sea Reef in Egypt, the Belize Barrier Reef, the Florida Barrier Reef and the New Caledonia Reef in the South Pacific that compare favorably with the Andros Barrier Reef.
For us, the revenue potential is enormous. In Australia, the GBR brings in around $6 billion each year and the total operation includes some 50,000 employees for the dive equipment and attire shops, hotels, restaurants and lounges etc. A business focus with the Andros Barrier Reef as the product would turn that island overnight into one of the great cities in our region. Previous governments have not had all that it takes to meet such a challenge. This is where we have to go now though, to pump up the national economy and enable Bahamians to better sustain themselves.
The thinking has to be big. The present Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) central administration assumed responsibility for an economy that is in big trouble. One of the bright young minds that make up the government is Ryan Pinder. Prime Minister Perry Christie has brought back the Ministry of Financial Services and made Pinder its chief.
This ministry is to foster opportunities for investment and employment. The Andros Barrier Reef seems an appropriate item for our Ministry of Financial Services. There is also an agricultural element given nearly 200 species of fish and coral to be found living in the reef. The 6,000 feet drop into what is called traditionally the 'Tongue of the Ocean' affords divers a great environment. That's the sports tourism aspect of the reef. So really, the Minister of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Local Government Alfred Grey should get involved, along with Johnson and Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe.
This is where the rubber meets the road for the Christie Government decision makers. They are obligated to demonstrate that they know just how to invest in Bahamians and our resources.
(To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at firstname.lastname@example.org)
With the country's most powerful sports body crying for help, as it relates to sending a 24-member team to the Olympics, one of The Bahamas' leading corporate citizens came to their aid with a hefty donation.
Telecommunications giant BTC has provided a $100,000 sponsorship to the Bahamas Olympic Committee (BOC) to help defray the costs of this year's OIympic team. It was just over a month ago, when BOC Secretary General Romell 'Fish' Knowles revealed that their organization was in dire need of over $300,000 to fund this year's Olympic team. Well, they got a huge chunk yesterday, and can now go ahead with quite a few plans to get Team Bahamas to London. The 2012 Summer Olympic Games are set to commence Friday July 27 in London, England, and will run through Sunday, August 12.
"The reality is that the Olympic Games will cost us just under $400,000, so $100,000 will go a long way in lowering those expenses," said Knowles yesterday. "We are very appreciative of what BTC has done. What this does for us, is that now we can pay for some of the expenses that will be incurred with the training camp that will take place in London. We're not home yet, but this contribution today takes a lot of pressure off of us. It's a great relief to us in the Bahamas Olympic Committee and our team. The Olympic Games is the largest and biggest event in sports and I'm so elated that BTC recognizes that. I only wish that other corporate citizens, particularly government entities, will recognize that as well."
A number of Olympic
athletes will leave for the training camp in West Sussex, England, this week. Others will travel over the weekend and the remainder will depart on Monday. As for the $100,000 donation, BTC Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Geoff Houston said that they looked at it as their corporate and social responsibility and will continue to contribute toward the youth development of this country in a meaningful and positive way.
"We are delighted to present a check for $100,000 to the Bahamas Olympic Committee for The Bahamas' participation in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London," said Houston. "Many of the athletes who have trained for this event have dreamed about being in the Olympics since childhood. They have spent years training physically and emotionally for what will be, for many, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to compete against the world's best in their sport.
"We at BTC want to ensure that the entire team, including coaches and medical personnel, have every advantage available so they are able to focus on bringing home the gold. Beyond performance, we want to applaud everyone involved for the team spirit, effort, discipline and determination to make it to this level. What we have been doing over the past 12-15 months is really try to cement our partnership with sports in the country. For sports fans like me and the rest of us here at BTC, this isn't really a difficult decision. This is something that we enjoy doing. This is the continuation of a major thing for us here at BTC. We wish the Olympic team the best and we are sure that they are going to give their best effort in London. We congratulate the team and wish everyone a healthy and successful Olympics."
BTC's corporate sponsorship of the BOC and Team Bahamas doesn't cease with the $100,000 donation toward the Olympic team. According to Houston, they intend to be a visible partner straight through until the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, offering as much as $20,000 per year for the next four years toward Olympic development.
"Our four-year partnership with BTC from now until the Brazil Olympics in 2016 makes BTC our top local sponsor in the Olympic movement, and so we are extremely appreciative of BTC's corporate and social responsibility in developing and molding young lives through sports," said Knowles.
BOC President Wellington Miller concurred:
"This is what can happen when two forward (thinking) people get together and have a constructive conversation. It can advance an important idea and advance an organization. I am speaking about our secretary general Romell Knowles and BTC Vice President of Marketing Marlon Johnson. This kind of gift from a corporate citizen makes it so much easier for the Bahamas Olympic Committee to do the proper planning for its athletes in national interest. We in the BOC are extremely proud and on behalf of all Bahamian Olympians, we thank BTC and look forward to both our organizations reaping great benefits from this tremendous gift."
Also yesterday, BTC was presented with a trophy from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) recognizing the telecommunications company for its contribution to "sports and sustainable development." Also, BTC pledged to spearhead a national campaign with focus on boosting team spirit and support for Team Bahamas for the Olympic Games.
"We are launching a three-week program to get Bahamians excited about supporting our team," explained Jerome Sawyer, BTC Senior Manager of Public Relations. "In connection with that, we will have a wide range of promotions. During the Olympics, we will have special rates for 'Talk It Up' so people can call internationally for extremely low rates. We'll be running ads for special promotions, keeping our facebook page lively and engaging the public in every way we can to support Team Bahamas."
As a special promotion, team managers will receive new Samsung phones, and Cable & Wireless Communications in London will host a special reception for The Bahamas' team, its officials and dignitaries.
"BTC's commitment to youth development, education and sports is unwavering," said Sawyer.
During the past year, BTC has donated $130,000 to the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA) in support of CARIFTA, the Olympic Trials, and most recently, The Bahamas' team that traveled to the International Association of Athletic Federations' (IAAF) World Junior Championships in Barcelona, Spain, and now, they are providing another $100,000 for The Bahamas' 24-member Olympic team.
At the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Istanbul, Turkey, earlier this month, Demetrius Pinder of Grand Bahama and Chris Brown of Eleuthera made history on the senior level when they won silver and bronze medals in the 400 meters (m). This was the first time in senior world competition that The Bahamas won more than one medal in a single event. Additionally, with this medal, Brown became the athlete with the most medals won in the 400m. The Bahamas did not always have top quarter-milers but developed them over time.
Start of international competition
The first time that The Bahamas competed in international competition was in 1954 in Vancouver, Canada at the British Empire and Commonwealth Games when Cyril "Peepsight" Johnson participated in the 440 yards. He finished his heat in 51.8 seconds. This was the best performance of all Bahamians at the games.
At the Mexico City Pan American Games in 1955, Johnson ran 51.5 seconds in the 400m. Six years later it was Hugh Bullard, a St. Augustine's College student, who ran 51.20 seconds at the Rome Olympics, placing sixth in the third heat.
A classical race at SAC
At the Bahamas Association of Independent Schools Championships in 1961, a year later, there was a classic battle of the sprinter versus the longer distance runner. This was a classic, remembered by many fans who were there. Versatile Julian Brown from St. John's College and Bimini challenged Bullard in the 400m. At the end, it was the fastest 400m race ever run in The Bahamas with Brown winning in 49.9 seconds. Bullard would crawl across the line for second place. The third place finisher was Government High's Philip Russell who had spent some time in high school in Jamaica.
Breaking the barrier
By 1968, The Bahamas' best performance in the 400m had dropped to 46.99 seconds when Leslie Miller, who had attended high school in Florida and the University of Texas at El Paso, placed seventh in heat seven in the Mexico City Olympic Games.
The versatile sprinter
Seven years later, Mike Sands, who had attended high school in New York City, and college at Penn State University, ran 45.28 seconds at the NCAA Championships in Provo, Utah. That record would last 21 years. That same year, Sands became the first Bahamian to capture a Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Senior Championships crown when he ran 46.6 seconds in Ponce, Puerto Rico.
Sands was undoubtedly the most versatile sprinter The Bahamas has ever seen. He held national records in the 100m, 200m and 400m at the same time.
The influence of Frank 'Pancho' Rahming
At home in The Bahamas, coach Frank "Pancho" Rahming started to direct his efforts to developing quarter-milers in the late seventies. Rahming had attended Florida Memorial College and participated in the Munich Olympics in 1972. He placed fifth in the seventh heat in 48.30 seconds. Rahming encouraged sprinters to move up to the 400m.
Who would believe The Bahamas could defeat 400m powerhouse Jamaica in the 4x400m relay their hometown in 1979. At the finish, it was Grand Bahama's David Charlton who ran from a 40-meter deficit to overtake and defeat Jamaica comfortably. The team included Anthony Smith, Craig Frazier and Allan Ingraham.
By 1990, Grand Bahama's Marcus Knowles would become the first Bahamian to win a CARIFTA Under-20 400m crown running 47.30 seconds in Kingston, Jamaica.
The contribution of Sidney Cartwright
Sidney Cartwright saw an opportunity in the early nineties to smash The Bahamas 4x400m relay record and had athletes like Troy McIntosh, Dennis Darling and Tim Munnings.
McIntosh steps up to the plate
In June of 1996, McIntosh broke Sand's 21-year long record with a 44.73 seconds run in Mexico City. That summer at the Atlanta Olympic Games, McIntosh ran 46.42 seconds in his heat. The 4x400m relay team, made up of Carl Oliver, Dennis Darling, McIntosh and Tim Munnings, finished seventh in the final in a time of 3:02.71.
McIntosh won the 400m at the CAC Games in 1998 in 44.84 seconds and won a bronze medal at the IAAF World Cup in Johannesburg that year in a time of 45.45 seconds. The next year he finished fourth in the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Maebashi, Japan, in 46.05 seconds, just three hundredths of a second from the bronze medal.
Avard Moncur won the 400m in the NCAA Championships for Auburn University in 2000 at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. Moncur set a new Bahamian national record in the 400m with a 44.72 seconds clocking. That next summer in Madrid, Spain, Moncur improved his national record to 44.45 seconds on the way to capturing the 400m at the Edmonton IAAF World Championships. He became the second Bahamian to win an IAAF individual World Championships title.
Brown takes over
In 2005, Eleutheran Chris Brown stepped up to the plate and broke Moncur's national record with a 44.40 seconds run in Oslo, Norway. Brown finished fourth in the 2005 and 2007 World Championships 400m, but led The Bahamas' 4x400m relay team to second place finishes in the 2005 and 2007 World Championships, and the 2008 Olympic Games.
Another NCAA champ
In 2008, Andretti Bain won the NCAA Indoor and Outdoor Championships in the 400m for Oral Roberts University, clocking 44.62 seconds outdoors.
In 2010, Grand Bahama's Demetrius Pinder attending Texas A&M University ran 44.93 seconds. He defeated Chris Brown at the National 'Open' Track and Field Championships. Last year, Pinder brought his personal best down to 44.78 seconds while defeating Chris Brown once again, at the BTC Jr. and Sr. National 'Open' Track & Field Championships.
The Bahamas has definitely had a colorful history in the men's 400m. The performances of Pinder and Brown in Istanbul will go down in history for Bahamian sports.
The Bahamas is usually picked to win a medal in either the World Championships or Olympic Games 4x400m running because of our great crop of 400m runners.
Would any Bahamian quarter-miler win a medal in London? There are numerous 400m runners on the junior scene in The Bahamas now and we anticipate that more athletes will turn to this event because of our success and rich tradition.
A leader is one who serves and can see the bigger picture, according to Doris Johnson Senior School head boy Dion Bowles Jr. The 17-year-old graduating senior says he has learnt in his tenure as co-head of his school that being a leader is more than barking orders or flaunting his power over others. The athletic young man, who has ambitions of being a medical technologist, says only the truly selfless and organized can be effective leaders. Although he has not always been of this mindset, Bowles believes he has learnt many humbling lessons from his role as co-head that he will carry throughout his life.
Q. Was being selected as head boy of your school a surprise to you?
A. Actually, I was not surprised. Since I entered Doris Johnson High School in grade 10, teachers have always commented that I had a lot of potential and the makings to be a head boy. They spoke it into my life I guess. I also always had a spirit that wanted to lead and be of service. So it was no surprise. I am doing what I was meant to do.
Q. What do you think made you stand out from your peers to be selected as head boy?
A. Since I came to this school I have always been involved in activities. I also kept up my grade point average and excelled in sports for the school. I have been a good representative and I work hard to balance everything. I even stretched my ambitions and tried to be more involved in leadership in the school by joining the student council. I was chosen as vice president and I learned a lot. I think it was a combination of all of these things that made me stand out from my peers.
Q. What advice would you give to other students who want to be in a leadership position?
A. I would tell them to stay focused and always work hard. It's important to always watch who you hang out with, because certain people can lead you down the wrong path. I would advise more students to be wise and listen to their own conscience and not follow the advice of others. You cannot be a leader if all you do is follow. Rising above peer pressure and be willing to go out of your way to do more in your school, and your work is important to be a leader in this environment.
Q. What challenges have you faced in being head boy and how do you overcome them?
A. I think the major issue I faced thus far is my time management and being more mature. It isn't always easy to balance everything you need to do. You have to do work in school, be a part of athletics as well as always be available for whatever my school needs me to do. It's a bit demanding at times, but it's all part of the job. Being in this position has also taught me how to separate myself from negativity and be unbiased as much as possible. I also have to prioritize and not be selfish in my decisions as well. But most of all I feel I had to learn to keep on being myself. Even if your role as a leader demands more and you have power, it's important not to let it get to your head. You have to keep on being the same person and be true to who you are no matter what. But most of all I feel I had to always remind myself to keep on being myself.
Q. What lesson do you think you will take from your experiences as head boy into your future endeavors?
A. I have learned what it takes to be a leader. I am not a follower and will not ever be again. I have learned how to make wiser decisions and to see the bigger picture rather than just what is in front of me. I intend to always pursue leadership positions henceforth and to let my light shine. I have also learned that being in a position of power does not mean being unfair to others. True leaders serve and I intend to take this lesson with me as I go through life.
The Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA) has been given the opportunity to host the 2013 CARIFTA Games. BAAA President Mike Sands and I chatted recently. He is well aware of the necessity for a firm push to get everything in order for overall success to result.
For The Bahamas, it will be more than just trying to catch and pass Jamaica, the perennial CARIFTA Games champion. Excellence could in fact define all aspects of the top regional junior track and field competition if proper planning is done. There is a need for recognition of what has to be done if the incoming representatives of our sister countries are to return to their respective homes satisfied with having been treated to an exceptional host job.
We can do it, but planning is important. I understand that BTC, a company that from all appearances is doing quite well in our country, will step forward to be a major sponsor of the 2013 version of the spectacular athletic event. I believe, given the very comfortable deal BTC got, it should be automatic for this kind of financial assistance and more, to be forthcoming.
So, Sands and company have that plus factor to begin the long journey to a successful 2013 CARIFTA Games. An organizing committee should be put in place. That's urgent. Marketing, housing, coordination of travel arrangements, ticketing, ceremonial functions during and prior to the event, the competition officiating and the networking with the Sports Authority amount to a large body of work that has to be dealt with.
It's one huge challenge facing Sands. The 2013 CARIFTA Games more than anything else he has been a part of, figures to put some kind of a stamp on his administrative capacity, positive or otherwise. Quite frankly, I'm convinced Sands knows what needs to happen and the kind of structure he needs to put in place.
As one of our best athletes (a sprint specialist during the 1970s) he was always a hard worker. He will work hard to have the 2013 CARIFTA Games succeed. The big question mark for Sands and the rest of the BAAA is the networking with the Sports Authority.
How that goes will depend on just how efficient that entity becomes. Officially, the Sports Authority now has total responsibility over the country's sporting facilities. It is unfortunate though that the Sports Authority is not yet "up and running" appropriately. That all-important national arm of sports, legislated by parliament, is still struggling to become a solid functioning body. While we know who the members of the authority are, no day-to-day operating personnel have been announced.
It would have been ideal if the BAAA had the benefit of a vibrant Sports Authority at this time. The view here is that the 2013 Games will be the first major sporting event to take place in the new Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium. Incidentally, our sterling quarter-miler Chris Brown has talked about staging his invitational in April of next year.
Can the Sports Authority get it together to accommodate the CARIFTA Games and the Brown invitational track and field meet? How will the Sports Authority fulfill its obligations? Answers to such questions are vital to people like Sands who don't wish to be embarrassed as hosts.
I look forward to the 2013 Games, the Chris Brown invitational, other track and field events as well as prospective soccer activities at the national stadium. Right now, the Sports Authority is the biggest question mark. Best wishes for the 2013 CARIFTA Games to Sands and the BAAA.
To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at email@example.com.
The Bahamas' Olympic movement observes 62 years of existence this year, 2014, which is also the year of the 50th anniversary of the country's historic first Olympic gold medal, won in sailing in 1964 by Cecil Cooke under the captaincy of Sir Durward Knowles.
"Far from resting on our past success, Team Bahamas has won at least one Olympic medal in every single summer Olympic Games since Frank Rutherford's bronze medal in the triple jump in Barcelona, Spain in 1992, and we fully intend to continue that trend," Bahamas Olympic Committee (BOC) Secretary General Romell 'Fish' Knowles noted proudly.
This year, 2014, the BOC and its member federations are planning to field competitive teams at the Commonwealth Games in July in Glasgow, Scotland; the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China in August; and the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games in Veracruz, Mexico in November.
Since its inception on May 7, 1952 as the Bahamas Olympic Association (BOA), the body has had five presidents, starting with Sir George Roberts (1952 to 1957). There was also R.H. 'Bobby' Symonette, who led the Olympic movement in The Bahamas until 1972. The third president, former Minister of Health Dr. Norman Gay, served from 1972 to 1973 and he was succeeded by Sir Arlington Butler who led the Olympic movement in The Bahamas between 1973 and 2008.
The organization is now known as the Bahamas Olympic Committee. The name was changed on April 11, 2013, so as to conform with a request from the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The new era of olympics in The Bahamas is being led by Wellington Miller.
Miller, who was the last president of the BOA and the first of the BOC, aims to carry the movement from strength to strength through a strong focus on athletes' well-being and high level preparation.
In its 62 years, Bahamian olympics has progressed from incorporating just the core Bahamian sports of sailing and athletics to now comprising 18 federations and associations representing the relevant olympic sports and several more associate members representing other established or fast growing new sports in The Bahamas.
The Bahamas first participated in the Olympic Games in 1952, and has sent athletes to compete in every summer Olympic Games since then, except when they participated in the boycott of the 1980 summer Olympics. The Bahamas has not yet participated in any winter Olympic Games; however, the country narrowly missed qualifying to compete in the 2010 and 2014 winter Olympics.
Bahamian athletes have won a total of 11 Olympic medals, all in athletics and sailing.
Last week Saturday, executives of the Atlantic Medical Fun Walk Committee rewarded CIBC FirstCaribbean for registering over 100 participants for the annual event. It seemed as if the message of healthy lifestyles, launched at the financial institution just over a month ago, quickly reached some of the bank's staff, as for the first time, 154 persons registered to participate in the walk. From senior executives, leaders, managers and staff, employees turned out in large numbers. Some completed the shorter three-mile fun walk while the more competitive ones, embarked on the grueling six-mile walk, that included walking over the Paradise Island Bridge twice. The CIBC FirstCaribbean team finished second just to BTC in terms of corporate participation. Managing Director Marie Rodland-Allen, who proudly completed the six-mile course, congratulated the team for their participation. "We all came out and were recognized as a team, united and focused on accomplishing goals... no matter what that goal is," she said. "That is excellent." Staff members winning prizes included Terah Strachan, Lashon Sawyer, Brigitta Seymour and Desdemona Gibbs.
Running the open 400 meters (m), on Saturday, at the 5th Annual Fritz Grant Invitational, young Shaunae Miller qualified with the 'A' standard for the Olympic Games.
She crossed the finish line, in 51.44 seconds, shattering her own junior national record of 51.84 seconds, which she set last year at the World Youth Championships in Lille, France. The 'A' standard for the quadrennial games, is 51.55 seconds and the 'B' standard is 52.35 seconds.
The qualifying time for Miller is one of the top marks in the world this year. So far, she is the only Bahamian female to qualify in the 400m for the Olympics, set for July 27-August 12. She has also qualified for all the remaining junior and senior meets scheduled for the rest of the year.
Andretti Bain was looking to dip below the qualifying mark for the Olympic Games as well, but fell short in his quest. He ran the 400m at the meet, clocking 47.32 seconds. The 'A' and 'B' qualifying standards for the meet are 45.30 seconds and 45.90 seconds respectively. Booking an early ticket to the World Junior Championships was Ryan Ingraham, as he easily won the high jump event.
Ingraham soared a personal best leap of 2.28m (7' 5-3/4") for the win. The qualifying standard for the International Association of Athletic Federations' (IAAF) World Junior Championships which will be held in Barcelona, Spain, July 10-15, is 2.15m (7' 0-1/2"). The winning height is also a new junior national record. Ingraham is the old record holder, setting a mark of 2.23m (7' 3-3/4") last year. Ingraham's winning jump on Saturday also matched the 'B' qualifying standard for the Olympics.
Having already qualified for the World Junior Championships, Lathone Collie-Minns was going after the junior national record in the triple jump. However, he fell short of the 16.58m (54' 4-3/4") mark which belongs to Allen Mortimer. Collie-Minns had a best jump of 16.01m (52' 6-1/2") on the day.
Pulling off the sprint double victory in the under-18 girls division was Carmiesha Cox with Makeya White trailing in second in both events. Cox too, has qualified for the World Junior Championships. She won the 100m in 11.82 seconds, the junior qualifying time is 11.96 seconds. In the 200m, Cox needed to run below the qualifying time of 24.56 seconds if she planned to take part in the 200m, at the World Junior Championships. On Saturday, she stopped the clock in 24.20 seconds. White's time in the 100m and 200m were 11.99 seconds and 25.19 seconds respectively.
The blazing time of 13.82 seconds will give Devynne Charlton a spot on the World Junior Championship squad. Charlton won the 100m hurdles and qualified for the World Junior Championships with that time.
Bahamas Olympic Committee Secretary General Romell Knowles pointed out a number of positive factors while giving an overview recently about expectations at the London 2012 Games.Knowles expressed confidence that there will be good opportunities for our athletes moving into the finals of events.
"We are looking at the finals and after that, anything could happen. So, we anticipate having finalists in the men's open 400 meters(m), the men's high jump, the men's triple jump, the men's 200m, the women's 4x100m relay and the women's 200m.
"We are looking for appearances in boxing and swimming finals also,"said Knowles.
In the men's 400m open, the country has two of the premier world quarter milers. Demetrius Pinder and Chris Brown are coming off excellent showings at the International Association of Athletic Federations (IAAF) Indoor World Championships held in Istanbul, Turkey, a few weeks ago.
Pinder and Brown finished second and third respectively for silver and gold medals. They are again among the medal favorites. In the men's high jump, Donald Thomas and Trevor Barry are tried and tested competitors. Thomas has a quality resume. He has been a World Champion (2007) and a gold medal winner at the Commonwealth Games, Pan American Games and the Central American and Caribbean Games.
Barry recently got out of Thomas' shadow and emphasized the point with a bronze medal at the 2011 World Championships. Ryan Ingraham is the other Bahamian scheduled to high jump in London.
"I think this is an incredible opportunity for The Bahamas to have three world class athletes in this event, including Ryan Ingraham. So,we look forward to great things from them," said Knowles.
Leevan Sands, the veteran triple jumper will try to get back to the medal podium. He won the bronze at the Beijing Olympics of 2008.
There is a youth/veteran blend among the female sprinters that is exciting. Anthonique Strachan, Sheniqua Ferguson, Nivea Smith,(maybe Shaunae Miller), Cache Armbrister, along with original Golden Girls Chandra Sturrup and Debbie McKenzie combine for a great element. If all goes well in the early rounds and they get to the final, they will be dangerous.
Swimmer Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace looks to be a certain finalist in her sprint specialties. In boxing, there is a caveat. Valentino Knowles and Carl Hield are two of the best amateur boxers in the world. They are highly ranked in the light welter and welterweight divisions respectively.
Ranking won't carry them through. They've got to do it in the ring in the final qualification tournament this coming May in Brazil.
Overall though, Knowles has good reasons to have optimistic expectations.
BOC Secretary General Romell Knowles' Olympic overview concludes tomorrow in this space. To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at firstname.lastname@example.org.
There were a lot of high hopes for this year's CARIFTA swim team going into Aruba, and after the first day of competition, the young swimmers are certainly living up to the hype. They are showing that the praise is justified.
After day one of the 29th CARIFTA Swimming Championships in Savaneta, Aruba, The Bahamas sat atop the leaderboard with 163 points. Trinidad & Tobago was second with 124.50 points and host country Aruba rounded out the top three with 124 points.
Trinidad & Tobago leads the medal standings, but the CARIFTA Swimming Championships is based on points. Trinidad & Tobago has 10 total medals - six gold, two silver and two bronze. The Bahamas is second in the medal standings with 14 total medals - four gold, six silver and four bronze, and Aruba is third in the medal standings with 13 total medals - three gold, three silver and seven bronze.
The swimmers who were expected to have big time performers have come through for the team so far, swimming with confidence and poise. Some wondered if the pressure placed on them would be too much, but the young team has managed to work itself into contention for the top prize - an accolade Bahamian swimming has never achieved at the CARIFTA level.
Last year's squad did not perform as expected, as many of them struggled against regional competition. For the returning members of the team, it served as a learning experience. It was a lesson in how to deal with pressure, and it also served as an incentive for the swimmers to push themselves and each other harder, because they now know what it takes to shine in regional competition.
After capturing 14 medals on the first day, the team has grown tighter as a unit, and that could only give the swimmers more confidence moving forward.
The performances so far also serve as a testament for the work that Head Coach Andy Knowles and his team are doing with this group. They are making sure that the young swimmers are well prepared for this year's CARIFTA Swimming Championships.
Margaret Albury Higgs was one of those swimmers who had a lot of high expectations, and on the first day of competition she dominated the 13-14 girls 200 meters (m) breaststroke. She finished the race in a time of 2:41.04, seven seconds ahead of second place finisher Rebecca Lashley of Barbados.
Laura Morley also continued to make her mark as one of the strongest swimmers in the region after her first place finish in the 15-17 girls 200m breaststroke.
The Bahamas has managed to field an athlete in almost every final, which shows the strength and depth of this year's team. Coach Knowles felt extremely confident that this group was going to be special, and so far they are proving that they have what it takes.