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Before young Shaunae Miller and Anthonique Strachan head off to their first Olympic Games, they will make a pit stop at the International Association of Athletic Federations (IAAF) World Junior Championships, where they are the favorites in their respective events.
Both have qualified in multiple events, but Miller will concentrate fully on defending her crown when the championships start on Bahamian Independence Day, July 10. The IAAF World Junior Championships will take place in Barcelona, Spain. A 25-member team is representing The Bahamas.
In the one individual event Miller will compete in, she has the second best time, 51.25 seconds, for juniors this year. American Ashley Spencer ran 50.95 seconds. Miller captured the gold medal, in 52.52 seconds, at the 13th annual championships held two years ago.
The quartermiler has opted out of running in the 200m, even though she has the best time so far on the season by all athletes entered. Fellow teammate Strachan's time of 22.75 seconds makes her the favorite now. She sits right underneath Miller who has the leading time of 22.70 seconds.
Strachan is the front runner in the 100m with her season's best of 11.22 seconds. Carmiesha Cox will contest both the 100m and the 200m events while Rashan Brown will join Miller in the 400m.
President of the governing body for the sport in the country, Mike Sands, said the team will give Bahamians more to celebrate this Independence Day. Looking at the ranking charts, released by the IAAF last week, Sands is confident that they are going to get the job done.
"There is no doubt that these athletes will give the country much more to celebrate," said Sands, head of the Bahamas Association of Athletics Associations (BAAA). "If they were to live up to their expectations and their performances seen this year, then we can expect some great things from them. I think The Bahamas will be in for a very special and pleasant Independence [Day] even after the celebrations are done. In some instances, if you look at the rankings, you would see that our athletes are among the top in the world on this level. That says a lot and speaks well about the expectations. It is a testament to the coaches themselves and the athletes. It shows their focus and dedication. The IAAF have a very stringent qualification mark so every athlete would have automatically met the IAAF qualifying standard."
The 25-member team is the largest ever fielded by the BAAA. This positive fact and the news coming in from the training camp which the team attended last week has left Sands smiling. Team Bahamas moved into the games village on Saturday, after an intense training camp in Barcelona.
He said: "The IAAF through the RDC, which is our development center for the region, set up a training camp for the athletes in this region. So a number of the athletes that were at Junior CAC went from that championships straight to the training camp. Up to the games, that will start on Independence Day, I believe that this team, the caliber of athletes and the qualifying positions on the junior world stage would make this the best team that The Bahamas has fielded."
The female athletes weren't the only ones sitting at number one on the listing. O'Jay Ferguson will settle into the blocks as one of the favorites in the 400m and Blake Bartlett in the 200m. Soaring his way to the number one spot was Ryan Ingraham who has cleared 2.28m, so far, this season. Twin brothers Latario and Lathone Collie-Minns were not about to be left out.
Latario has a best mark of 16.64m and Lathone landed 16.06m. The two are a shoe in for a medal at these games.
Up first for The Bahamas, on the opening day of competition, will be Moriel Pitt and Tre Adderley, lining up in the 110m hurdles event. The preliminary rounds of the boys' 100m will bring the first session on the opening day to a close. The Bahamas will be represented by Teray Smith and Anthony Farrington in that event.
The preliminary rounds of the boys' 400m will be the first event on the track, in the second session. This will be followed by the girls' 100m. Ferguson and Elroy McBride are the qualifiers for the boys' 400m while Strachan and Cox will take charge for Team Bahamas in the girls' 100m.
Lathone Collie Minns
Junior world leader in the girl's 100 meters (m) Anthonique Strachan cruised into the semifinals of the event yesterday, after winning her heat at the International Association of Athletic Federations (IAAF) World Junior Championships.
Running in heat seven, lane two, Strachan clocked 11.59 seconds for the win over Kadecia Baird of Guyana and Rachel Johncock of Britain, at the meet which is taking place in Barcelona, Spain. Both Baird and Johncock advanced to today's semifinals with Strachan. Lisa Wickham of Trinidad and Tobago was fourth and also qualified for the second round. Baird's time was 11.72 seconds, Johncock posted 11.75 seconds and Wickham stopped the clock at 11.98 seconds. Bahamian Tayla Carter lined-up in heat two, lane eight and ran 12.00 seconds which gave her spot in the semifinals.
The final for the 100m for girls will be ran later today.
After winning heat one, in 10.58 seconds, Teray Smith will line up for the semifinals for boys. Smith's time is one of the fastest heading into the next round. He got the best of Giovanni Galbierl and Siphelo Nggabaza who also advanced. Fellow countryman, Anthony Farrington ran 10.78 seconds which placed him fifth in heat eight. He did not advance.
In the semifinal round today, Smith will settle into the blocks in lane seven, heat one. Other representations from the English-speaking Caribbean, in that heat, are Cejhae Greene from Antigua and Barbuda and Jazeel Murphy from Jamaica.
Keeping the medal hopes alive for The Bahamas was O'Jay Ferguson, who crossed the line in 46.69 seconds for second in the 400m event. The winning time was 46.58 seconds ran by Machel Cedenio of Trinidad and Tobago. Elroy McBride ran in heat six of the one lap event and was seventh overall with 48.18 seconds. As for Ferguson, the time ran in the first round placed him in heat two, lane seven. Also running in that heat are American Arman Hall, Stephan James from Guyana and Cedenio. The semifinal will also be ran today.
Opening the competition for The Bahamas was Moriel Pitt and Tre Adderley running in the boys 110m hurdles event. Pitt turned in 14.25 seconds for a sixth place finish in the first heat. He did not advance to the second round. A time of 14.29 seconds was not enough to give Adderley a lane in the next round. He would place sixth in heat six. Teshon Adderley ran in heat three of the 800m, which was held in the opening session. He clocked 2:07.18 and was the sixth athlete in that heat to cross the finish line. He did not move onto the next round.
High jumper Ryan Ingraham heads into the event with the best performance by any junior male athlete, so far on the year. He will be 13th man up in the event which takes place today. Ingraham is the sole flag bearer for the country in the high jump event.
The inaugural International Association of Athletics Federation's (IAAF) World Relay Championships are just a few weeks away, and security measures at and around the stadium have already increased.
Surrounding the stadium now are barricades with security guards within 20 feet of each other, stopping each car that passes. Members of the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) are making their presence felt, with patrol cars circling the area, as well as officers on foot patrolling the premises. As the time draws nearer for the start of the world relays, security measures will be increased even more to guarantee the safety of the foreign press, athletes and fans.
"We will of course provide full security coverage for the entire country during this period, not just the events around the stadium. We will continue to secure your premises while you are away from home, as well as guarding you on your commute to and from the stadium. There are going to be lots of special patrols around the stadiums, in your neighborhoods and on the highways. There will be volumes of police officers saturating the streets to ensure that all avenues leading into the stadium are under police control," said Assistant Commissioner of Police Leon Bethel.
"These officers are there to identify and neutralize any potential problem immediately before it gets to the stadium. Once you get to the stadium we will mount checkpoints, police will be checking everyone at these points to ensure that no one brings in any types of offensive weapons that can be used to harm persons. These checkpoints will be manned by both uniformed and plain clothes officers. We are going to take all precautions to make sure that everyone in the stadium has been sterilized."
One of the major goals of the police and defense force units, as well as the Local Organizing Committee of the world relays (LOC), is to ensure that The Bahamas can host an event of this magnitude without any incidents occurring.
"I want the Bahamian people to know that no one who has a record, or is known by the police for various reasons, will be allowed in the stadium regardless if they have a ticket or not; those on ankle monitoring systems or those with any propensity to do crime will not be allowed near the stadium," said Bethel.
"In walking about the stadium you will see and feel the security we have put in place. This represents months and months of planning since our first work with the IAAF team in July of last year to plan the fencing around the stadium to secure it in sectors. We had some issues during CARIFTA last year, in terms of people walking about and going into areas that they should not have gone," said Senior Director of Security of the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) James Carey.
Carey was also the head of security for the CARIFTA Games last year. He was the one who put together the plans concerning how the security team would patrol and handle managing the grounds of
"The IAAF has certain standards and we are mandated to comply with those standards and put in place security in accordance with their standards," he said.
The security plans of the LOC not only had to go through the IAAF, but also through delegates from the various countries who are participating to ensure the safety of their people. Bethel and Carey have been in contact with many of the visiting countries crime leaders, going over their plans for securing the stadium as well as the security measures that will be taken around the rest of the country.
"The job of making sure that everything goes smoothly with the event is not only the job of the police force, but it is the job of every Bahamian to ensure that everything goes well. Events like this can do so much for the economy, and I am hustling hard to try and bring an event of this magnitude to the country every quarter. Every hotel is booked, which means taxis will make money, restaurants will be filled and shops will be making money, so I know that we will not let one person get in the way of what we have going on here," said Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Dr. Daniel Johnson.
"It is up to us to determine the kind of country that we want to live in, the economy is flat and we are looking for ways to bring in revenue, to get new money into the country, so we are trying fresh ideas and bringing new energy to the country trying to make things better for the Bahamian people. I know that my people will not let one joker spoil things for us," he said.
The high school qualifiers today will serve as a test of the security procedures that will be in effect May 24-25.
This coming weekend, the Freeport Rugby Club will once again be hosting a junior boys rugby team from the Cayman Islands. Last year's competition was a tremendous success with over 50 boys, from ages 8-12, coming together to play hard but fair. New friendships were made and some rivalries were created setting the stage for an even more amazing weekend this time around. To add to the fun and competition this year, there will also be a team from Bermuda to compete for the title of Junior Rugby Champions. Christopher Rowland from the Cayman Islands said: "It's going to be a lot of fun. Everyone is very excited on our side especially with the inclusion of another country - the kids are really looking forward to it especially the ones who came last year."
The format for the weekend will start with a round-robin competition between teams from The Bahamas, the Cayman Islands and Bermuda with a couple of 'Barbarian' sides for good luck. The 'Barbarian' teams will be made up of players from all of the countries mixing and matching thereby helping to develop teamwork, camaraderie and fair play. The games on Saturday will start at 11 a.m. and will continue until about 4 p.m. Following the games, the teams will then have a chance to mix at a pool party and a barbecue.
"On Sunday, we will be having the junior international games. The kick-off of the first game is at 11 a.m. and these will be played between full sides from each of the three countries to determine the overall champion," said Rob Speller, president of the Freeport Rugby & Football Club. He expressed his delight that the club could once again host the tournament. "It's great to be able to put on such an event that brings together these kids to play what is a great game. They have loads of fun, learn new skills and make new friends. It's fantastic," he said.
The years come and the years go. Still, baseball in The Bahamas remains in limbo. There is the Bahamas Baseball Federation (BBF) that has been doing a wonderful job, making vital contributions to the sport's national development process.
Congratulations must go out to the BBF for the magnificent ground work done by providing the competitive base for so many young boys (and some girls) throughout this country. The BBF has spawned collegiate stars, professional players, (one who made it all the way to the Major Leagues) and a Cal Ripken World Series championship squad.
The other organization is the pioneer Bahamas Baseball Association (BBA). Sadly, the BBA has been stagnant for far too long and is no longer considered a positive element. The BBA is largely the source of the "limbo" situation because the International Baseball Federation (IBF) still recognizes it as the parent body for the sport in the country.
That means only the BBA can process national teams for international play. The BBF has ignored BBA trials for regional and international events. As a result, the BBA sent a few teams that disgraced the tradition of the sport in this country. The BBA is a member of the Bahamas Olympic Committee (BOC). I understand that it is the BOC that can resolve the issue. I have been informed that the IBF has put the situation squarely in the hand of the BOC. Yet there has been no solution. The baseball limbo still exists. It's a sad state of affairs.
Jim Wood, the long-standing president of the BBA has been severely criticized and blamed as the person mostly set against the sport coming under one umbrella, in a democratic fashion. Wood, once an outstanding player in his younger days, has been a prominent part of baseball for over 50 years. That he loves the sport with a passion is not in doubt. Hopefully, at long last, Wood, his BBA executive associates and those from the BBF will work with the BOC to soon take the national baseball program out of limbo.
Meanwhile, many opportunities to seek to qualify to face the best in the world are being missed by The Bahamas. The third version of the World Baseball Classic comes up in March of 2013. The United States-based World Series still has the major clout in the sport. Without a doubt though, the WBC is the sport's largest international tournament. A qualification round is scheduled for later this year with the advancing countries getting into the main draw of next year's climactic tourney.
There is certainly the kind of baseball talent depth in this country that ordinarily would enable a national team to at the very least, enter the qualifying segment of the WBC. That can't happen though because our situation is not sorted out.
Australia, China, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, The Netherlands, Puerto Rico, the United States of America (USA), Venezuela, Canada, Chinese Taipei, Panama, and South Africa have engaged in the WBC from the outset. For the 2013 classic, the international group will be expanded with the inclusion of Great Britain, Colombia, Nicaragua, France, Brazil, Spain, Germany and New Zealand.
I believe The Bahamas could put together a team of amateur and professional players capable of qualifying for the WBC. We'll never get the opportunity though unless the "limbo" issue is resolved. Let's get to it BOC!
Ironically while we in The Bahamas are still at an impasse in baseball, the USA and Cuba, despite the (USA-imposed) embargo, see the benefits of coming together in the sport. The two countries have agreed to engage in a set of friendship contests. The USA will send a national collegiate team to Cuba for five games in July. Cuba will send its team to the USA next year.
Sports should indeed always be that common denominator. The BOC needs to preach that message to the two local baseball groups and pave the way for this country to be represented at the WBC and other regional and international tournaments.
To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at firstname.lastname@example.org
Freeport, Grand Bahama Island -
The Apple Elliott Band will be performing at
Rooster's this Saturday,
July 16th from 8:30pm - 11:30pm.
is Grand Bahama Island's newest sports bar and club featuring a large concert stage. Located immediately off the traffic circle past Fishing
Hole Road. Relax on the couches, sit at the large bar and watch games on
the many TV screens or sit intimately at a private table on the open
air dance area.
Following in the footsteps of its founder, Mr.
Edwin 'Apple' Elliott, the Apple Elliott Band continues to grace its
listeners with a wide variety of music...
The slugger and the potent runs batted in (RBIs) player are highly valued in baseball. It's simple. While pitching is indeed 70 percent of the game, runs win them.
During the decade of the 1970s a number of milestones were reached in the Bahamas Baseball Association (BBA). Teams played 42 games during the seasons. The Bahamas Baseball Federation (BBF) has no senior league play. Unless the BBA becomes vibrant again and increases the number of games per season, some of the records established during the last decade of the 'Golden Era of Baseball in The Bahamas' (the 1970s) will never be broken.
For today, let's just go down memory lane a bit and examine two particular records.
Firstly, Crestwell Pratt, playing for St. Bernard's, connected for 18 home runs in 1977. Glenroy 'Flo' Saunders won the home run title with a mere three in 1970. The baseball records have not always been well kept, but pundits say Will Culmer should be credited with around nine homers in 1976. Fred 'Papa' Smith is officially listed with 11 in 1978. There is no record of anyone coming closer to Pratt.
The picture is clear. Pratt was just awesome. He had those huge shoulders and when he turned on a ball that he hit squarely, it always went a long distance, 18 times, going outside of the park. Pratt dwarfed all others in the power department.
The previous year, Eddie Ford (Del Jane), Roosevelt Turner (Del Jane) and Dencil Clark (St. Bernard's) tied for the crown with six each. They captivated the crowds. They were considered to be in a power groove and fans watched eagerly when they stepped up to the plate.
The next season, Pratt took the league by storm. The 18 homers put him in a class all by himself. Noted local sluggers through the different eras like Barrie Farrington, Merril Rodgers, Edmondo Moxey, John 'Hercules' Dean, Colin Thompson, Culmer and Lorenzo Lockhart, pale in comparison. Pratt's 18-homer total is golden.
Also in 1977, a slick third baseman who always made good contact at bat, got hot in the clutch early and remained that way throughout the season. Fred 'Chicken' Taylor drove in 59 runs, a senior league baseball record in The Bahamas. The late Peter Bethel, for Holsten Knights in 1978, had 51 RBIs. His total remains closest to Taylor, according to official statistics compiled by sports historian Jeff Williams.
Lockhart had 43 in 1972. Taylor, in 1973 when he was with Beck's Beer, drove in 39 runs. For comparison to the record, Robert 'Moose' Sawyer of Beck's, led the league in 1970 with 14 RBIs. The standout performances of the 1970s contributed greatly to the excitement that was synonymous with baseball at the time.
Fans were treated to the expected and the unexpected thrills. For instance, 'Papa' Smith was an oddity. He always looked like he was struggling just to put one step in front of the other. He looked slow. That was one great deception. He was quick when he had to be, agile enough to steal 35 bases one year while playing professional ball in the Minor Leagues. He was not known previously for being one of the feared sluggers. Then, he hit 11 home runs in 1978.
Go figure that. Let's reflect on Turner. Fondly referred to as 'Bruso' or 'Dog', Turner had pure speed. In fact, when a visiting scout saw how quickly he motored down to first out of the batter's box, Turner almost immediately was signed to a pro contract. However, Turner was never known for power at the plate. Yet, he hit six 'dingers' in 1975.
How about that? That's what baseball in The Bahamas during the 1970s, was all about.
Milestone baseball statistics provided by Sports Historian Jeff Williams. To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at email@example.com.
Arguably the most successful sporting organization in the country over the past 60 years wrapped up its anniversary celebrations, on Sunday, with a grand reception honoring its founders and past presidents.
The Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA) was born out of the law office of the late great Bahamian Alfred F. Adderley, on May 6, 1952. It was established through the efforts of 13 founding fathers, including the only living founder today, Sir Orville Turnquest, and since that time, the organization has been led by 14 presidents including incumbent president Mike Sands. On Sunday, those gentlemen were recognized for the part they played in creating the BAAA and sustaining its growth and success over the years.
The event, which was held in the foyer of the new Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium, was well attended by past and present athletes, coaches, administrators and sporting enthusiasts. Family members of six of the founders were on hand, and received certificates and plaques in honor of the respective founder. All of the past presidents of the BAAA also received certificates, plaques and commemorative photos.
Sands, who served as president from 2006-08, and again from 2009-present day, said that it was only fitting that they honor those great men in this fashion.
"We were very pleased with the results of our efforts to recognize the founding fathers and past presidents of the BAAA," said Sands on Sunday. "Here we are celebrating 60 years of athletic and academic excellence, and the BAAA stand on the shoulders of those visionary men who sat in A.F. Adderley's office on May 6, 1952. They contributed greatly to not only track and field, but sports in general, and we wanted to give tribute to them in a very tangible way. There are a lot of family members and friends of the founders here, and most of the past presidents are here as well, and I'm very pleased that this evening turned out the way it did."
Sands, who will be running for office again in November of this year, said that through the efforts of the founders and past presidents that the BAAA was able to flourish athletically and academically for more than half of a century. Bahamian athletes have won gold medals at every level of track and field, and until the last Olympiad in Beijing, China, The Bahamas enjoyed a significant time period when the country was the per capita champion of the Olympic Games. Sands said that he welcomes all challenges to the president's chair this November, but at the same time wishes that more and more people will get involved with what is currently going on, thereby making a meaningful contribution.
"We always welcome volunteers because the organization runs on volunteers, but persons should not just seek office because they want to be a part of it," said Sands. "We appreciate volunteers because you can always contribute something to take the organization to the next level, instead of running for office because you might have a dislike for someone. Join us as opposed to fighting with us. We are open and we need more help and more support. A number of persons are expressing their interest in moving on and those voids have to be filled. We want to continue a normal progression and we are inviting people to join us and make that happen."
Between Sands' terms as president, Curt Hollingsworth served as interim president of the association. Past president Dr. Bernard Nottage, who today serves as the minister of national security and leader of government business in the House of Assembly, said that it was through the efforts of past BAAA President Winston 'Gus' Cooper, that the CARIFTA Games was brought to The Bahamas for the first time, and the country embarked on a significant journey since, that has not ended as yet.
"I just want to praise past president Gus Cooper for the vision to host the CARIFTA Games and take The Bahamas off on a journey toward athletic excellence," said Minister Nottage. "CARIFTA was held here for the first time in 1976, and we transformed it into a first class event.
"This great organization, the BAAA, has been led by persons who would have not only contributed toward athletic development, but national development as well. It has gotten better with each succession, and I want to congratulate all of the past presidents for all that you would have achieved and all that you are continuing to do. Also, I wish to offer you my support in your future endeavors. I can assure you that through the new minister of youth, sports and culture, myself and the prime minister, we will do our best to support you, and all sporting organizations, and that you can look forward to a government to provide sustainable support in the coming years."
Dr. Nottage said that The Bahamas, through the BAAA, was the main player in the 'one country, one vote' rule at the International Association of Athletic Federations (IAAF) level, and also played a major role in the decision to have the international age for juniors correspond with the CARIFTA age for juniors.
The founders of the association are Adderley, Sir Orville, Sir Kendal Isaacs, Sir Randol Fawkes, Edwin Davies, Fred Moultrie, Edward Mitchell, C.V. Bethel, Joseph Garfunkle, Reginald Farrington, Reginald Robertson, Cyril Richardson and Sir Gerald Cash.
The past presidents are Adderley, Richardson, Harold Munnings, Levi Gibson, Sir Arlington Butler, Enoch Backford, Winston 'Gus' Cooper, Dr. Nottage, Alpheus 'Hawk' Finlayson, Foster Dorsett, Desmond Bannister, Paul Adderley, Curt Hollingsworth and current president Mike Sands.
Nine records fell on the opening day of competition at the CARIFTA Swimming Championships, with one going to a member of Team Bahamas.
Starting the medal rush off for The Bahamas in the second session, held at the Betty Kelly Kenning National Aquatics Centre, was Joanna Evans in the 13-14 girls 800 meters (m) freestyle. Her golden performance was timed in 9:11.82, a new CARIFTA record. The old mark, 9:18.65, was set in 2007 by Bahamian McKayla Lightbourn. Trinidad and Tobago's Syriah David was second and Sariyah Sherry of Barbados finished third. Tremaine Allen of The Bahamas was 10th overall.
Margaret Albury Higgs captured the country's second gold, stopping the clock at 2:56.69 in the 11-12 girls 200 meters (m) breaststroke. Janice Martin won the silver and Kavanagh Lambert won the bronze. Martin's time was 3:01.60 and Lambert finished in 3:04.28.
It wasn't over for Evans who jumped right back into the pool in the 200m breast. Coming off the gold medal swim, she said: "It is really good because we have the crowd behind us and it is just a good experience. I hope to do it (break the record) heading into the event and started making plans a couple of months ago. I trained and came up with it so I am pleased. It was (the 200 breast) too close and I was a little tired in between the two, but if I can change anything I would probably go out a bit harder."
Evans placed eighth in 3:03.13. Teammate Allen just missed out on a medal in the event. She placed fourth behind Marianne Amory who won in 2:53.56. The second fastest time was 2:55.04 turned in by Gabrielle Hopkins of Jamaica and Kimberley Willoughby was third in 2:55.10.
Host country, The Bahamas, closed with four gold, three silver and seven bronze for a total of 14 medals. At the end of the day the team had accumulated 160 points. Guadeloupe is out front with 182, followed by Trinidad and Tobago with 174 points, and Aruba has 145 points. Jamaica is in fifth with 128 points.
A total of 15 medals were won by Trinidad and Tobago - six gold, six silver and three bronze. Guadeloupe have five gold, four silver and one bronze for a total of 10.
The Bahamas came up empty-handed in the boy's 200 breaststroke, in the 11-12 division. George Den Dunnen will take that gold medal back to Aruba. He won the event in 2:50.28. The silver medal will head to the U.S. Virgin Islands and the bronze to French Guyana.
Aruba picked up another gold, this one was in the 200 breaststroke for boys 13-14. Mikel Schreuders won in 2:38.51 and Raiz Joe A Tjon finished in 2:36.13. Drew Bastian, of The Bahamas, touched the wall ahead of teammate Zach Moses for the bronze. Bastian's time was 2:38.51 and Moses finished in 2:39.17.
Dustin Tynes closed the 200 breast finals off with a bang for The Bahamas, winning a bronze medal. His time was 2:26.06. The gold went to Aruba's Jordy Groters and it is a new CARIFTA record. In fact, all three of the top swimmers dipped under the record which was set in 1998 by Bahamian Jeremy Knowles. Groters finished in 2:23.68, and the silver was captured by Ross Phillips of Trinidad and Tobago. He recorded a time of 2:25.49.
The Bahamas was not represented in the final of the 50 backstroke for girls 11-12 and tried to make up in the boys division of the event. Clement Bowe was the sole competitor in the final for The Bahamas. He was eighth overall. A silver was captured by Leslie Campbell in the girls 13-14 division. She touched the wall behind Sue-Gin Arends of Aruba, in 33.57 seconds. The winning time was 33.83 seconds. Brienne Renfurm swam 33.23 seconds for the bronze.
Keeping the gold rush going for The Bahamas was Dionisio Carey who won the 13-14 boys 50m backstroke in 28.55 seconds. Jabari Baptiste and Guillaume Bolivard were second and third respectively. Bria Deveaux added a bronze to the medal haul. She was right behind the new record holder Kimberlee John Williams and Kristin Julien who pulled off the sweep for Trinidad and Tobago. John Williams' time was 30.95 seconds and Julien finished in 31.20 seconds. Coming into the final with the fastest time in the boys 50 backstroke in the 15-17 division was T'Auren Moss.
He picked up the fourth gold for The Bahamas out-touching Timothy Wynter and Dylan Carter. Moss stopped the clock in 27.62 seconds, Wynter got the silver in 27.80 seconds and the bronze went to Carter in 27.85 seconds. Winning the 100m butterfly in the 11-12 boys and girls divisions were Arielle Downes and Jesse Washington. Simone Sturrup picked up a bronze for The Bahamas in the 13-14 division. She clocked 1:07.37 in the 100m butterfly. Tyla Martin was the winner in that division.
Zabrina Holder of Barbados won gold in the 15-17 girls 100m butterfly. John Williams picked up the silver in 1:05.91 and Taryn Smith of The Bahamas secured the bronze. Smith's time was 1:07.08.
Arguably the best breast stroker in the region in her age group, and one of The Bahamas' best all-around CARIFTA swimmers, will not take part in the annual championships which will get underway this morning at the Betty Kelly Kenning National Aquatics Complex.
Laura Morley, last year's gold medalist in the 13-14 girls 100 meters (m) and 200m breast events, is undergoing tests at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. According to reports, the double gold medalist from a year ago is undergoing a biopsy of the brain in what has been ranked as the best children's hospital in the United States in recent years.
"She would have been a gold medalist for us in a number of events and we will surely miss her," said Bahamas Swimming Federation (BSF) President Algernon Cargill yesterday. "It's quite serious, but the preliminary reports from her parents are quite encouraging and very positive, so we expect good news in that regard. Our thoughts and prayers are with her and her family.
"Laura really was a catalyst on the team and we are using that as inspiration. She has fared extremely well from her very first CARIFTA, and now she is the best swimmer in her age group in a number of events, in the region. The kids are extending their thoughts and prayers toward her and her family. Nonetheless, we still expect the team to compete and do well here in our home pool."
The 27th annual championships will get underway at 9 a.m. today with the distance freestyle events in the girls and boys divisions. That will be followed by one of Morley's favorite events, the 200m breast, which will be contested in all six divisions. A total of 22 countries, including The Bahamas, are scheduled to take part in these swimming championships here in The Bahamas.
"It's certainly a joy to be here at home. The kids really want to swim well for Laura and defend their turf," said Cargill. "Our swimmers will get a chance to compete in front of the home crowd, and with this being an Olympic qualifying meet, all of the times will be recognized by FINA for the Olympic Games. There is a record number of teams and entries this year, but our team is well balanced and we expect them to compete and do extremely well."
Team Bahamas Head Coach Andy Knowles said that all of the swimmers have rallied around Morley, and intend to represent themselves and their country very well.
"It's very unfortunate but we're using it as a bit of motivation," said Knowles yesterday. "Our thoughts are with Laura but all we can do is to motivate ourselves to go out there and perform well. She can't be here with us this weekend, but we know that she would want us to put our best effort forward and produce some good times, so all of the kids are motivated to go out there and do their best."
The coaches on the team decided to stick with 35 swimmers instead of naming a replacement for Morley. Her events will be represented by just one Bahamian swimmer as opposed to two. The Bahamas finished third at last year's CARIFTA Swimming Championships in Bridgetown, Barbados, behind Trinidad & Tobago and Guadeloupe, and has consistently been in the top three over the past 10 years. The country has never won the overall championship, but came within the final swim of the 2007 championships in Barbados, of being declared the overall winner. If they had won that final event, the 15-17 boys 200m medley relay, they would have won the overall title.