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LONDON, England - The Bahamas hasn't had two male sprinters qualify for the Olympic Games 'A' standard in quite a while, but national record holder Derrick Atkins got through with a 10.09 clocking earlier this year and Warren Fraser made sure he wasn't left out.
About three weeks before the BTC/Scotiabank Olympic Trials, Fraser ran 10.18 seconds at the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Championships, matching the 'A' standard and ensuring that he would be on The Bahamas' Olympic team heading to London.
With that timely run, Fraser not only qualified for the 30th Olympic Games, but he also tied Rudy Levarity, Renward Wells and Andrew Tynes as the second fastest Bahamians ever behind Atkins. Fraser is looking to run even faster here in London, England in his first Olympic Games.
"It's great," said Fraser in an interview about the time he's having thus far.
"I'm very excited to run. This is a whole new level of competition so I just have to be ready to run. I started off kind of late this year, but I noticed myself getting faster coming down to the end of the season. I just was glad I qualified 'A' standard. I was very pleased with my performance, and hopefully I can improve on that here in London."
Despite coming into the Olympic Trials with the second fastest time among Bahamians, Fraser settled for third in a subpar 10.61 seconds, but that was done into a strong headwind.
Nevertheless, he said he is in top form here in London. He knows that he will have to set a new personal best in order to move through the rounds.
"It's going to be extremely tough to make it through," said Fraser.
"I know this is my first Olympics, but I'm going all out. I think you have to, in order to make it through the rounds. There are a lot of good sprinters out there but I'm just going to focus on what I need to do, and hopefully, I can make it through. If I can run a personal best each round, I think I will be fine."
Fraser was part of the men's sprint relay pool that had a realistic shot of qualifying for the Olympics this year. Unfortunately, those hopes and aspirations died as the team struggled to get the right mix together.
Even when it seemed like they had four capable sprinters, an unfortunate injury or an untimely mishap prevented them from running a time fast enough to qualify for the Olympics.
In the 4x100-meter (m) heats at the Thomas A. Robinson Track Classic, in June, National Junior Collegiate Athletic Association (NJCAA) double sprint champion Shavez Hart pulled up with an apparent hamstring injury. In the final, with Johnathan Farquharson running for Hart, lead-off leg Fraser got tangled up with the runner in his lane on the first exchange, and The Bahamas' 'A' team never finished the race.
The Bahamas had one final chance of qualifying, as the team of Fraser, Trevorvano Mackey, Jamial Rolle and Marcus Thompson, took part in a last chance qualifier in Jamaica. The time they posted wasn't nearly fast enough for them to qualify for the Olympics, however.
"I think the main issue was trying to get everyone together because a lot of the runners were in school so the chemistry was missing," said Fraser.
"Also, people had injuries and weren't peaking at the right time."
Fraser said that he would have loved the team to qualify but it just wasn't meant to be. As for the 100m, he's extremely optimistic about his chances of moving through the rounds.
The heats of the 100m will be held on Saturday, August 4, and the semi-finals and final on Sunday, August 5.
LONDON, England - There is probably no one more loved in the history of Bahamian athletics than Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie.
The Bahamian "Golden Girl" who comes limping into what is her fifth and probably final Olympics, said that it's a thrill to once again represent The Bahamas on the world's biggest stage for athletics, and she will do so with honor.
It's amazing that in her fifth consecutive Olympics, Ferguson-McKenzie has qualified for the 'A' standard in both short sprints, and she is also expected to be a significant part of the women's 4x100-meter (m) relay. She's still trying to recover from a bone bruise in her right ankle, which hampered her all year, but she said that nothing is going to cause her to miss the 30th Olympic Games in historic London.
"Just to be here at the games is a blessing," she said in an interview.
"Being here with the past and also the future of the sport is a great feeling, and hopefully we can have one of our best Olympic Games ever.
"The development of the athletes that we are doing at home is definitely working. Whatever we are doing, we need to keep doing it because when I was young, the majority of the team were veterans. Now, we can see where the guard is changing. It's working and we need to keep doing it."
What Ferguson-McKenzie refered to was that half of The Bahamas' 26-member team is under the age of 25, including a number of 'A' standard qualifiers. Two of them, Anthonique Strachan and Sheniqua Ferguson, are expected to be key figures in the women's sprint relay team.
As for Ferguson-McKenzie, she has already made history as the only sprinter ever, male or female, to make the final of both the 100m and 200m at three consecutive Olympiads. As it stands now, she is going for an unprecedented fourth straight in London. The bone bruise in her ankle might slow her down a bit, but it certainly won't be enough to keep her off the track. She loves her country too much and will do everything she can to see that The Bahamas once again excel at the games.
"Well, I'm going to give it all I can," said the veteran sprinter.
"It's still there [the bone bruise] and it still bothers me a bit, but I'll be ready to compete. I'm going to be out there and will do the best that I can."
It is possible that as the competition nears, she might decide to drop the 100m and focus on just the 200m, which has always been regarded as her better event. Ferguson-McKenzie did that last year at the Daegu World Championships and made another major meet final, eventually placing sixth in 22.96 seconds.
For Ferguson-McKenzie, these Olympics are all about enjoying herself and doing her best. Because of her ankle injury, she might not be able to go out with a bang the way her mentor Pauline Davis-Thompson did in 2000, but she'll do it gracefully feeling satisfied that she has accomplished what she set out to achieve in the sport of athletics.
She's a former individual World Champion, a former Olympic relay champion, a former World relay champion, and a former Pan Am and Commonwealth Games champion, just to list a few of her accomplishments. She has mentored countless young athletes, and has served on the International Association of Athletic Federations' (IAAF) Athlete's Commission.
Ferguson-McKenzie has tasted success at every level and the accolades continue to pour in. Even with the conclusion of these Olympic Games, her career won't be over. She has plans for her swan song to be at next year's World Championships in Moscow.
When she departs, by all accounts, she will certainly be missed. At the end of the day there were few, if any, more passionate about The Bahamas and Bahamian athletics than Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie.
Veteran basketball squad, the Boomer G. Angels, proved to the young Super Value Lady Cybots that the race is not for the swiftest, but the team that endures to the end.
The two teams took to the court in the featured game in the New Providence Women's Basketball Association (NPWBA) on Saturday night. The Lady Cybots opened up a 10-point lead early in the first quarter, but were reeled back in by the Angels. They came storming back to tie things up at 13 in the first quarter. The early lead turned out to be the last for the Lady Cybots. The Angels got off to a sluggish start, but finished strong to keep their blemish-free season going. The 66-55 come-from-behind win solidified their top spot in the standings in the league this year.
The Angels picked up where they left off, in the second, by adding five points to their 13 unanswered in the first. They were on an 18-0 run before Taniel Poitier netted a short jumper. The Lady Cybots pick off a pass from Diasti Delancey and converted it into two points to stop the 18-0 run. Tiffany Wildgoose broke up a pass that was intended for Ashley Moss.
Tracey Lewis, Wildgoose and Poitier triggered a run for the Lady Cybots, bringing the squad within striking distance, but Delancey's ball handling skills were just too much for the Lady Cybots to contain. Delancey alongside Moss and Suzette McKenzie shared the 17 points scored in the quarter, and held the Lady Cybots to 13.
Point guard Delancey would continue to pick apart the Lady Cybots. She kept the team on their toes, forcing them to step up and guard her. When she wasn't taking the ball strong to the hole, Delancey passed it on to her teammates so they can get the job done. She led her team with 18 points, five boards, three assists, two steals and two blocks. A combined effort by the team, has head coach Anthony Swaby smiling and confident about the remainder of the season.
"We went down in the opening quarter because we went out there and played individual ball, it was all about that player not the team," said Swaby. "We were not moving the ball and we were not getting back to play defense. Where they are so quick, that played right into their hands, but once we settled down and played, we were okay.
"That's history. Everyone wants to beat the Angels. For some reason, regardless of the way teams play different squads, for some reason when they play us, they always bring their 'A' game. We need to come out here every night and take it one game at a time. We need to prepare mentally knowing that when you go in the playoffs, it's one shake, and you're out."
After the big start, Wayde Watson, head coach for the Lady Cybots believe that they missed too many opportunities. As a result, they were not able to hold on to the lead they established early in the game.
"We missed a lot of free throws and a lot of putbacks, but the strategy worked," said Watson. "Some of the players coming off the bench were ready to play so some of the starters could have a little breather so we can be able to pull this game off tonight. Our starting point guard was out with an injury.
"If she was able to get in there we would have played more aggressively on the defensive end but she was unable to go tonight. We used what was there, who were there. We did a good job, but we just lost.
"I am not disappointed. Our girls are very young and it shows that we can compete with anyone in this league. We've figured out a way to beat them, but we just couldn't beat them tonight.
"I am pleased with the start and sometimes when you have that second unit go on the court, they hold or expand the lead, or sometimes they let it slip. They weren't able to keep up the same level of intensity and they let it slip tonight."
The top scorer for the Lady Cybots was Lewis with 19 points. Wildgoose and Poitier chipped in with 11 and 10 points respectively. The Angels have already clinched the pennant. The defending champions, the Four J's Cheetahs, are sitting in the second spot in the standings.
For the Commonwealth Bank Giants, the mission to three straight New Providence Basketball Association (NPBA) Championships moves into high gear tomorrow night.
The Giants are expected to play in the feature game when the much anticipated playoffs get underway tomorrow night at the C.I. Gibson Gymnasium. For Head Coach Perry 'Color' Thompson, it's going to be business as usual. He's confident that once his boys come out there and execute like they normally do, they would have no problems with their first round opponent, the Y'Cares Wreckers.
"We're confident but we're not over-confident," said Thompson yesterday. "I think that it's important to be optimistic but we have to be careful not to be over-confident because all the teams in the playoffs are beating up on one another right now. We just have to continue to be aggressive. We're going to try a few different things, but for the most part we're just going to continue doing what we normally do. It starts on the defensive end so we have to continue to bring the pressure and let our offense feed off that."
Thompson didn't get into the details of their game plan, but it is expected that their defense will pick up a notch. It always do come playoff time. They won the John Archer Division pennant race, finishing with a win/loss record of 12-4. Their mini three-game series against the Wreckers (9-7) starts tomorrow night.
The Giants and Wreckers split two games during the regular season, with the Wreckers winning the first meeting early in the season, and the Giants convincingly taking the second contest on Saturday night, the final night of the regular season. Michael 'Furley' Bain and Mark Hanna paced the Giants with 25 points apiece in that regular season finale - a 121-107 beat down of the Wreckers on Saturday night. Newcomer Jackson Jacobs added 19 points and Adrian 'Log' Miller contributed 13.
The Wreckers were led by Kevin Smith in that game with 25 points. Tavaris Roker had 18, and Ramano King contributed 17. The Wreckers are quite capable of beating any team on the league on any given night, so Thompson knows that it's imperative that they get off to a fast start in the short series.
"The first game is always key," said Thompson. "We feel that we match up well with them, so we're looking forward to some good things. We lost Jeremy (national team player Jeremy Hutchinson), Eugene (Horton) and Dencil Edgecombe, but we had some additions who I think are ready to step up. Gamaliel (Rose) is ready to step it up and give us some good minutes in the playoffs. The team that executes better will be victorious. Once our guys remain injury free, that is the main thing for us. We are trying to three-peat, and we are very confident that we will be able to do that. We are looking forward to some exciting things," he added.
Some of the new players the Giants added in the offseason are sharp shooter Jacobs, and forward Nico Scavella and Marvin Barr. The other playoff match-ups will be the P.J Stingers (11-4) taking on the Police Crimestoppers (9-7), the MailBoat Cybots (14-2) going up against the BTC Digitals (7-9), and The Real Deal Shockers (10-5) going to battle against the Phil's Rockets (7-9).
The NPBA is on a tight schedule this year as the playoffs and championship have to be finished in time for the Bahamas Basketball Federation (BBF) Round-Robin Championships, set for April 19-21, in Bimini.
LONDON, England - The Bahamas' fastest man ever is on the way back!
He might not have broken through and made the Olympic final, but he posted his fastest time in four years in the semis, and vows to regain top form for next year's World Championships, and beyond.
Derrick Atkins finished fourth in his semi-final heat of the men's 100 meters (m) on Saturday night, in 10.08 seconds, but only the top two from each heat and the next two fastest times moved on to the final. A total of seven of the eight who advanced to Sunday night's final ran under 10 seconds. World record holder Usain Bolt of Jamaica was just fantastic in the final, as he turned in the second fastest time ever in winning the gold medal in 9.63 seconds. Countryman Yohan Blake captured the silver as he matched his personal best of 9.75 seconds, and American Justin Gatlin set a new personal best time as he held off fellow American Tyson Gay, in 9.79 seconds, compared to a season's best of 9.80 for Gay.
As for national record holder Atkins who has blazed to 9.91 in his career, he's just happy to be back on track after taking all of 2011 off to recover from injuries. He knows that it's going to be a gradual process back, but he's prepared to put in the work to get there.
"I came up a little short, but it was a season's best for me, and the fastest that I have ran in about three years, so I was happy about that," he said. "I'm happy that I got the opportunity to represent my country on the biggest stage for athletics. I'm very proud to be Bahamian and leading the men's sprints for The Bahamas. Hopefully, in Rio the men's sprints will be a force to reckon with."
There's no doubt he plans on working hard to reach the next Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in four year's time. He'll be 32 by then, but as long as he stays healthy, he has no doubt that he will be able to regain top form and compete with the world's best.
"It feels good to wear the aquamarine, gold and black. There's no doubt about that," he said. "I'm just going to build off this and come back stronger. This race tonight is just one of those situations where I should have kept my composure. I tried to press and go faster after I came off my drive phase but it just wasn't to be."
Atkins had the slowest reaction time in the field but he got into his drive phase quickly, and was still very much in contention at the 50-meter mark. At that point, Jamaican silver medalist Blake started to pull away. Former World Champion Tyson Gay, who was also in that heat, went with him, and British teenager Adam Gemili edged Atkins for third.
"I feel pretty good about the race," said Atkins. "It's going to be a gradual process for me, in terms of working myself back. These guys out there have been running at an optimum level all season. I went out there and executed my race the best way I can. I'm a competitor and I came to compete.
"It's just that the field was stacked tonight, and every semi-final was stacked. You had to go out there and run a PR (personal best) or national record just to make it through. At this point it's always tough, but you have to go out there and compete. You have to run your race. I tried that but just didn't make it through this time."
Three Americans and three Jamaicans ran in that very fast final on Saturday night, and all eight athletes with the exception of Asafa Powell, who seemed to have pulled up with an apparent hamstring injury, ran under 10 seconds. Coincidentally, former world record holder Powell, has the record for the most sub-10 races, having posted 87 in his career.
Former World Championships silver medalist, Atkins, who defeated Powell in one of those sub-10 races, said that he would have loved to run in that men's 100m final on Saturday night, but it just wasn't to be this time around. He's confident that he will eventually regain top form though, and he's aiming for next year's World Championships, in Moscow, Russia.
LONDON, England - One of the questions surrounding Team Bahamas has been the health and fitness of Shaunae Miller.
The national junior record holder has qualified for the Olympic 'A' standard in both the 200 and 400 meters (m), but will run her specialty, the 400.
Shaunae was troubled by an ankle injury which caused her to miss the BTC/Scotiabank Olympic Trials in June, and she finished fourth in the event at the World Junior Championships in early July. But according to her coach and father, Shaun Miller, who is part of Team Bahamas' coaching staff, Shaunae is almost at full strength and anticipates that she will represent The Bahamas well.
"Well, we just had a light workout and everything looks pretty good," said Shaun in an interview.
"She's still not 100 percent yet, but she looks pretty good and is ready to run. We're hoping for some good races out of her. That will make her feel good and give her some confidence going into next season."
The former World Junior and current World Youth Champion was unavailable for comment, but her father said she is right where she needs to be in this stage of her development, and The Bahamas need not worry about her fitness level for these games.
Shaunae is the only Bahamian to ever hold individual World Junior and World Youth titles at the same time, and the only person in the world to have done it in that order.
Miller ran a personal best time of 22.70 seconds in the 200m in March, and broke her own junior national record by running 51.25 in the 400m in May.
She was unable to successfully defend her 400m title at the World Juniors in Barcelona, Spain this year, as she finished fourth in 51.78 seconds. American world junior leader Ashley Spencer won the race, in a championships record of 50.50 seconds; Kadecia Baird, of Guyana, was second in 51.04 seconds, and American Erika Rucker won the bronze medal, in a personal best time of 51.10 seconds.
Shaun Miller is responsible for training three other athletes at these games: Andrae Williams and Wesley Neymour, who are both listed for the men's 4x400m relay, and Amara Jones, who is part of the women's 4x100m relay pool.
"I'm just looking for them to get on the track and run some good races," Shaun said.
"They might not get to run, but that is something that would be in the hands of the relay coaches. All of the teams are looking very well, so you can't take certain things for granted. The athletes I have here, I just know that they are ready to run, so hopefully they would get a chance to do that."
The athletics portion of the Olympics get underway on Friday at Olympic Stadium. As for Shaunae, she will run in her opening round of the 400m on Friday at noon.
LONDON, England - Bahamian national team coaches made a decision to go with the 'A' team in the men's 4x400-meter (m) heats at these 30th Olympic Games and to say the result was tremendous would be an understatement. The only hope of Bahamians is that they have something left for the final.
The squad of Ramon Miller, Demetrius Pinder, Michael Mathieu and Chris Brown, in that order, ran the fourth fastest time ever by a Bahamian mile relay team. The team qualified for the final, in 2:58.87, an identical time as the United States who was in that same heat. It was tied as the fastest time in the world this year, and the top time going into the final. Trinidad and Tobago was the third fastest qualifier, in 3:00.38.
The only times The Bahamas has run faster was the gold medal win at the 2001 World Championships, and the silver medal winning runs of the 2005 World Championships and the 2008 Olympics.
National record holder Chris 'The Fireman' Brown said that they have a lot left in the tank though. He's optimistic that they will be able to run a 2:57 or even lower in the final tonight. The national record is 2:57.32, done by the team of Nathaniel McKinney, Avard Moncur, Andrae Williams and Brown at the 2005 Helsinki World Championships.
"This is just a taste of things to come," said Brown. "Everyone is healthy and we're feeling good. We did what we needed to do which was to go out there and secure a good lane for the final. I think that we could really come out tomorrow and execute - run a national record or a season's best or something like that. We're all in good shape and just looking forward to tomorrow."
Brown, who finished fourth, again, in the open quarter here in London, received the baton with about a two to three meter lead on American Bryshon Nellum, and said that he just paced himself around the track knowing that The Bahamas was in a good position to qualify and get a good lane in the final. The Bahamas will run out of lane six in the final tonight and the United States will be one lane ahead, in lane seven. That race will be held at 9:20 p.m. London time.
"I wasn't trying to press it because I know that tomorrow I will definitely have to come at 100 percent," he said. "Once I saw that my guys had it secure, I just went out there and finished executing the race. I felt him (Nellum) but for him, he might have been all out. I was just taking my time because I know that my teammates were going to help us get into the final so I wasn't going out there to kill myself. I just put it in reserve and brought it all in."
Miller got The Bahamas off to an excellent start running out of lane eight. He handed off first and Pinder widened the gap on the second leg.
"Well I just was playing it smart," he said. "This is my fifth year on the team so I pretty much know how to handle my leg now. I know that tomorrow, we'll definitely have to run. I just have to go out there, win my leg and help my teammates.
"The plan was to separate ourselves from the other teams just to avoid all of that fighting for position that is be going on in the middle of the pack. It was unfortunate what happened to those two teams (Kenya and South Africa) but that's just how it goes sometimes."
Kenya and South Africa got tangled up on the second leg of the relay and fell to the ground, taking them out of contention for a final spot. Also of note, was that the Dominican Republic, featuring open quarter silver medalist Luguelin Santos and 400m hurdler gold medalist Felix Sanchez, was disqualified, and Jamaica failed to finish after their second leg runner Riker Hylton pulled up with an injury. Only the top three in each semi-final heat and the next two fastest times advanced to the final. At last year's Daegu World Championships, coaches made a critical mistake as they excluded the three fastest Bahamians, according to times ran in 2011, from the heats of the relay. The team finished ninth and failed to qualify for the final. They were not going to make that same mistake this time.
"You can't come out at these games half-stepping, and second guessing. The coach made the decision to go with the 'A' team and we went with that," said Miller. "We just went out there and did what we had to do."
Pinder probably had the most impressive leg for the team. He got the stick slightly ahead and widened the margin to at least a 10-meter lead going into the third leg.
"For me personally I feel like I have something to prove because I didn't do as well as I wanted to in the open 400," said Pinder. "I just want to thank God for the opportunity to run and for getting me and my teammates into the final. We're definitely coming to bring it. We'll just go back now and rest for tomorrow. We're coming to run. We like our chances."
Mathieu surrendered the lead as American Tony McQuay ran a splendid quarter to pass him coming into the home stretch, but Mathieu chased him down and gave Brown a slight cushion going into the final exchange.
"Well, it has been months since my last 400 meters so I was just trying to hold down my leg as good as possible," said Mathieu. "I think we'll need to run a little bit quicker in the final, but overall, it was okay. McQuay, he's pretty good. He ran 44.4 this year, so I knew that he would be one of the guys who would be up there. I'm not bothered though. We have a lot more left in the tank. We're prepared to go faster in the final." he added.
Earlier this season, Mathieu decided to drop the 400 and focus solely on the 200m going into the London Olympics. After months of speed work which led to a national record in the event, he came into these Olympics and false started in the semi-finals of the 200m. He said that it was extremely disappointing, but he's looking forward to making amends in the 4x400m relay.
Tonight, The Bahamas goes after history. The United States hasn't lost a men's 4x400m relay on the track in 60 years - that's a span of 11 straight gold medals with the exception of 1972 when they withdrew, the boycotted Olympics of 1980, and 2000 when the team was disqualified for the use of performance-enhancing drugs.
LONDON, England - The question being asked by Bahamians here in London is: What else could possibly go wrong?
It was a rough night for The Bahamas as the team's final hope for an individual medal disappeared with what appears to be a major injury, and the women's sprint relay team fell one spot short of advancing to the final.
'Superman' Leevan Sands was in fifth place when he went onto the runway for his fourth jump in the men's triple jump competition Thursday night. On the step phase of his attempt, his knee appeared to buckle. Not able to maintain his body weight, and the pressure he applied during the step phase, he came crashing down into the pit.
With that, The Bahamas' hopes for an individual medal all but vanished. But, more importantly, was the question of the health of one of The Bahamas' most productive athletes over the past decade.
Sands was taken off on a stretcher and transported by ambulance to the medical clinic at the Athlete's Village, where he was met by his mother and wife. According to reports, up until midnight, they were still awaiting initial test results.
"At this point, we're just hoping that Leevan is fine and it's nothing career threatening," said the manager of the track team Ralph McKinney late last night reports. "The good thing is that it didn't appear to be dislocated, probably just some ligament damage. No bones were protruding or anything like that. It's still swollen so as it stands now, they are going to have to wait until the swelling goes down before a MRI or X-ray is done. Right now, he is just resting and spending time with his family."
Sands was aiming to become the first Bahamian to ever win individual medals at successive Olympics. He was the fourth to make the final of an individual event at successive Olympics. He still ended up fifth in the competition with a best leap of 17.19 meters (m) - 56' 4-3/4". American World Champion Christian Taylor, the fourth best jumper of all-time, won the gold medal Thursday night with a tremendous leap, of 17.81m (58' 5-1/4"), and his former University of Florida jumping partner, Will Claye also of the United States, took the silver with a best leap of 17.62m (57' 9-3/4"). A pair of Italians, Fabrizio Donato and Daniele Greco, finished third and fourth respectively, with jumps of 17.48m (57' 4-1/4") and 17.34m (56' 10-3/4").
For Sands, his best jump came on his second attempt. It was on his third attempt, when he initially appeared to injure his knee. After completing a jump of 17.12m (56' 2"), Sands limped out of the pit. Anybody who knows the Bahamian national record holder though, knows that Sands wouldn't quite until someone literally carried him off the field. Unfortunately, that is exactly what happened.
"It was heart-breaking to see that because I know that he wanted this real bad," said veteran sprinter Chandra Sturrup. Sturrup and the rest of the women's 4x100m team were leaving the track after their heat of the relay, when Sands' injury occurred.
"He was jumping real well, and this might have been our first medal in the games. It's very disappointing," she continued. "I'm just hoping that he's okay and will be able to recover from this. Everyone has really been behind the other on this team and we'll continue to do that. We haven't really been looking at the negative stuff that happened. We know that a lot of the members of the team are young and have many more years to go. They can redeem themselves."
A number of mishaps have occurred for Team Bahamas at these games. Michael Mathieu appeared primed to make the men's 200m final until he false started in the semis; Shamar Sands was on pace to win his heat when he went crashing into the seventh hurdle, and now Sands, The Bahamas' final hope for an individual medal, went down with what appears to be a severe knee injury. Up until his injury, he had three more jumps left in the competition, and hopes were high that he would pop a big one, and leap his way into history, and onto the medal podium.
After Sands' third jump, he was in fourth place in the competition. However, Taylor, who came within four centimeters last year of becoming just the third man to ever jump 18m (59' 0-3/4"), responded with his gold medal winning leap on his fourth attempt, knocking Sands down to fifth. He remained in that position, even after his unfortunate injury.
The Bahamas has won at least one medal at the past five Olympiads, and now that impressive streak is in jeopardy. All is not lost though. The country's final hope for a medal lies with the men's 4x400m relay team. The team qualified first, and will run out of lane six in the final at 9:20 tonight.
The year was 1994. That's the last time before this year that Debbie Ferguson was sort of pedestrian in the 100 meters and her specialty, the 200 meters. Back then, she was an up and coming, rising star of 18 and on the way to becoming one of the great sprinters of her era.
In 1994, she had advanced to 23.32 in the 200 meters and within a year, she registered a 22.86. In the 100 meters, she was at 11.48 in 1994 and the next year, she lowered her personal best to 11.19.
In London, she ran 11.32 to crash out of the first round of the 100 meters and for the 200 meters she finished her first round race in seventh place at 23.48. This time, she is a 36-year-old, coming off perhaps her toughest injury period ever, that resulted in about two months away from training.
When the Bahamian coaches in London entered the women's sprint team, I didn't expect much from Ferguson-McKenzie. Particularly in her 200 meters heat, obviously she was laboring and totally alien to the sprint sensation we have known her to be.
What's the good news?
Well, Ferguson-McKenzie has indicated that she will now focus on season 2013.
I detect quiet determination.
For me, the expectations are high.
This has been her lightest season in many years. Perhaps, her body has gotten some much-needed rest. What she should do now, is close out and prepare mentally for indoors next year. She has never placed much concentration on indoors but I believe she should begin her program earlier than usual next year.
We might never see the world champion 200 meters runner of 2001 again. I don't expect Ferguson-McKenzie to dip as low in the 200 meters as her national record of 22.19 ever again. I don't think she has her 100 meters PB of 10.91 in those legs any longer.
However, Ferguson-McKenzie can come back to elite form.
This Original Golden Girl is not ready to give it up...not by a long shot. Actually, I'm looking forward to following her return to form in 2013. I'm convinced he has another curtain call in her.
Over August 10-18, the 14th International Association of Athletics Federations World Outdoor Championships will be held in Moscow, Russia. That occasion could be kind of "swan song" like for Ferguson-McKenzie.
I wish Ferguson-McKenzie the very best. She has been marvelous for her country and is without a doubt one of world history's track icons. She has done a whole lot in the business of athletics.
Prepare though for some icing on the cake.
Best wishes Debbie!
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By RENALDO DORSETT
WITH floor general Latoya Thompson limited by a nagging groin injury, the defending champions now find themselves facing a deficit in the New Providence Women's Basketball Association (NPWBA) best-of-five championship series.
The Boomer G Angels dominated game three to take a 58-40 win over the Four J's Cheetahs at DW Davis gym on Saturday night.
The Angels moved ahead to take a 2-1 series lead after dropping game one.
Suzette McKenzie finished with 14 points and eight rebounds, Ashley Moss added eight points, 12 rebounds and four blocks, Malesha Peterson finished with nine points, while Sharelle Cash chipped in with ...