Let us support ‘our’ CARIFTA swim team!
Guardian Columnist/Sales Executive
Published: Apr 10, 2012
Beginning Thursday, April 12, the 2012 CARIFTA Swimming Championships will be hosted in this country at the Betty Kelly Kenning National Complex. This is definitely a time for solidarity and national support.
The young athletes placed into competition by the Bahamas Swimming Federation (BSF) have long been prime performers in the region. This year, converging on the capital island in the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, will be teams from Antigua & Barbuda, Aruba, Barbados. Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Dominica, French Guyana, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guyana, Jamaica, Martinique, the Netherlands Antilles, St. Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad & Tobago, Turks & Caicos Islands, the British Virgin Islands and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
This is a major regional sporting event and history has demonstrated that The Bahamas normally ends up among the top five squads, usually with Trinidad & Tobago, Guadeloupe, Martinique and Jamaica. It’s a given that Bahamians want the 2012 CARIFTA swim title to be won by the host team. We have the talent depth for sure. The BSF has done its utmost under trying financial circumstances to prepare the young national squad and the background is a “home” environment.
The stage is set for victory. Although it must be acknowledged that the other regional swimming powers will be bringing competitors with hopes for victory as well, the situation is ideal for The Bahamas. The big question that I have is whether the team will get a maximum push from home supporters.
Ironically, that’s always been the uncertainty for national sporting teams in hosting capacities. Across the board this has been the case in the past. Track and field, soccer, basketball, volleyball, boxing, tennis have not enjoyed the kind of support they ought to have gotten. In fact, with soccer and track and field, those in favor of Bahamian victories have mostly been outnumbered by supporters of visiting teams.
The challenge therefore goes out to The Bahamas to unite behind this representation effort of the swimming fraternity. The seating areas at the Betty Kelly Kenning complex should be jammed with supporters who are residents of New Providence and also representative groups from every island. This kind of national backing has been sadly missing.
Sports leaders like BSF President Algernon Cargill work so very hard at great cost, and make personal sacrifices to afford our young athletes the best opportunities to excel against their regional and world peers. Bahamians generally love to celebrate success. However there is the process along the way. The support in finance and visible presence at hosted events has been sorely lacking. Let’s make a change for the better! Let’s begin to demonstrate that change this coming weekend! Let’s go out in huge numbers and cheer President Cargill and company on to overall success.
• To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at email@example.com.