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The Bahamas sprint teams in struggle to qualify for Olympics

SHELDON LONGLEY
Guardian Sports Editor
slongley@nasguard.com

Published: May 17, 2012

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If The Bahamas has any hopes of being represented in the sprint relays at the London Olympics, our athletes would have to get faster... much faster.

As it stands now, neither the men nor women’s 4x100 meter (m) relay teams are on the radar as far as Olympic qualification is concerned. Both teams are not in the top 20, with time running out to post qualifying times. Only the top 16 aggregate times will qualify for the London Olympic Games.

At the fourth leg of the Brazilian Athletics Tour in Sao Paulo yesterday, The Bahamas entered a team in the men’s 4x100m relay.  The team of Antillio Bastian, Jamial Rolle, Jonathan Farquharson and national record holder Derrick Atkins placed fourth in 39.77 seconds. The top time for The Bahamas in that event this year is 39.68 seconds, done by the team of Michael Mathieu, Rolle, Warren Fraser and Farquharson at the Penn Relays. The problem is the team needs to run around 39 seconds flat, twice, if it has any hopes of qualifying for the Olympics, which means The Bahamas team would probably have to run two national record times. The present national record is 38.98 seconds, done by the team of Iram Lewis, Renward Wells, Dominic Demeritte and Sylvanus Hepburn, in Montauban, France in 2000. Lewis said he certainly believes that a squad can get the job done this year, and it’s just a matter of them coming together at the right time.

“When we set the national record, there was a guy on the team who was running around 11 seconds, so I know that those guys can get the job done,” said Lewis yesterday. “Right now, they have the foot speed and they have the talent, and they appear to be healthy as well. It’s just a matter of them putting it together at the right time and having a quality performance. They just have to develop that chemistry, and once they do that, their chances will be very good. They might have to break the national record to do it, but they have the talent to do so.”

China, which held the 16th and final spot in the men’s sprint relay at the last ranking for the London Olympics, has an average time of 39.01 seconds in two races. Right now, The Bahamas is not even close to that.

The Bahamas’ women’s 4x100m relay team has a season’s best time of 44.14 seconds. That time was turned in by the quartet of V’Alonee Robinson, Nivea Smith, Sheniqua Ferguson and Anthonique Strachan at the Penn Relays this year. China once again occupies the 16th and final spot according to the last relay ranking for the London Olympics. They have an average time of 43.96 seconds. The Bahamas isn’t listed in the top 20.

Also competing at that Caixa Grand Prix meet in Sao Paulo, Brazil yesterday, was long jumper Bianca Stuart. She failed to get off a good jump as she scratched on all four of her attempts. In the men’s 100m, Bastian was 14th overall, in 10.68 seconds, and in the women’s 100m, Sheniqua Ferguson was sixth overall, in 11.47 seconds.

On the next side of the world, in Daegu, South Korea, Trevor Barry returned to the venue where he won the country’s only medal at last year’s world championships, and came away with a first place finish in his specialty, the high jump. Barry cleared 2.25m (7’ 4-1/2”) to win the men’s high jump, at the Colorful Daegu Championships Meet, in Daegu. He has a season’s best leap of 2.27m (7’ 5-1/4”).

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