|The Bahamas to bid for IAAF Relay Championships|
Guardian Sports Reporter
Published: Jun 07, 2012
The governing body for track and field in the country has less than five weeks to put together an official bid to host the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Relay Championships.
This bid, which involves the Government of The Bahamas’ support, will be brought before the council members of the IAAF during the London Olympic Games. The inaugural IAAF relay championships are set to be held in 2014 and 2015 at the newly built Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium.
President of the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA) Mike Sands knows that it will be a challenge in making sure that an event of this magnitude is a success, so he wants to “dot all the ‘i’s and cross all the ‘t’s”. He said: “We just have to fine-tune some numbers to give them (IAAF) a level of satisfaction and to ensure that the numbers are not far out of the estimation that has already been presented.”
Sands said that they will work very closely with the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture as well as the Sports Authority and the Ministry of Finance. In fact, Prime Minister Perry Christie has made a personal commitment, and has pledged his support to the project.
“For a small country interested in sports and developing itself as a sporting power, there are always challenges for a country like The Bahamas, which now has the intent on maximizing the return that sports can give to its economy,” said Prime Minister Christie. “It becomes a matter of tremendous focus for the country, where we have to dedicate resources on the basis that we expect to see a significant return from the point of view of athletes coming to our country to compete, and bringing people with them who will wish to watch the event. Being televised from here internationally to the world, and being able to create a view on the part of people outside, that this is a great place to come. You would have seen, therefore with, a commitment by our country to sports tourism. That is exactly what it entails, being able to host a major international event that will bring the world’s best in. That will bring people in, athletes in, and will bring excitement to our own athletes. That will cause the young ones in our country to see this as a part of their aspirations, to be able to one day be like that.”
According to the prime minister, the government is in the process of finding the best formula to have the economy benefit significantly from sports. He promised to give sports the additional focus needed across the board. Noting that The Bahamas is made up of numerous islands and cays, the prime minister views that as a challenge and would like to ensure that the ‘best foot’ is being put forth to a proposal which dedicates millions of dollars to a particular event, held particularly in New Providence.
Prime Minister Christie said: “The other islands out there, in the country, who are looking for development will know that the government has dedicated these resources for this particular event on the basis that it will be a significant return to the country as a result of it.”
As a result he is asking for all parties to work together so the event can be successful. He is hoping that The Bahamas is viewed as an exciting destination where the athletes themselves will look forward to coming here, want to come back here and they in turn will compete harder to have this opportunity to come back the following year to The Bahamas. Prime Minister Christie said: “It is a win-win situation for The Bahamas.”