The Bahamas at the IAAF World Championships
Published: May 07, 2013
BAAA 61st Anniversary
Yesterday, May 6, represented the 61st anniversary of the foundation of the Bahamas Amateur Athletic Association, the forerunner of the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA). Lorraine Clarke was born on that day so we ask you if you see her to wish her very happy birthday!
It is a great day to review the participation of The Bahamas in the International Association of Athletic Federations (IAAF) World Championships, and we look forward to August’s Moscow World Championships. When the BAAA started in 1952, the only “world championships” for track and field was the Olympic Games. The BAAA did not participate in the Olympics until 1956 in Melbourne, Australia where Thomas Robinson was the sole participant.
The IAAF World Championships
The IAAF World Championships started 31 years after the founding of the BAAA in Helsinki, Finland, the venue of the 1952 Olympic Games.
Jamaica had already captured a gold medal in the 400 meters (m) by Arthur Wint in London in 1948, along with silver medals in the 400m by Herb McKenley and in the 800m by Arthur Wint. They captured the gold medal by George Rhoden in the 400m in 1952 and the gold medal in the 4x400m relay in Helsinki, with Wint, Rhoden, McKenley, and Les Laing.
At the inaugural championships in Helsinki in 1983, Bradley Cooper and Steve Hanna both finished in 12th place in the finals of the Discus and Triple Jump respectively.
Cooper threw 58.70m (192’7”) in the Discus, having thrown 62.72m (205’9”) in the qualifying round. Hanna jumped 14.96m (49’1”) in the Triple Jump, having reached 16.76m (55’0”) in the qualifying round.
In Rome at the second World Championships in 1987, Norbert Elliott was the only Bahamian to reach the final. The triple jumper finished ninth with a jump of 16.79m (55’11”).
The World Championships moved to Tokyo, the site of the 1964 Olympic Games, in 1991. There, three Bahamians made their finals. Troy Kemp finished the highest, fifth in the High Jump with a performance of 2.34m (7’8”). Pauline Davis finished seventh in the 200m, in 22.90 seconds, and Jackie Edwards finished 10th in the Long Jump with a 6.37m (21’10-1/4”) leap.
In Tokyo, the IAAF decided to hold the championships every two years and the 1993 championships was held in Stuttgart, Germany. There, Kemp was the only Bahamian who made a final, finishing fifth again in the High Jump, with a performance of 2.34m (7’8”) again.
The BAAA had some financial challenges in 1993 and had to restrict the number of athletes sent to Stuttgart. Also, at that time, the Government of The Bahamas never contributed anything toward the BAAA for the World Championships.
When the championships moved to Gothenburg in 1995, The Bahamas’ Government decided to contribute $25,000 toward the BAAA for that effort. In addition to the contribution, the Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture along with his Director of Sports, Winston Cooper, decided to attend the championships.
Pauline Davis had decided to switch to the 400m and Troy Kemp had jumped a Bahamian national record of 2.39m (7’9-3/4”) in Nice that summer.
The BAAA had also initiated performance incentives for performances in the World Championships. Whoever won a gold medal was to be awarded $10,000, a silver medal would earn the recipient $7,500, a bronze medal would earn the recipient $5,000, and if they made a final, they would receive $1,000.
When the dust had settled, Troy Kemp upset World Champion, Olympic Champion, and world record holder Javier Sotomayor of Cuba. They both cleared 2.37m (7’9-1/4”) but Kemp had fewer misses. About 10 minutes later, Pauline Davis finished second to Marie Jose Perec, from Guadeloupe, now competing for France. Davis finished in 49.96 seconds, which was a new Bahamian national record at the time.
The performance incentives that started in 1995 remain until this day, at a higher level, of course.
The team of Eldece Clarke, Debbie Ferguson, Savetheda Fynes and Davis finished in fourth place in the 4x100m relay, in 43.14 seconds. They had run 42.74 seconds in the semi-final in which Chandra Sturrup competed.
The 1997 championships were scheduled for Mexico City. However, Mexico experienced a financial crisis and Athens, which had secured the 1997 World Indoor Championships, agreed to host the World Outdoor Championships that year.
The Bahamas had won the silver medal in the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games and every Bahamian looked forward to great performances in Athens, the home of the Olympic Games.
Chandra Sturrup had just missed the bronze medal in the 100m in Atlanta but was injured prior to the Athens World Championships. It was Savetheda Fynes from Abaco who would mount the podium in the 100m. Fynes had false started in the semi-final. When the recall starter’s gun was fired Jamaica’s Merlene Ottey did not hear it and ran all the way for about 80m. Ottey walked back slowly to the starting line but had spent too much energy in running that far. Fynes finished in third place, in 11.03 seconds.
Fynes combined with Eldece Clarke, Debbie Ferguson and Pauline Davis to run 42.77 seconds for sixth place due to a botched hand-off between Fynes and Clarke. They had run 42.19 seconds in winning the second semi-final. In the 400m, Davis finished in seventh place in 50.68 seconds, far off her national record of 49.28 seconds done in Atlanta for fourth place.
At the Seville World Championships in 1999, the team of Chandra Sturrup, Savetheda Fynes, Pauline Davis and Debbie Ferguson captured the 4x100m relay in a new national record of 41.92 seconds. Eldece Clarke ran in the semi-final.
Debbie Ferguson finished fifth in the 200m in 22.28 seconds while Chandra Sturrup finished seventh in the 100m in 11.06 seconds. In the Men’s 4x400m relay, the team of Tim Munnings, Troy Mcintosh, Carl Oliver and Chris Brown finished seventh in 3:02.74.
The World Championships moved to the Americas for the only time in 2001. Edmonton was the venue and The Bahamas did extremely well. As a result of the close proximity of Edmonton to The Bahamas, many Bahamian fans traveled and witnessed the great performances. They won three gold medals, one by Avard Moncur in the 400m, and the other two by Debbie Ferguson in the 200m and the Men’s 4x400m relay.
Moncur ran 44.64 seconds for the victory. Ferguson finished second in the 200m in 22.52 seconds but was uplifted to gold after Marion Jones confessed to doping. The relay team finished second in 2:58.19, but were elevated to gold after some members of the USA’s team admitted to doping. Chandra Sturrup had finished fourth in the 100m but was elevated to third after Marion Jones’ medal was stripped for doping.
At the Paris World Championships in 2003, Leevan Sands won a bronze medal in the Triple Jump with a 17.26m (56’7-1/2”) leap. Chandra Sturrup finished fourth in the 100m but was elevated to bronze once again due to doping by Kelli White of the USA. In the 4x400m, the relay team of Avard Moncur, Dennis Darling, Nathaniel McKinney and Chris Brown finished in fourth place but received the bronze medal due to the doping charges against the USA. Their time was 3:00.52.
Tonique Williams-Darling, in a comeback, finished fifth in the 400m, in 50.38 seconds. Laverne Eve finished eighth in the Javelin with a throw of 59.64m (195’8”). Osbourne Moxey finished eighth in the Long Jump with a 7.93m (26’0-1/2”) leap. In 2004, Tonique Williams-Darling captured the Athens 400m Olympic title and won half of the ‘Pot of Gold’ in the Golden League for winning all of her Golden League competitions.
The championships returned to Helsinki, the only venue to have a second championships, in 2005. Williams-Darling captured the 400m one more time in 49.51 seconds, defeating Mexican Ana Guevara two years in a row. The team of Nathaniel McKinney, Avard Moncur, Andrae Williams and Chris Brown captured the silver medal in the 4x400m relay, running a new national record of 2:57.32.
Chandra Sturrup finished fourth in the 100m, in 11.09 seconds. Chris Brown finished fourth in the 400m, in 44.48 seconds. Leevan Sands just missed a medal by one centimeter in the Triple Jump. His performance was 17.39m (57’0-3/4”). Lavern Eve finished 10th in the Javelin with a performance of 57.10m (187’4”).
Osaka in 2007 was the second World Championships held in Japan. There, The Bahamas captured one gold medal by newcomer Donald Thomas in the High Jump, and two silver medals, one by Derrick Atkins in the 100m, and one by the men’s 4x400m relay team. Thomas cleared 2.35m (7’7”). Atkins ran 9.91 seconds, to finished second behind Tyson Gay and ahead of world record holder Asafa Powell. The relay team of Brown, Moncur, Williams and McKinney ran 2:59.18.
In 2009, the World Championships returned to Germany, this time to Berlin, the capital. Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie won the bronze medal in the 200m, in 22.41 seconds. The Bahamas women’s 4x100m relay team of Ferguson, Chandra Sturrup, Christine Amertil and Sheniqua Ferguson captured the silver medal in 42.29 seconds.
Leevan Sands missed the bronze medal one more time with a 17.32m (56’10”) fourth place performance. Ferguson-McKenzie ran 11.05 seconds in the 100m for sixth place and Chandra Sturrup the same time for seventh. Berlin is considered one of the best championships ever. Prior to this, Helsinki 1983 was considered one of the best.
In 2011, the championships moved to Daegu, South Korea. This was the third time the event was held in Asia. High Jumper Trevor Barry took a ‘Leap of Faith’, by bypassing his personal best. He finished with a 2.32m (7’7-1/2”) performance and a bronze medal. Leevan Sands finished seventh in the Triple Jump with a 56’5-3/4” performance. Sands was injured in the final and unable to complete all his jumps. Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie finished sixth in the final of the 200m with a 22.96 seconds clocking. In Daegu, there were more than 100 Jamaicans, separate from the officials, supporting their athletes.
The Moscow World Championships is less than 100 days away. The championships begin on August 10 and end on August 18.
Our Bahamian Golden Knights upset the USA at the London Olympics in the 4x400m relay. The performance of the team at the USA vs The World competition at the recent Penn Relays demonstrates that our chances of medaling at the Moscow World Championships are excellent. The entire world will be targeting the Bahamians.
In Philadelphia, Demetrius Pinder was injured. Chris Brown was running for the first time this year. Ramon Miller had experienced a stomach virus earlier in the week. Junior Stephen Newbold replaced Pinder and ran a fantastic 44.4 seconds, finish leg. The team ran 3:02.23 for third place behind the USA Red team which finished second in London, and Jamaica. The women also qualified for the 4x100m and 4x400m relay. All of this bodes well for The Bahamas.
We anticipate that it is possible for us to win several other medals. The High Jump may be one with Donald Thomas and Trevor Barry, one a former champion and the other a former medalist. World Junior bronze medalist Ryan Ingraham can possibly upset both of them although he has not jumped the qualifying mark of 2.31m yet.
Both Anthonique Strachan and Shaunae Miller have graduated to the big leagues. Miller has an opportunity to medal in either the 200m or 400m. They should be able to make the finals in their respective events.
The Bahamas has won a total of 19 medals, seven gold, five silver, and seven bronze, since 1995.
How many do you think we can win in Moscow with your support?
To Russia with Love
Many Bahamians take vacations all over the world, from Alaska to England, from Brazil to Australia, and from Jamaica to Russia. We are encouraging as many persons as possible to plan their vacations for August in Moscow.
There we can bring support to the Bahamian team, as they wished to do in London last year, and experience the best of world track and field. Those Bahamians who have followed our World Championships teams around the world can testify that your satisfaction is guaranteed.
There is less than 100 days before the start of the Moscow World Championships so you need to start planning now to be seated on the 100m straight to see our Bahamian team as well as the best athletes in the world compete. Once you attend the Moscow World Championships this August you will never want to miss another one.
The World Track and Field Championships is the third most popular sporting event after the Soccer World Cup and Olympic Games. Let’s take a lot of love for our Bahamian athletes in Russia this August. It will do them well.
Please tune in to Track World with Alpheus Finlayson this Tuesday on Guardian Radio 96.9FM at 6:30 p.m. when the guests will be Tonique Williams-Darling, World and Olympic Champion, and Pauline Davis-Thompson, another World and Olympic Champion.
World Champions Troy Kemp and Avard Moncur will join the show by telephone. If you are not near a radio in New Providence, or outside New Providence, please tune in to www.guardianradio.com to hear everything. Please contact World Executive Tours at 325-0810 or Lorene@thetrafalgartours.com for further information.