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Controversy hampering IAAF World Relays preparation

Sports Scope

Published: May 27, 2013

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A year to this month, the historic first International Association of Athletic Federations (IAAF) World Relays are scheduled for the new Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium.

Presently, the executive controversy within the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA) has curtailed preparations for the event that is expected to draw a huge world audience, thus placing The Bahamas very much under the microscope. Reputed as one of the finest little nations the world over in sports, this country depends largely on our athletic programs to enhance the national image. The fact that the IAAF selected this country, through its area association, to host the two initial World Relays speaks volumes for the confidence in our ability to deliver in sports.

If however, the BAAA ship is not put on the correct course soon, a huge embarrassment is waiting just around the corner. The hosting of international competitions is very serious business to the IAAF. It is the IAAF alone that is responsible for supervising the global track and field competition system, in cooperation with area associations. The word ‘supervise’ ought to be noted by all area associations.

In our case, the BAAA is expected by the IAAF to be functioning properly always, but particularly when charged with the significant task of hosting an international event. The IAAF knows of the executive controversy that threatens to cripple the BAAA. No doubt IAAF President Lamine Diack and those who surround him are concerned.

Accordingly, Diack and his associates are watching the scenario in The Bahamas that relates to its area association. Readers need to understand that “in the event an area association fails to manage or control an international competition in accordance with the rules, the IAAF is entitled to intervene and take such steps as it deems necessary.”

This would be quite embarrassing. There is a mixed up situation in the BAAA these days. My understanding is that there is a position held by some that the same Local Organizing Committee that was in place for the CARIFTA Games, earlier this year, should be re-appointed for the IAAF Relays. Some elected executives claim to have been ostracized from the CARIFTA Games LOC. They want to be involved with the IAAF Relays, as they should.

As long as there is the great divide of BAAA executives existing, the IAAF’s scrutiny will become more intense. Let there be no questions about the mandate of the IAAF. An area association is obligated to toe the line so as not to embarrass to any degree, the IAAF or world track and field. A secretariat should have already been operating. The BAAA and the Government of The Bahamas, through the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, should now be in regular sessions in order to establish a smooth process to the 2014 May IAAF World Relays.

Apart from the general business of preparation for the influx of representatives from many of the world’s nations, there are a lot of cosmetic adjustments that are necessary to avoid the shortcomings acknowledged by the BAAA, post the CARIFTA Games. In a nutshell, there is much to do to avoid national embarrassment.

A lot is at stake. The event will offer purses for the best relay runners in the world, totaling $1.4 million. The events on schedule are the 4x100 meters (m), 4x200m, 4x400m, 4x800m, and 4x1,500m.


• To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at sturrup1504@gmail.com.

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