Funding balancing imperative for diversity of sports success
Published: Aug 01, 2013
The Bahamas Judo Federation (BJF), under the leadership of D’Arcy Rahming recently completed a successful open junior tournament in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. The team won 10 medals and is a prime example of what can happen in this country for sports if there was a balance in the funding afforded to the various disciplines.
Made up of young athletes who train in New Providence and Abaco, the squad did quite well. According to the president, Cynthia Rahming won a gold and bronze; Lyle Sherman captured two silver medals; Elaina Cuffy won a silver and a bronze; Rebecca Strachan garnered a silver medal; and Tajaro Hudson, Rebecca Strachan, Dre Hall and Ethan Cuffy all collected bronze medals. That’s a rather nice haul and a clear indication of the competitive sporting depth in this country.
In all of the core disciplines, an abundance of raw talent is proof that here in The Bahamas there is the great potential for success at regional and international levels. There just needs to be a strong national focus on balancing the financial field for the different sporting organizations. I wish to take nothing from those who engage in the sport of track and field. They are, presently, the strongest sporting ambassadors in the country. The truth be told however, track and field gets the lion share of funding from the central government, on top of the annual grant.
Somehow this situation has evolved. This is the case despite the fact that other federations struggle similarly to get their athletes to a full schedule of regional and international competitions, as does the body responsible for track and field. It’s fair to assume that had the system been favorable with funding to other disciplines as it is with track and field, this country would be much more diverse in the success achieved across the board in sports.
There is hope that with the coming into being of the
National Sports Academy, as is the intent of Prime Minister Perry Christie, the balance that is advocated here, will become the order of the day for the national sports program. Track and field has upstaged its sister sporting organizations so much that there is the culture whereby Corporate Bahamas gives mostly to that sport first and then the others, if anything is left.
This is not a criticism. Put simply, the plea goes out for all concerned to recognize that the Bahamian sporting talent is not limited to one discipline. The raw talent is there throughout the Family Islands and the capital in all sports. This country has won Olympic medals in just two disciplines, international sailing and track and field.
In each case, a better connection to funding has been the big factor. International sailing was fostered by the very rich Bahamians, who for decades, spent money liberally to enable that sport to prosper. In the case of track and field, each year the financial push from the various central administrations has been greater than for other disciplines. We heap praises on our stars of track and field. If the funding becomes balanced, other disciplines would begin the climb to where track and field is today.
(To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at email@example.com)