Coach George Cleare remains optimistic about Team Bahamas
Guardian Sports Editor
Published: Aug 13, 2013
MOSCOW, Russia – For the first time in 20 years, since the 1993 World Championships in Stuttgart, Germany, The Bahamas could realistically find itself without a medal at the world’s biggest biennial meet for athletics.
The ‘Golden Knights’ are hurting, national record holder Derrick Atkins is injured and missed these 14th International Association of Athletic Federations’ (IAAF) World Championships, Anthonique Miller and Shaunae Miller are still young, and Donald Thomas hasn’t been the same since he broke through in 2007 in Osaka.
Head Coach of this year’s team, George Cleare, isn’t worried at all though. As a matter of fact, he’s optimistic going into the remainder of the week.
“We’ve had some bad breaks, but there are still quite a few medal hopefuls out there,” said Cleare yesterday. When you look at what has happened so far, we would definitely wish to have people advancing, but like everything else, you just have to roll with the punches.
“We have young athletes out there giving it their all and going at it. I’m pleased with the way the athletes are performing. We just have to look for someone to get a spark going, and get the team headed in the right direction. It’s a long meet, and we still have a lot of opportunities left.”
That spark might have come last night from an athlete who didn’t even make the final. Everyone respected what veteran quarter-miler Chris Brown did in his semi-final heat. Running from lane eight against some of the best quarter-milers in the world, the 35-year-old national record holder went out there and posted a season’s best time, coming within less than three tenths of a second of getting to another major meet final. He’s the only Bahamian athlete thus far, to have a season’s best performance.
Early this morning, former World Champion Thomas and the youngster Ryan Ingraham competed in the qualifying rounds of the men’s high jump, but the results were unavailable up to press time, and this evening in Moscow, Jeffery Gibson will run in the semi-finals of the men’s 400-meter (m) hurdles.
“I was pleased with the way Bianca and Shavez performed on Saturday, the 400m guys had some nagging injuries on Sunday but Chris made it through to the semis and ran well; Sheniqua was strong, Cache competed well, and Jeffery is through to the semis. Also, there are still a number of athletes to come in their individual events,” said Cleare.
“I think that we’re coming together at the right time and we’ll build from what we’ve experienced so far. We still have a lot of events remaining, and we’re looking forward to having some people move through the rounds.”
Many Bahamians here in Moscow consider the women’s sprint relay team as the best shot for a medal right now, with Anthonique Strachan and Shaunae Miller as considerable threats in the women’s 200m, and some are still looking at the men’s 4x400m relay team.
There are still six days of competition left in Moscow, and one way or the other, it is the hope that Team Bahamas will break through.