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Ferguson-McKenzie content with leadership role on Team Bahamas

Guardian Sports Editor

Published: Aug 14, 2013

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MOSCOW, Russia – Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie might not be competing in any individual events here at these 14th International Association of Athletic Federations’ (IAAF) World Championships in Moscow, Russia, but she said that she is thrilled to be a part of another world championships squad and is looking forward to making a contribution in whatever capacity she can.

At 37-years-old, Ferguson-McKenzie is the oldest member of Team Bahamas here in Moscow as she will represent the country as a member of the women’s 4x100 meter (m) relay pool, inclusive of herself, Sheniqua Ferguson, Anthonique Strachan, Shaunae Miller, Cache Armbrister and Nivea Smith.

The veteran track athlete for The Bahamas has done it all, winning at every level and representing this country numerous times.

As a matter of fact, she’ll be representing the country this year as a member of her ninth world championships team – the third most in the history of the championships, and tied with Laverne Eve and Jackie Edwards as the most ever by any Bahamian. The only year Ferguson-McKenzie has missed at the championships since 1995 was the 2005 World Championships in Helsinki, Finland.

“It’s just love for country. I enjoy competing, and anything I have an opportunity to represent this country in track and field, I try to take advantage of that opportunity. I’m not running any of the individual events here in Moscow, but I feel that I can make a significant contribution in the relay. We have a good team, and the girls are focused. I think that we have a real chance of doing something wonderful here in Moscow,” she added.

For Ferguson-McKenzie, she knows that her career is winding down but she’s not thinking about her post-athletic career just yet. At this point, she’s just focused on helping the women’s sprint relay team to get into the final, and hopefully win a medal. They shocked the world with a silver medal at the 2009 World Championships in Berlin, Germany, and optimism is high among all Bahamians here in Moscow that another breath-taking performance is about to happen.

At this stage in her career, Ferguson-McKenzie’s role is different on the team that what it was at the turn of this century and throughout the 2000s. She’s not expected to be the flag bearer in the female sprints anymore. Ferguson-McKenzie is content to be serving as a mentor for the young lasses on the team such as Miller who just turned 19 in April, Strachan who will turn 20 later this month, and Ferguson, Armbrister and Smith who are all 23.

“These girls are young, but they are so talented,” said Ferguson-McKenzie. “If they can manage to stay healthy, they can be good for a very long time. I’m not going to be here forever so we’re definitely going to rely on them some day. They’re the future of track and field in The Bahamas and I’m here to support them. I have the utmost confidence that they will be able to carry on the legacy that myself, Chandra, Savetheda, Pauline and Eldece left behind.”

Coaches of Team Bahamas have up until an hour before the start of the heats of the women’s 4x100m relay to submit a line-up, so expect them to utilize that time to the fullest.

The heats will be held on Sunday afternoon, at 4:15 p.m., 8:15 a.m. back in The Bahamas, and the final is set for Sunday evening at 6:10 p.m., 10:10 a.m. in The Bahamas.


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