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Bahamian delegation to meet with IAAF on world relays

Event tentatively set for May 24-25
Guardian Sports Editor

Published: Aug 15, 2013

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MOSCOW, Russia – Sometime this weekend, a group of Bahamians including the Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Dr. Daniel Johnson, the President of the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations Mike Sands, and members of the local organizing committee for the 2014 World Relay Championships, are expected to meet with IAAF officials to iron out the logistics of the inaugural event.

The world relays is tentatively set for May 24-25, 2014, at the new Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium, in The Bahamas.

Sands said that even though there are over 200 member federations in the International Association of Athletic Federations’ (IAAF) with potential delegations of at least 10 persons each, preliminary numbers call for just about 800-1,000 participants in the inaugural World Relay Championships, making it not just possible, but manageable as well.

Events contested will be the 4x100 meters (m), the 4x200m, the 4x400m, the 4x800m and the 4x1,500m, all in both genders.

BAAA executives Sands, Philippa Arnett-Willie and Drameco Archer were originally here in Moscow, Russia as first, second and third delegates of The Bahamas for the 49th IAAF Congress which concluded last week ahead of these 14th IAAF World Championships, and also sat in on preliminary talks regarding the inaugural world relays. A more formal meeting is planned for this weekend.

“It went as well as it could. We are in the process of putting plans in place as it regards to networking, widespread participation, broadcast rights and so forth,” said Sands. “There are a number of logistics that have to be worked out, hence the meeting this weekend with the IAAF, the minister and members of the organizing committee. We are in a partnership with the Government of The Bahamas, so at the end of the day, this is not BAAA centric. We have to respect the fact that the government is making a significant contribution to the inaugural event, so we cannot act on anything regarding the world relays without consulting with government officials.”

It is rumored that veteran coach Keith Parker has been penciled in as the chairman of the local organizing committee for the inaugural world relays, but that is yet to be confirmed. Parker, who received an IAAF Veterans Pin after the 2011 Daegu World Championships, is expected in Moscow for the weekend meeting. IAAF Council Member Pauline Davis-Thompson, who was one of 18 people affiliated with the sport to receive an IAAF Veterans Pin during the congress last week, could also be called upon to play a role in the hosting of the championships.

The BAAA and the government might be in partnership for the event, but according to reports, the two entities are at odds when it comes to the naming of persons for the various positions of the local organizing committee, including the chairmanship. Sands vehemently denied those reports.

“The committee is actually open for all persons, and those positions will be filled in consultation with the Government of The Bahamas,” said Sands last night. “A lot of the work will be through volunteerism. At the end of the day, we want to get the best persons in the right positions and give them the room to make proper decisions. Everyone has a contribution to make.

“Generally, people are always going to be concerned about titles, but that’s not our focus right now. Strategic decisions were made and at the end of the day, consideration was given to realigning people. Also, people have the option to accept or reject the various positions.”

As far as the carrying out of tasks is concerned in relation to accreditation, ticket sales and marketing, transportation, accommodation, and so forth, Sands said that he is confident that the right people will be in place to ensure that the 2014 World Relay Championships come off with as little turmoil as possible.

“We’ve made some very serious assessments, and the scope of work is extremely wide. There are some very stringent requirements from the IAAF and they have to be met. We know what needs to be done, and we intend to do it,” said Sands. “I’m not at liberty at this time to say what the budget will be, but I can tell you that we don’t foresee the same problems that plagued the CARIFTA Games. We have a lot of work to do, and we intend to get it done.”

The IAAF World Relay Championships will be the first global athletics meet coming to The Bahamas, and just the second to the Caribbean. Jamaica hosted the 9th IAAF World junior Championships in 2002.


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