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Female sprinting group poised to craft legacy

FRED STURRUP
SPORTS SCOPE

Published: Aug 17, 2013

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The world will never forget the Original Golden Girls of The Bahamas. The names Pauline Davis, Eldeece Clarke, Chandra Sturrup, Savatheda Fynes and Debbie Ferguson are rooted in world track and field history.

They became one of the greatest ever relay sprint combinations. An IAAF championship, an Olympic gold medal, an Olympic silver medal, and a Commonwealth gold medal cemented the legacy of those original world-beaters from this country.

Now, another set of female sprint stars is poised to craft a different legacy. Sheniqua Ferguson is the overlapping influence that connects the era of the Original Golden Girls to the newer generation of Bahamian speedsters. Sheniqua was a part of the Bahamian relay sprint team that won a silver medal at the International Association of Athletic Federations Championships, four years ago.

They, along with the Jamaican gold medal winning relay team members, were the best female sprinters in Berlin, Germany on that occasion. Sheniqua led off, passed to Sturrup (the master of the second leg) who gave the baton to Christine Amertil and Debbie Ferguson handle the anchor responsibility.

Sheniqua heads the “now” group that includes Anthonique Strachan, Shaunae Miller, Nivea Smith and Cache Armbrister. Sturrup announced her retirement this past June at the Bahamas Association of Athletics Associations National Championships in Freeport.

Debbie Ferguson (now McKenzie) is still around. She is in Moscow with the group, providing advice and inspiration. She is the last of the old guard and this could be her last major world event.

A new era has dawned. The new generation sprinters collectively have the potential to be as successful as the original Golden Girls. Sheniqua and Nivea were both top junior world sprinters. Their senior careers have not blossomed in the manner once expected. They, however, remain right on the cutting edge, ready to move to the next level of success.

Strachan and Miller have exploded on the scene with more fanfare than Sheniqua and Nivea and have grabbed the attention of a large body of track observers around the world. Armbrister formerly focused on the 400 meters, until this year. The training in Jamaica has done wonders for the slim speedster. She has a best of 11.35 in the 100 meters and looks capable of going a bit lower.

Is Armbrister a late bloomer who will astonish observers in the very near future?

With her speed getting so much better over 100 meters, what will happen when she returns to the 400 meters?

Excitement is in the air. The new generation of female sprinters makes up a nucleus that could fill Bahamians with pride and joy for years to come.

Congratulations to them all!

Go Bahamas!

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

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