Minister: We have to continue to promote our brand
Guardian Sports Editor
Published: Aug 19, 2013
MOSCOW, Russia – The 14th International Association of Athletic Federations’ (IAAF) World Championships are now over and done with, and now all eyes are on The Bahamas for the inaugural World Relays.
The first IAAF World Relay Championships are set for May 24-25, 2014, at the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium, in The Bahamas. Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Dr. Daniel Johnson said over the weekend from Moscow, Russia, that they are looking forward to staging a very productive and successful event.
The inaugural world relays will be just the second summer global athletics event to be held in the Caribbean. Jamaica hosted the 9th IAAF World Junior Championships, in 2002.
“Every year there are events in The Bahamas – the NCAA, golf, cycling…. we want our brand to expand itself to where you would have a major sporting event every month in The Bahamas that will attract international attention. It helps the local market economically, but it also helps our brand internationally. People don’t come just for sun, sand and sea anymore. We are using The Bahamas as a destination for sporting events.”
The minister‘s trip to this side of the world was three fold – he had a stopover in London where he met with Bahamian embassy officials to promote The Bahamas’ participation in the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland; to meet with IAAF officials regarding The Bahamas’ hosting of the inaugural world relays; and of course to support Team Bahamas’ participation in these world championships.
“It’s been a very productive several days for us,” said Minister Johnson. “Another reason for the trip is to see for ourselves and make the connection between what’s happening on our side of the sports zone and what’s happening on the European side of the sports zone. We have to promote our brand, and we are going to do that through sports tourism. We’re calling it, ‘Sports in Paradise’.
“A study recently revealed that 28 percent of the people who travel, travel for a sporting event. That’s an investment that we don’t want to miss out on.”
As for the government’s proposed national sports academies, the minister said that this is the perfect time to introduce them, so that they can begin to prepare Bahamian athletes for the 2015 World Championships in Beijing, China, and the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He said that they intend to get them off the ground in short order.
“We have a disjointed program going on now, and we have a lot of energy going in different directions. It would be more beneficial if we could focus our time and talent in a particular direction. This is great for us, because we have a number of young guys who got their introduction to this level of competition, and they see what it takes to get to that next level,” said the minister.
“This also gives me an idea of what our preparation could be like for the world relays next year, the Commonwealth Games, and also what we are looking at is that these same young people will be the ones winning medals for us at the world championships in 2015 and the Olympics in 2016 in Brazil.”
As for The Bahamas’ medal haul at these world championships, Minister Johnson had predicted one medal, but stopped short of saying what shade it would be, or who would win it. The Bahamas fell short in the medal haul, returning with no medals for the first time in 20 years.