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Sands: Injuries aside, Team Bahamas did well

BAAA president optimistic about the future of Bahamian track and field
  • LOOKING AHEAD: BAAA President Mike Sands said yesterday that he was quite pleased with the performances of Team Bahamas at the 14th IAAF World Championships in Moscow, Russia.

Guardian Sports Editor

Published: Aug 26, 2013

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Apart from untimely injuries, and a few misfortunes, BAAA President Mike Sands said that it wasn’t so bad in Moscow, Russia.

The Bahamas’ 25-member team at the 14th International Association of Athletic Federation’s (IAAF) World Championships wrapped up competition last Sunday, with a national record from the men’s 4x100-meter (m) relay team. Overall, there were three finalists, four others who bowed out in the semis, and for the first time in the history of the biennial global meet, or at any Olympics, four relay teams saw action for The Bahamas. That in itself was historic, said Sands.

The Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA) struggled to get the team to Moscow, due to a limited amount of finances, but at the end of the day, all of the team members made the trip, with the exception of national record holder in the men’s 100m Derrick Atkins who cited an injury, and Trevorvano Mackey, who reportedly failed a drug test.

Still, according to Sands, the team managed a 30th place finish among more than 200 nations. There was actually an eight-way tie for 30th, and The Bahamas was right in the mix. Sands said that he is quite pleased with that.

“One of our major objectives going into the world championships was to get as many qualifiers as possible, and also to get four relay teams qualified. In Russia, whilst we might not have gotten the desired results that we would have wanted, I am reasonably pleased that we had good performances, not to be measured by medals,” said Sands in a world championships wrap-up press conference yesterday.

“A lot of people would say that if you go to the world championships or the Olympics and do not come back with a medal, then you would have failed. I don’t think that’s a fair assessment of our athletes and their performances. I want to make special note of Shaunae and her 200 meters performance. I think that in reviewing that, the decision to put her in the 200m was obviously the right decision. With a lil bit more experience, she will be a force to reckon with. There were a few disappointments. We had a number of injuries that weren’t anticipated, and that contributed to our lack of performance, but overall, I was pleased and I’m satisfied that the future of track and field looks great for The Bahamas.”

Miller had the highest individual finish for The Bahamas, finishing fourth in the women’s 200m in 22.74 seconds. The only other two athletes to make the final of their respective events were Donald Thomas and Ryan Ingraham in the men’s high jump. Thomas finished sixth with a season’s best leap of 2.32m (7’ 7-1/4”), and Ingraham finished in a three-way tie for 10th with a best jump of 2.25m (7’ 4-1/2”). They cleared 2.29m (7’ 6”) and 2.26m (7’ 5”) respectively, in qualifying for the final.

Four other athletes made the semi-finals – Anthonique Strachan, 9th overall in the women’s 200m in 22.81 seconds; Chris Brown, 10th overall in the men’s 400m in a season’s best time of 45.18 seconds, Sheniqua Ferguson, tied for 16th overall in the women’s 100m in 11.35 seconds, and Jeffery Gibson, 21st overall in the men’s 400m hurdles in 50.51 seconds. None of the four relay teams made the finals.

As far as the injuries are concerned, three in particular, team manager Ralph McKinney said Ramon Miller hinted that he had a minor injury in a team meeting in Moscow, and then discovered that it was more serious than he thought during the opening round of the men’s 400m, shin splints that bothered Michael Mathieu during the BTC National Track and Field Championships surfaced, and Anthonique Strachan complained of an injury to her knee after her semi-final run in the women’s 200m.

“In respect to Ramon, after his injury was a factor in his opening round of the men’s 400m, it was decided not to include him in the 4x400m relay. As for Michael, you would remember that he ran the semis at the nationals but not the final. We were of the impression that he would be up and ready to go in time for his competition in Moscow. Two days before the start of the 200, he complained of his injury. We took him to the medical clinic in Moscow, they did a scan, and it revealed shin splints so he was out. With Anthonique, her intention was to go to Munich for treatment for her knee. She had completed her individual event, and that was primary, so she wasn’t entered on the team for the 4x100. Remember the team doctor cannot do any major evaluation. She said she was injured, so she was out.”

Sands said that the athletes themselves, and even some coaches, have to practice honesty, particularly in the revelation of injuries.

“If you are injured, and there is any likelihood that you would not be ready for that type of performance, particularly at the world championships or the Olympics, there is nothing wrong with bowing out,” said Sands. “Obviously we are going to have to take a very hard look at how we go about maintaining the fitness of the team, particularly when there is such a wide gap between the event itself and the national trials. A lot of us are going to have to be a bit more diligent in our efforts in ensuring that the best team travels to the world championships and the Olympics in the future.”

The BAAA itself got a lot of negative feedback for carrying as much as 13 team officials to Moscow, but Sands explained that each of the team officials had a specific duty to fulfill. He added that contrary to reports that the various officials were well taken care of, in terms of their airfare to Moscow well before the start of the world championships, while the organization was still struggling with securing funds for the team, he himself as president didn’t have his ticket until a day before he traveled.

Sands along with Phillippa Arnett-Willie and Drameco Archer traveled as delegates of The Bahamas for the 49th IAAF Congress, and also to meet with IAAF officials regarding the inaugural World Relay Championships to be hosted here in The Bahamas, May 24-25, 2014. George Cleare was the team’s head coach, and Henry Rolle, Fritz Grant, Tyrone Burrows and James Rolle traveled as his assistants. McKinney was the team manager, and Mabeline Miller traveled as his assistant. Frank ‘Pancho’ Rahming was the technical director, Dr. Kier Miller was the team doctor, and Khalid Hanna traveled as the team physiotherapist.

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