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Update on events for The Bahamas at inaugural IAAF World Relays due

Sports Scope
  • Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie is off and running for The Bahamas on the anchor leg of the women’s 4x100m heats of the Moscow World Championships. It is still unclear as to who will run the relay events for The Bahamas at next year’s inaugural IAAF World Relay Championships. Photo courtesy of DEAN GREENAWAY

FRED STURRUP

Published: Oct 10, 2013

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The government of The Bahamas has stepped up to the plate and will cover the cost for the inaugural International Association of Athletic Federations (IAAF) World Relays, scheduled to be here May 24-25, 2014.

Definitely, the Cabinet decision to fund the event is significant for a number of reasons. Firstly, it demonstrates that politicians are coming around to understanding the importance of the sports industry for this country. Secondly, the IAAF endorsement of The Bahamas as the host country speaks volumes for our sporting reputation. Without a doubt, the world relays could turn out to be a sports-tourism bonanza, if properly coordinated.

Essential however, for The Bahamas to maximize the awesome potential for exposure, and the opportunity to enhance its sporting image, is credible participation. The government of The Bahamas and the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA) are joined at the hip for this one. Accordingly, it is my view that both entities bear the full responsibility for ensuring how many of the relay events The Bahamas takes part in, and how well prepared the athletes are, to give the best representation.

How much thought has gone into that area? Perhaps there is full awareness of the need to foster an environment whereby Bahamian participation at the world relays next year will be something citizens can be proud of. I wonder though, whether in fact there is enough focus on competitive preparation for the event.

Thus far, there has been no public announcement from the government/BAAA regarding which or how many of the events The Bahamas will compete in. Have the athletes who will be competing in the relays for The Bahamas been officially selected yet? Have they been notified? If this has happened, surely no announcement has been made. There are just seven months to go. If however, the BAAA has quietly handed the government the list of performers and confirmed the relay events, what is being done to make sure that our athletes are in top form?

In this space previously, the question about which events The Bahamas can put competitive teams together for was raised. Which are the events the government and the BAAA are planning to enter teams? Quite frankly, I don’t know that we have sufficient top caliber athletes in the 800 meters (m) or the 1,500m. I could be wrong here. Maybe there are a good bit of them and I am not aware of their existence.

So, let the announcement come forth about the events Bahamian colors will be seen in during the IAAF World Relays. The sprint events, the 4x100, 4x200 and 4x400 are those events, Bahamians have an ability to do well in. The country should be represented in those events. Exactly what is the situation though?

Certainly, with the figure of $3.5 million having been thrown out at the public, the taxpayers ought to be more enlightened. A full update is in order.

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


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