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Combat sports regarded as key dimension for national growth

Sports Scope

Published: Oct 17, 2013

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Levar Stewart is the former outstanding amateur boxer who is presently studying at the International School of Physical Education and Sport in Cuba. He and fellow Bahamian student Jonas Anestal met recently with the local delegation headed by Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Dr. Daniel Johnson. Stewart pointed out that Bahamians are adequately suited for combat sports.

“I don’t think we have been placing enough national focus on the combat sports. I have been doing a lot of observing here in Cuba and I am convinced that if we were to concentrate on combat sports, we would be able to send a very strong message to the rest of the world. I take nothing away from track and field, but my experience here, getting a firsthand look at the combat sports development, has led me to my point of view.

“Bahamians have a lot of agility. Generally, they are fluid in their movements and resilient. These are all characteristics that work well in combat sports. We have proven what our boxers can do when they train in Cuba. Judo, karate and wrestling are sports we should concentrate more on,” advised Stewart.

D’Arcy Rahming, president of the Bahamas Judo Federation (BJF) was excited to hear Stewart bring attention to combat sports.

“I’ve long felt that the potential is tremendous in combat sports in our country. Somehow, we in combat sports don’t get the support we are due,” said Rahming, who was a part of the delegation to Cuba in the capacity of the National Sports Academy Committee chairman.

In truth, particularly as judo and boxing are concerned, the young competitors from those disciplines deserve much more credit than they get. On a regular basis, junior judo boys and girls perform exceptionally well in regional events. As for the amateur boxers, they competed throughout the 2000s at the highest level in the Caribbean. Amateur boxing teams registered repeated championship performances. In fact, boxing is the only discipline in the country to achieve junior Caribbean championship status since the 1984 CARIFTA Games title in track and field. However, like the late comedian Rodney Dangerfield’s catch phrase, combat sports in The Bahamas “get no respect”.

Perhaps the time has come for the combat disciplines to network for the purpose of building a higher profile, collectively. Rahming is convinced that in his junior judo crop are athletes who can be developed into Olympic performers.

Who knows? The view here is that Stewart makes a good case. Let’s begin to look more seriously at our combat disciplines!

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

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