Test event sees teams qualify for world relays
Guardian Sports Reporter
Published: Mar 20, 2017
The top high school track and field athletes in The Bahamas earned a chance to perform in front of thousands of fans and the sport’s elite athletes next month, during the junior segment of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Relays Bahamas 2017.
Just like the two previous editions of the world relays, the top eight teams from each race contested at the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA) High School Relays will compete in that race during the junior segment of the world relays, which is usually held about an hour before the launch of the main event.
IAAF Council Member and former Olympic Champion Pauline Davis-Thompson said she was impressed with some of the talent on display over the weekend. However, there’s still some work to be done before the young athletes are ready for the big stage.
“I see some really good talent. There is no question that we do have talent here in The Bahamas, but what I do find is that a lot of our kids don’t like to work hard,” she said. “These athletes are much more talented than the ones that came before them, but they want it all quickly without putting in the work. With this sport, you have to put the work in.
“What this event does is it prepares the kids for show time. They are excited, they get to meet some of the top athletes in the world and hopefully some great things come from this. This is a program we feel very strongly about in the BAAA, because this shows them what it takes to make it and it also allows the world to see our talent.”
Stealing some of the spotlight from the conventional 4x400 meters (m) relay events was the mixed gender 4x400m relay, which will also be featured for the first time at the world relays.
“The crowd really got on their feet for that one (mixed relay),” Davis said. “If high school athletes get that kind of response, the Thomas A. Robinson Stadium will be on its ear when the top athletes in the world take the track.”
St. Augustine’s College (SAC) pulled off a comeback win in the first mixed gender race held at the national stadium, winning in 3:39.01. Queen’s College, who led through the first two legs, took second in 3:42.59, and Bishop Michael Eldon finished third in 3:53.18. The meet’s technical director, Frank “Pancho” Rahming, said he was pleased with the way the competition came off.
The purpose of the high school relays is to serve as a test event for the world relays, set for April 22-23 at the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium. The trial run includes testing the readiness of the stadium’s personnel, security, infrastructure, and field officials.
“Things went pretty smooth for the most part I think,” said Rahming. “With every meet you have some protests, but fortunately today, there was only one that took up some time. I think we are ready to get the kids on the track at the relays. Any minor adjustments that have to be made, I am sure we will have them ironed out by then.”
On the track, St. George’s won the boys 4x200m in 1:32.55. C.I. Gibson crossed the line in second in 1:35.58, followed by North Andros in 1:37.36.
Kingsway Academy took the girls 4x100m ‘A’ final in 52.21 seconds. Sunland Baptist finished second in 52.47 seconds, and Eight Mile Rock was third in 52.73 seconds.
C.I. Gibson won the 4x200m girls final in 1:51.79, and Michael Eldon won the 4x400m girls final in 3:55.80. St. Anne’s finished a close second in 3:55.84, and Queen’s College mustered up a third place finish in 4:06.44.