Month: June 2020

Mcphee-Mccuin Lobbying For Social Justice

As of Friday, June 26, 2020


#Tribune Sports Reporter

#COACH Yolett McPhee-McCuin continues to use her platform as the head coach of the Ole Miss Rebels Women’s Basketball programme to lobby for social justice in her adopted home state of Mississippi.

#McPhee-McCuin was one of several coaches and officials from the Mississippi’s public universities to visit the state legislature and voice their support to making changes to the state flag.

#The group that represented Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Alcorn State, Delta State, Jackson State, Mississippi University for Women, Mississippi Valley State and Southern Mississippi seek to remove the confederate flag from the Mississippi state flag.

#“When my daughters ask me where I was June 25, 2020, I want to be able to look them in the eyes and tell them about this moment,” she tweeted with a photo of the group of coaches. “I’d like to thank our university leaders for supporting me and the rest of my colleagues during this time. We stand United.”

#There has been a growing sentiment from players, coaches and NCAA officials to remove images of the confederate flag from campuses and events.

#Last week, the NCAA officially banned the state from hosting any NCAA championship games until the state flag is changed. It was an expansion of the organisation’s “confederate flag policy.” Mississippi is currently the only state to have the confederate flag as apart of its state flag.

#Also, in the SEC, which includes both Ole Miss and Mississippi State, conference commissioner Greg Sankey said his organisation could also place a postseason ban on the state for use of the current flag.

#“Our students deserve an opportunity to learn and compete in environments that are inclusive and welcoming to all,” he said. “In the event there is no change, there will be consideration of precluding Southeastern Conference championship events from being conducted in the state of Mississippi until the state flag is changed.”

#Last month on the Ole Miss campus, McPhee-McCuin was one of several leaders of Rebels student athletics to lead a Unity Walk on the Oxford, Mississippi campus as protests against police brutality continued across the globe.

#The Grand Bahama native is the school’s first black female head women’s basketball coach. Her programme joined athletic administrators, coaches and student athletes from various sports.

#It was a show of solidarity for Ole Miss athletics as their unity walk coincided with protests across the globe in the wake of the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and most recently George Floyd.

#“As athletes and coaches we know how important it is to be believed in. Whether we are cheered on by a sold out stadium or looked up to by one small child-the belief of others in us, their support of us, and their love for us makes a huge difference in the scoreboards that push us to be great. We are here today, realising that a handful of minds, and only a little more than a handful of our time cannot just be a photo op,” McPhee-McCuin.

#“We, black and white are the beneficiaries of the struggle for black freedom – a struggle born generations ago by black people who loved a nation that long considered them at best, second class citizens.

#“And whether through generations of tilling the soil of this state, or through mid 20th century boycotts, sit-ins, or voter registration, generations of black Mississippians sacrificed their own freedoms not just for Freedom Summer, but for the freedoms we enjoy when as athletes and coaches, we run onto the gridiron in the fall, when we hit the hardwood in the spring, and when we blaze the track in the summer too.”

#In her two years at the helm leading the Rebels, McPhee-McCuin has undertaken a rebuilding project.

#At 16-45, Rebels have gone up against 13 nationally ranked squads, 12 of which have come in SEC play.

#Headed into next season, the Rebels will have the No.1 recruiting class in the SEC and No.13 class in the nation for the 2020-2021 campaign.

World Athletics Launches ‘Road To Tokyo’

As of Friday, June 26, 2020


#Senior Sports Reporter

#As the new norm for the world of sports continues to take shape in the midst of COVID-19, World Athletics yesterday revealed its plans for the postponed 2020 Olympic Games in launching what they call ‘Road to Tokyo.’

#World Athletics, the governing body for track and field, produced an online tool to help athletes, media and fans track the qualification process for next year’s Olympic Games.

#Searchable by discipline, country and qualification status, the tool will provide a real time view of each event over the course of the Tokyo 2020 qualification period which ends on June 29, 2021.

#The new qualifying standards were released as a result of World Athletics joining the International Olympic Committee in calling off the games in March and subsequently postponing it from July 24 to August 9, 2020 to July 23 to August 8, 2021 due to the spread of the coronavirus.

#In its announcement, World Athletics stated that the qualification principles remain unchanged with athletes able to qualify through entry standards and then the World Athletics World Rankings.

#Before the games were called off, the Bahamas Olympic Committee had at least six Bahamian track and field athletes qualified to compete.

#They included first time sprinter Samson Colebrooke and returning for their second or third times are hurdler Pedrya Seymour, quarter-milers Shaunae Miller-Uibo and Steven Gardiner, high jumper Jamal Wilson and sprinter Tynia Gaither.

#The BOC was also hoping that other athletes and relay teams from the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations, a few swimmers from the Bahamas Swimming Federation, Cynthia Rahming from the Bahamas Judo Federation and possibly Carl Hield, from the Bahamas Boxing Federation, would have also qualified for the games.

#Athletes in track and field, who have already met the entry standard since the start of the qualification period in 2019, will remain qualified and will be eligible for selection by their respective member federations and national Olympic committees, together with the other athletes who will qualify within the extended qualification period.

#However, due to the uneven training and competition opportunities around the world during the coronavirus pandemic, World Athletics announced on April 7 that the qualification period (for all events) was suspended from April 6 to November 30, 2020.

#The other international sporting bodies have not yet released their new qualifying standards for the games, which could be in further jeopardy with the rising number of coronavirus cases in the United States. New coronavirus cases in the US climbed to their highest level in two months.

“Boston Blackie” was one of a kind

“Boston Blackie” was one of a kind


 June 22, 2020  

Fred Sturrup,


A national hero died on Sunday.

I remember vividly, the first time I saw Leonard “Boston Blackie” Miller, with full recognition as to who he really was.

This was back in the late 1950s, (I think 1959 was the year) at a time when spectators lined the streets along the route of bicycle races in the capital island of New Providence. Big, tall Alexander “The Whip” Harris was the leading rider at the time. My father had brought me to the corner of Mackey and Bay Street. That was our vantage point, as we waited, with others in the general area, for the riders to flash by. The first group of riders came in sight.

“You see that one out front, on the inside of ‘The Whip’… that’s Boston Blackie.” So, said my father.

Yes, there was Boston, aggressively challenging the much heftier and robust-looking Harris. We heard later on, that Harris actually won the race and Blackie was third, with Christopher “Duece” Thompson slipping in for second. A certain Bertram “Cowboy” Musgrove made up the top four (all sporting legends, National Sports Hall of Fame caliber athletes).

I was about 10 at the time and had absolutely no idea as to how, in such a detailed fashion fate would have me connecting with Boston Blackie in the years to follow, ironically, not too long after that fateful Sunday afternoon, on the corner, just across from the old Potters Cay Dock.

In fact, it was in 1968, when he was just back from winning the silver medal at the New York Golden Gloves, in New York City, that Bert Perry came and told me that he had spoken with several others, and, they agreed with him that an amateur boxing organization should be formed in The Bahamas. He told me that I would be the secretary. Thus, a number of historic stories were to unfold, of which Boston Blackie was a feature character.

Perry and Boston would begin a four-fight series the next year, May 1 of 1969 marking the first of three victories for Perry, although highly controversial. Boston would win once. Their rivalry characterized a special period in Bahamaland. Bahamians competed fiercely, but once the competitions were over, they joined forces to foster the growth of a country.

In that regard in 1969, with the Amateur Boxing Association of the Bahamas (ABAB, since transitioned to the Amateur Boxing Federation of The Bahamas and now, simply the Bahamas Boxing Federation) finally connected through official documents with the AIBA (the International Boxing Association), Perry solicited Boston’s presence along with his club of boxers to join the formal organization in the country. Boston agreed right away.

Several years later when Perry opted to take up residence in Grand Bahama, as president at the time, I asked Boston to replace him and he did without hesitating. There, began our gratifying relationship. For years, Boston and I took boxers to compete in the Florida Golden Gloves Tournaments.  I got to really know the manner of a man; God had blessed this country with.

Let me point out here with emphasis, that all along, while dedicating so much of his time to crafting youthful ringsters into quality athletes and budding adults, Boston somehow found the time and additional energies to train and compete in pro boxing events, cycling races, and later on, conduct high school Physical Education sessions.

A rich page in his legacy is the fact, that on the morning after he lost the heavyweight crown (he earlier had regained from Perry), Boston was up at the crack of dawn and the fist cyclist on the line for a major road race. Indeed, Boston had been beaten at the Oakes Field Hanger that night, and, the very next morning, there he was at the entrance to the same Oakes Field Hanger, on the line across from Oakes Monument in Oakes Field, ready to fulfill another huge sports task.

Boston is one of the select icons who represented the country internationally in two or more sporting disciplines. He became a figure of good folklore material to his regional and world peers in cycling. In boxing, Boston was known as the old maestro of ring cornermen.

There is no doubt, he was highly significant to organized amateur boxing in the Bahamas, in its embryonic stage, and throughout.

The name Boston Blackie came to be synonymous with local cycling.

He was one of the notable light heavy and heavyweight champions of the country.

In his role as Physical Education Teacher, Boston nurtured and motivated many students for decades.

Leonard “Boston Blackie” Miller, 82, who passed early on Sunday, was a man for all seasons, and, truly one of kind, one of those irreplaceable beings that God graced this earth with.

On behalf of the Bahamas Boxing Commission and the commissioners, I extend condolences to the family of Boston.

May his soul forever rest in peace!

Man “for all seasons,” Dr. Roberts passes on

Man “for all seasons,” Dr. Roberts passes on

  June 7, 2020

  Fred Sturrup,


One of the most well-rounded citizens of the world, Dr. Patrick Roberts, died on Saturday morning past.

He touched so many, in multiple facets of life, that the mourning will be widespread, inclusive of the producer of this column.

With the passing of this lively, energetic, humanitarian, those of us who were fortunate to travel down roads with such a philanthropist, kind and astute; a man phenomenally medically-gifted; a great academe specialist; an esteemed counsellor; a sporting icon; and, one who functioned at the highest level of decency; ought to be gratified for having been so enriched.

Indeed, Dr. Roberts was all that and more. He left incredibly long lines of people he helped, financially, academically, health-wise of course, in various sporting areas, in the medical field, and, generally, randomly at times.

The country has lost a giant.

For sure, he will be missed in the sports world. He was known internationally, in sports. It was Dr. Roberts who was appointed to initiate the Bahamas Anti-Doping Commission (BADC), back in 2003, when The Bahamas signed on as a member of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), that guideline body for fairness (non-doping) in sports.

Outside of his anti-doping role, Dr. Roberts was the long-serving chief doctor in the Bahamas Olympic Movement; an incredible medial presence for more than four decades in boxing, at all levels; an avid tennis supporter; and a general sports fan at heart.

Through it all, his many interactions, with hundreds, thousands, on all forums, he remained humble, almost to a fault. He was a gentleman supreme, and, typified the “help thy neighbor” concept. Often, he appeared more inclined to help others than look after his own interests.

In sports, and particularly in boxing, on countless occasions he provided medical services for every boxer on an upcoming show, free of charge. Along the way, medication was provided to those unable to pay the cost.

His professionalism, his medical equipment, medication and other related material,

Dr. Roberts just offered without pressing for payment. He was a humanitarian and philanthropist like few others.

The vast knowledge, across the board, he carried in his head, was in his view, to be benefited by all and sundry, not just a particular circle of family members and friends.

Dr. Roberts was a man for all seasons.

Certainly, there is a void in our lives, that will never be filled.

On behalf of The Bahamas Boxing Commission, which I currently chair, and fellow commissioners, I offer condolences to his wife Mrs.  Jodell Roberts, daughters, and the rest of the family, inclusive of former sports ministers Neville Wisdom and Dr. Daniel Johnson.

Farewell Dr. Roberts!

May your soul forever rest in peace.

‘The Biggest Factor For Me Was My Health’

Jonquel Jones

Jonquel Jones

As of Thursday, June 25, 2020


#Tribune Sports Reporter

#Jonquel Jones cited COVID-19 concerns and a lack of clarity in the WNBA’s return to play proposal as the main factors behind her decision to opt out of the upcoming season.

#“The biggest factor for me was my health. At the end of the day, you can’t spend a cheque if you’re not alive. Yeah, you might be out there playing, the money is important to your livelihood but, at the end of the day, your health should be most important. If you’re not here you can’t enjoy the fruits of your labour,” said the Connecticut Sun star forward.

#“It was a combination of several things but it just came back to my health. All the other things were kind of cosmetic but my health is the big issue. I just didn’t want to put myself in a tough situation for financial gain because, at the end of the day, health is the most important.”

#In addition to Jones, several players around the WNBA have also opted out of the season since the league announced its intention to return in July.

#Last week, WNBA announced a 22-game regular season at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. The season is set to begin sometime in July, but no confirmed dates have been announced.

#In addition to Jones, other players who announced their intentions to opt out of the season include Renee Montgomery and Tiffany Hayes of the Atlanta Dream along with Natasha Cloud and LaToya Saunders of the Washington Mystics.

#Players must inform their teams by June 25 whether they are playing this season. Jones said the contract language in the proposal was also a major factor in her decision-making process. “For me it was obviously how COVID-19 was getting back up and surged again, so that was one of the biggest things. I think there were some things in the writing that the league forwarded to the players, it wasn’t really bad but I needed more specifics. One of things was where they said if we played all 22 of the games we would get 100 per cent of our salary, but if for some reason we couldn’t play all 22, like if a hurricane or something hit, or COVID-19 started to spread throughout the teams and people started testing positive and those 22 games couldn’t be played, we would come back and negotiate in good faith – so that was one of the things I didn’t like.

#“In good faith is cool and all but it’s not a definite number. If something happens, we don’t know how much of our salary we will get,” Jones said, “Another thing I didn’t like is when they were talking about high risk players. They would be able to get their salary and opt out, but they didn’t really explain what ‘high risk’ was until players started asking around and they finally explained it. Those are players most susceptible to catching COVID-19 and those players would be able to get their full salary after testing and finding out they were at higher risk. There were just certain things that I wanted in writing. It wasn’t that the proposal was bad, it was just that I like we could have voted no as a WNBA players association and gotten the league to give us more specifics and be more accurate with some of the things they wrote about.”

#The league will be played with no fans in attendance but will work closely with broadcast partners ESPN, CBS Sports Network and NBA TV. The WNBA regularly hosts a 36 game regular season from May to September, with the playoffs concluding in October.

#“The Players’ Association had a meeting after the proposal and a lot of the players when they sat in on the meeting they were like ‘wow’ because they didn’t really look at it in depth, not on my team but just players around the league. I told my team before they voted that we should say no because they [the WNBA] needed to come back and give us more information, so we had a conversation about it,” Jones said, “Most players around the league said ‘yes’ because they saw that 100 percent salary, but when we came back and talked about it they said if we had that meeting before the vote they would have said no to get more specifics and get more information.”

#Despite her decision having a detrimental effect on the Sun’s championship aspirations this season Jones has the full support of her teammates and front office.

#“My teammates are great. There are a few I have known my entire career, I’ve been talking to them constantly. All of us are bouncing ideas off each other, bouncing feelings and thoughts off of each other so we had an idea of who was going to play and who was thinking of not playing. At the end of the day when I decided my mind was made up, I reached out to them because I didn’t want them to feel like they were blindsided. My teammates are the most important thing in the whole organisation, without them we can’t do anything and I have such a deep relationship with most of them so I just wanted to reach out to them to let them know how I felt and what was going to happen. They were cool with it and they completely understood,” Jones said, “Some people agreed but they said that financially they can’t make that choice right now, so I’m actually lucky that where I’m and the team that I play for overseas as well, to where I can make this choice right now, make it about my health. It’s definitely a privilege.”

#Jones, comes off a 2019 season where she was named to the All-WNBA Second Team, the All-Defensive Team and an All-Star for the second time in her four year career. In the offseason, she was a member of UMMC Ekaterinburg in the Russian Women’s Basketball Premier League and made an immediate impact on the national basketball programme of Bosnia and Herzagovia.

#Jones signed a multi-year contract extension with the Sun in February as the league’s free agency period commenced.

#She said she now looks forward to time away from the basketball court after several seasons of year long competition and sees it as an opportunity to hone her skills.

#“It’s all about spending time with family, being able to move freely, working out and working on different aspects of my game. WNBA players, we never get an offseason. We never get that time to just add things to the game and not worry about a game that’s coming up, to just go out and perfect for craft,” she said, “[So I’m looking forward] to just to able to move how I want to move, visit people, workout, become a better person and a better basketball player.”

#In 2019, the Sun fell one game short in their historic run toward a WNBA Championship last season, but Jones established herself as one of the premier players in the league with her standout season.

#In addition to her aforementioned accolades, she finished third in Defensive Player of the Year voting and was named Eastern Conference Player of the Week four times.

#Jones finished the regular season with starts in all 34 appearances, averaged 14.6 points, and posted career highs in steals (1.5 per game) and minutes played (28.8 per game). She also won her second rebounding title in four seasons. Jones led the league in rebounds with 9.7 boards and blocked shots at a career-high 2.0 per game. She also finished fourth in defensive rebounds with 6.4 per game. She grabbed 10 or more rebounds 16 times, including a season-high 22 rebounds on May 31.

‘Buddy’ Tests Positive For The Coronavirus

Sacramento Kings guard Buddy Hield.

Sacramento Kings guard Buddy Hield.

As of Thursday, June 25, 2020


#Tribune Sports Reporter

#Sacramento Kings guard Chavano “Buddy” Hield has tested positive for COVID-19.

#The Athletic first reported Hield’s positive test late last night as the NBA began league-wide testing this week in preparation for its return to the court on July 30 to conclude the 2020 season.

#Hield was the second Kings player to reportedly test positive, joining Jabari Parker. Several players have tested positive this week since mandated league-wide testing began, including Nikola Jokic (Denver Nuggets) and Malcolm Brogdon (Indiana Pacers).

#AZ Central has reported that two Phoenix Suns players have tested positive and ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said one Western Conference team produced four positive tests – no player details have been revealed in either case. Hield said he feels fine and will continue to quarantine in Sacramento. He expects to join the Kings in Orlando to conclude the season once he is cleared to play.

#Just over two weeks ago, Hield returned to the court on June 10 for competitive play for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic sidelined the NBA.

#The Kings sharpshooter participated in the Skinz League Tournament at the Hive Sports Complex in Edmond, Oklahoma and scored 45 points, including 13 made three pointers.

#The Kings will be one of 22 teams invited to the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, when the NBA resumes on July 30.

#Both Hield and Parker will have ample time to self isolate before they join the Kings in Orlando for training camp on July 11.

#The “Orlando Tournament” will feature the 16 teams currently in playoff position and eight teams currently within six games of 8th place in the two conferences.

#All games will be hosted at the Walt Disney World Resort, where the players and staff will also live under strict NBA-mandated pandemic protocols.

#Teams will officially begin training at team sites in July and will advance to full training camps in Orlando prior to regular season play.

#The Kings are 28-36, No.10 in the Western Conference and 3.5 games behind the No.8 Memphis Grizzlies (32-33).

#The NBA has suspended its season since March 11 when Utah Jazz centre Rudy Gobert was the league’s first player to test positive for COVID-19.

#Through 64 games this season, Hield is averaging 19.8 points per game and is shooting 40 per cent from beyond the arc, making 3.8 three-point field goals in about 10 attempts per game. Hield also added 4.8 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game.

Virtual Learning: Bbf Launches ‘Summerfest 3-On-3 Basketball Training’

As of Thursday, June 25, 2020


#Tribune Sports Reporter

#NO official timeline has been given on basketball’s return to the court but the country’s governing body of the sport began a virtual learning campaign for its latest initiative.

#The Bahamas Basketball Federation, along with its Family Island basketball associations, launched its “Summerfest 3-on-3 Basketball Training” this week.

#The interactive course was designed to introduce interested persons to what has become the fastest growing version of the sport. Topics included the unique rules of the discipline, competition structure and other elements of participation.

#The BBF previously announced its intention to host a pilot 3-on-3 basketball tournament in August that is mandated by FIBA – the governing body for basketball worldwide.

#The pilot tournament will feature play in three different categories for both men and women ages 18-35, 36-45 and 46 plus.

#“We’re not sure when everything will be opened, but during the month of August, we will try to play the 3-on-3 basketball tournament throughout the Bahamas,” Eugene Horton, vice president of BBF, previously told The Tribune.

#“We have committee members assigned to each island, so we want to ensure that everybody is aware of the rules and regulations.”

#The federation’s information campaign will ultimately culminate in a national tournament which will also double as the selection process for the country’s first 3-on-3 national team.

#According to an ESSEC Business School study commissioned by the International Olympic Committee, 3×3 is the largest urban team sport in the world. It is currently being promoted and structured by FIBA, the sport’s governing body. Its primary competition is an annual FIBA 3X3 World Tour, comprising a series of Masters and one Final tournament, and awarding six-figure prize money in US dollars.

#The FIBA 3×3 World Cups for men and women are the highest tournaments for national 3×3 teams. 3×3 will debut as an Olympic sport at the 2021 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

#The FIBA 3×3 Olympic Qualifying Tournament will take place in Graz, Austria, May 26-30, 2021.

#Forty teams (20 in each gender) coming from 36 different countries will compete at the FIBA 3×3 Olympic Qualifier for the six tickets (3 per gender) to Tokyo.

#“We just want to let people know 3-on-3 basketball is coming,” Horton said. “It’s important for players, coaches and teams to sign up and get registered with FIBA. When we had the workshop with FIBA last year, they had mandated that we start playing 3-on-3. We now have a committee to implement it.”

Brown’s August bout postponed

June 25, 2020T

he Nassau Guardian


With The Bahamas’ borders reopening on July 1, Bahamian professional boxer Lester Brown Jr. was looking to get a fight one month later but that was postponed due to a rise in COVID-19 confirmed cases in the United States of America (USA).

Brown was set to fight American Jesus Vasquez Jr. on Saturday, August 1, in New Mexico, USA. The fight was set to be a championship fight for the American Boxing Federation (ABF) featherweight title.

Over the past few weeks, there has been a spike in confirmed cases in the USA. According to the Johns Hopkins University and Medicine Coronavirus Resource Center, as of yesterday afternoon, the total number of confirmed cases was over 2.4 million.

Asked if he wants to fight in an alternative location other than the USA, Brown said he would not mind fighting in Mexico, but is not fully on board with that location either.

He said he has been working out during the COVID-19 pandemic and is in good shape, ready to hit the ring. He said his focus for this fight was on dropping weight naturally.

“I was mainly working on dropping weight naturally instead of having to drain myself for a weigh-in, so that’s what I needed to work on the most for my next fight in the near future,” Brown said.

Brown’s father, Lester Brown Sr., and his uncle, legendary boxer and trainer Ray Minus Jr., have been training him locally.

The younger Brown had a tough year a year ago, winning one match to start the year off before ending the year with two draws and losing two matches. His only victory was against American Alvin Brown in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. The Bahamian said he has learned from the fights he lost and drew.

“My last couple bouts taught me a lot,” Brown Jr. said. “For one, if you see the knockout, go for it because fighting in someone else’s hometown, the judges appear to be biased. In my last bout, I blame myself for how it went because I was dehydrated and knew I was dehydrated and still went on and went in the ring. Dropping 15 pounds in less than two days can be very draining and I just couldn’t recover the next day, so I learned that the hard way.”

His last match was against Cuban Manuel Correa in Miami, Florida. He lost that one by way of technical knockout (TKO) in the third round. That fight was for the vacant ABF super featherweight title.

Brown’s record now stands at 4-2-3 (wins/losses/draws). The 25-year-old said it was unfortunate that matches didn’t go the way he wanted them to go last year.

There is still a lot of uncertainty surrounding the sports world, especially as other countries reopen their borders to international travel. Restarting sports is a difficult task, especially a contact sport like boxing. Brown hopes he can get a fight scheduled in short order. He said he is hungry to get back in the ring, and would love to do so, once it’s safe and secure.

BOC’s newly formed commission to provide assistance

June 25, 2020

The Nassau Guardian


The Bahamas Olympic Committee (BOC) has launched a committee to assist developing athletes through its newly-formed Athletes Welfare Commission.

The commission’s mandate is to assist athletes from all disciplines to reach their full potential in preparation for local, regional and international competitions. The immediate support is intended to assist athletes who are attempting to qualify for the 2021 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan. Athletes on a case-by-case basis will be able to apply for assistance that would be a contribution toward their training and preparation for Tokyo.

“There are any number of needs that an athlete would have on the road to a qualifying event,” said BOC President Romell Knowles. “Whether it is equipment, transportation, dietary supplements or some other resource, the athletes are facing tremendous obstacles to be in the best position to compete. The commission’s job is to look at the applications and assist as best as we can – the best ways the BOC can help relieve some of those burdens.”

The national sports federations will be the point of contact for athletes. They will have access to applications through their national governing bodies. Once an athlete has completed an application, it must be endorsed by the federation and returned to the BOC through the federation.

“Fortunately, there are athletes already on Olympic scholarships, and some who have government subventions,” said Knowles. “So, there is a level of support already for some athletes, but these commission grants are for other athletes who have less support available to them.”

Knowles said professional athletes will not be eligible for grants from the commission. Applicants will have until July 3 to have their applications returned to the BOC. Successful applicants will be notified within three weeks of the application deadline.

BBA looking at phased opening for baseball

June 25, 2020

Sheldon Longley


A phased opening is among the 100-plus recommendations and items of consideration put forth by the COVID-19 Response Committee for baseball in hopes of a return to play of the sport in the country.

Committee member Shane Albury said their number one concern remains the health and safety of the players, coaches, league officials and all involved with regular baseball activity in the country. Like local baseball enthusiasts, they would love to see the game return to regular action but not before all of the safety standards would have been met and all of the respective protocols in place.

An extensive 10-page document detailing a safe and secured return to baseball was presented to the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture. Albury said they expect an answer within the next two weeks. Various leagues such as the Junior Baseball League of Nassau (JBLN) and the Freedom Farm Baseball League (FFBL) are eagerly anticipating a return to their regular baseball activities. The Bahamas Baseball Association (BBA), which governs all baseball activity in the country, is waiting patiently for a response from government and health officials and will relay the message to the various leagues.

“The BBA would love to have baseball back but everything would have to be in accordance with the government orders in place and in conjunction with the various leagues,” said Albury, who also serves as an executive member of the BBA. “Once we receive a response from the proper authorities and pass on the information, it is going to be up to the leagues whether or not to continue this season or start preparing for next year. The leagues will have to determine for themselves how they will set up their schedules in terms of actual play.”

With the phased opening recommendation, Albury said it would be done in such a way that caters to the older players first. The first phase will encompass players 13 and older (junior, senior and girls softball); the second phase will feature the nine to 12 year olds (minor and major); and the final phase will cater to the younger kids, eight and under (tee ball and coach pitch).

“The older kids could understand a bit better the things they need to do, so starting them is an option that we are considering. Then we have the nine to 12 year olds, minor and major, and then phase three would be the younger ones – eight and under,” said Albury. “We understand that the young ones are used to putting their hands all over the place and in their mouths and just being playful with each other. We want to discourage that as much as possible at this stage of recovery. We’ll certainly have to play that phase of opening by air.”

Having studied guidelines and recommendations from international global bodies such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC), Albury said their document is extensive, outlining prevention and safety methods and measures, and addresses all aspects of play on the field – pregame, during the game and postgame. Included are social distancing measures; cleaning and sanitizing protocols as it relates to equipment, stands and premises; and safety training for coaches, players, officials, volunteers, parents and concession stand workers.

He said they are willing to provide the document to other sporting federations and leagues as well.

“We think that this document touches every aspect of the field and every aspect of baseball,” said Albury. “As we progress, we would suggest small group training at first, and then full team practices before engaging in play. We understand that there has been some Zoom training going on and we thoroughly support that. We just want a safe and secure return to baseball and we are moving in that direction.”

Baseball in the country has been stagnant since mid-March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Local seasons have ceased, the BBA nationals were canceled and all travel ball was put off. Albury said that one of the items on the agenda that they are looking at is a fall baseball classic, prior to the start of the new season.

As far as the various leagues are concerned, they have a number of options in front of them whenever the sport is allowed to resume to regular activity. One such option is for players to remain on the same teams in the new season given the likelihood that it will be a while before league and national teams are allowed to travel. Also, they could choose whether or not to finish off this season or move straight into a new season.

It is expected to be determined in the coming weeks.