Month: July 2023

The Bahamas loses out on medals

 Home|Sports|The Bahamas loses out on medalsSports

Men finish fourth while women settle for fifth in Suriname

Sheldon LongleySend an emailJuly 31, 2023 57 2 minute readFacebookTwitterLinkedInShare via Email

 The Bahamas senior men’s national volleyball team finished fourth at the 18th Caribbean Zonal Volleyball Association (CAZOVA) Senior Championships, at the Anthony Nesty Sports Hall in Parimaribo, Suriname. They lost the bronze medal game to Trinidad and Tobago, 25-23, 25-19, 20-25 and 25-18.

The Bahamas’ men and women senior national volleyball teams fell out of the medal picture over the weekend, wrapping up play at the 18th Caribbean Zonal Volleyball Association (CAZOVA) Senior Championships at the Anthony Nesty Sports Hall in Parimaribo, Suriname.

The men lost their semifinal contest to Barbados on Friday and then fell to Trinidad and Tobago in the bronze medal match on Saturday, ending the competition in fourth.

On Friday, they lost 25-23, 25-16, 23-25 and 25-22. Just like he did most of the tournament, Kyle Wilson led the way for The Bahamas. He had 21 points, 20 on kills and one block. Shonari Hepburn was the next highest scorer for The Bahamas with 11 points – eight kills, two service winners and a block. Byron Ferguson contributed 10 points – nine kills and a block.

Akeel Oxley had a game-high 22 points for Barbados, inclusive of 19 kills and three blocks. Akeil 

Williams contributed 14 points on 11 kills, two blocks and a service winner, and Ahkeem Mayers added 13 points on 11 kills, a block and a service winner,

After squeezing out a first-set win, Barbados took control in the second set. The Bahamas couldn’t get any consistent momentum going until the third set. They avoided a three-set sweep and showed signs of life in the fourth, but Barbados stepped up when it needed to, scoring the final three points of the fourth set to close out the match.

At 22-22 in the fourth, The Bahamas threatened to even the match at two sets apiece, but Barbados responded to the pressure and scored the final three points to close out the match.

On Saturday, The Bahamas once again fell down two sets to none, and once again, they couldn’t recover. They lost to Trinidad and Tobago in the bronze medal match, 25-23, 25-19, 20-25 and 25-18.

Wilson was once again the top scorer for The Bahamas. He had 20 points on 18 kills and two service winners. Ferguson was the next highest scorer for The Bahamas with 13 points on 10 kills and three blocks. Hepburn had a dozen points for The Bahamas on eight kills and four blocks.

Marlon Phillip tied Wilson for game-high honors with 20 points for Trinidad and Tobago, all 20 on kills. Daynte Stewart added 19 points on 17 kills and two service winners.

Trinidad and Tobago were the aggressors throughout, taking the action to The Bahamas. After squeezing out a first-set win, they won comfortably in the second set and then bounced back strongly in the fourth after conceding the third.

Trinidad and Tobago won 53 of their 95 points on kills. They added eight blocks and four service winners. The Bahamas aided their cause with 30 errors.

The Bahamas scored 47 of their 85 points on kills. They also had nine blocks and two service winners. Trinidad and Tobago committed 27 errors.

The Bahamas’ women finished fifth overall, losing a tiebreaker with Barbados and host nation Suriname. All three teams finished with a 1-3 win/loss record during the group phase section of the tournament and The Bahamas was the odd team out, finishing with just five points. Barbados and Suriname went on to the semis, but both lost, and ended up playing for bronze.

In The Bahamas’ final game of the group stage competition, they fell in straight sets to Jamaica, 25-16, 25-21 and 25-22. The Bahamas’ only win of the week-long tournament came on opening day against host country Suriname. They won a marathon five-setter, 28-26, 26-24, 21-25, 22-25 and 15-13.

The men and women’s teams are scheduled to return to The Bahamas today.

The Bahamas wraps up competition in Japan

 Home|Sports|The Bahamas wraps up competition in JapanSports

Simba FrenchSend an emailJuly 31, 2023 79 3 minute readFacebookTwitterLinkedInShare via Email

 The Bahamas’ four member team of Rhanishka Gibbs, Zaylie-Elizabeth Thompson, DaVante Carey and Lamar Taylor wrapped up competition over the weekend at the World Aquatic Championships, at the Marine Fukuoka Hall A in Fukuoka, Japan. Shown from left are Taylor, Gibbs, Thompson and Carey. BAHAMAS AQUATICS

All four Bahamian swimmers were in the pool as The Bahamas wrapped up competition at the World Aquatic Championships at the Marine Fukuoka Hall A in Fukuoka, Japan, on Saturday. The meet ended yesterday, but The Bahamas’ participation was done by Saturday.

The quartet of Rhanishka Gibbs, Zaylie-Elizabeth Thompson, DaVante Carey and Lamar Taylor swam in the 4×100 meters (m) mixed freestyle relay to end the competition for The Bahamas. They finished with a national time of 3:43.19, which was lower than their entry time of 3:47.16. They placed fifth in heat three and 27th out of 43 countries.

Taylor led the team off and powered his way to a national record in the 100m free when he swam a blistering split was 50.10 seconds on the first leg. He lowered his own record which was 50.25 seconds, done at the 2022 edition of the Bahamas Aquatics Federation’s National Championships. Carey was next in the pool and he posted a split of 51.84 seconds. Gibbs swam the third leg and posted a split time of 1:02.16 and Thompson anchored The Bahamas home in a split of 59.09 seconds.

In the individual races on Saturday, Taylor missed out by one one-hundredth of a second in qualifying for the semifinals of the 50m backstroke – a race he set the national record in less than a month ago at the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games. He finished 17th overall after touching the wall in 25.12 seconds. Japanese Irie Ryosuke swam 25.11 seconds for the 16th fastest and final qualifying time for the semis. The Bahamian placed sixth in heat six of that event.

Gibbs was in action in the 50m free and she finished 51st overall in a time of 26.64 seconds. There were 102 total swimmers in action in that event. Swimming out of lane four out of heat six, Gibbs placed second in that heat. She missed out on lowering her personal best of 26.29 seconds.

Bahamas Aquatics Federation President Algernon Cargill was at the meet and was impressed with the performances of the Bahamian swimmers.

“The team performed at a high standard,” Cargill said. “Our athletes were excited to compete at a high standard and all performed at their best. Lamar Taylor had an exceptional performance in the 50m back and barely missed the semifinals, by one-hundredth of a second, placing 17th.”

It was a busy day on Friday for The Bahamas as Gibbs, Taylor and Carey were all in action and they swam personal best times. Taylor set another national record, this time in the 50m free. He stopped the clock at 22.26 seconds to shave nine one-hundredths of a second from his previous personal best and national record time of 22.35 seconds. He finished second behind Aruba’s Mikel Schreuders in heat nine and 28th overall out of 119 swimmers. Schreuders clocked 22.10 seconds.

Carey got a personal best in the 100m butterfly as he posted a time of 55.48 seconds after swimming splits of 25.52 seconds and 29.96 seconds. His previous personal best was 56.11 seconds. He finished fourth in heat three out of lane one. Overall, Carey was 52nd out of 74 swimmers.

Gibbs swam a personal best in the 50m butterfly when she posted a time of 28.43 seconds. It was her first individual race at the competition. Her time placed her 39th out of 64 swimmers overall. She was the first to touch the wall, swimming out of lane five in heat number three. Her previous personal best was 28.62 seconds.

Overall, there were five national records broken – three individual and two relays. There were seven personal bests and each of the four Bahamian swimmers set at least one personal best time.

A total of 10 world records were broken at the meet and there were 2,361 total athletes from 191 countries and also the World Aquatics Refugee Team. Cargill said it was a competitive championship and it has inspire Bahamian athletes to train harder in order to qualify for podium positions.

Thompson, Carey and Taylor will now get ready for the collegiate season with Carey competing as a graduate student at McKendree University. Thompson enters her junior year at Howard University and Taylor gets his junior season underway at Henderson State University. Gibbs is set to begin her freshman season at Texas Christian University (TCU).

Women’s tennis team falls to the DR; relegated to group three

 Home|Sports|Women’s tennis team falls to the DR; relegated to group threeSports

Simba FrenchSend an emailJuly 31, 2023 33 2 minute readFacebookTwitterLinkedInShare via Email

 The Bahamas’ Billie Jean King Cup Team has been relegated to the Americas Group III for 2024. Shown from left are Team Captain Kim O’Kelley, and players Sapphire Ferguson, Sydney Clarke, Simone Pratt and Elana Mackey. BAHAMAS LAWN TENNIS ASSOCIATION

The Bahamas’ senior women’s national tennis team went into the final day of the Billie Jean King Cup Americas Group II Tournament on Saturday, needing a win over the host country Dominican Republic (DR) to stay in group two for 2024.

In the end, the host country earned that privilege after taking care of The Bahamas in two straight matches at the Centro Nacional De Tenis Parque Del Este, in Santo Domigo, Dominican Republic. The loss means that The Bahamas has been relegated to the Americas Group III for 2024.

The Bahamian quartet of Elana Mackey, Simone Pratt, Sapphire Ferguson and Sydney Clarke went into the day on a high note after winning their tie against Costa Rica, 2-1. The team was coached by Kim O’Kelley.

On Saturday, Elana Mackey Wass up first for The Bahamas, playing in the number two slot like she did all tournament. She was up against Ana Zamburek. In the end, Zamburek came away with a two-set victory, 6-3 and 6-0.

In the first set, Zamburek took a 2-0 lead, but Mackey came back as the score was 3-2 in favor of the Dominican. Zamburek went up 5-3 and Mackey could not get a hold of the Dominican as the set ended 6-3 in favor of Zamburek.

Mackey had a tough time in the second set as she was shut out 6-0 to fall in that set. The Bahamian was able to serve two aces in the entire match.

The pressure was on Sydney Clarke in the number one singles slot as she needed the win to force the doubles match to determine a winner. She was in action against Kelly Williford. That match ended with Clarke falling to Williford in three sets, 6-3, 1-6 and 6-2.

The first set saw Clarke and her opponent tied at two games each. Williford then went on to win the next three sets to take a 5-2 lead. Clarke was able to win the next game as Williford led 5-3. Williford won the next game and the next set to win 6-3.

It was all Clarke in the second set as the Bahamian won the first two games. She dropped the third game but won the other four games to win 6-1.

Clarke got off to a good start in the third set and it appeared as if she was going to force doubles play when she went up 2-1. That was all the games she won as Williford stormed back and won the next five games to win the match. The Dominican Republic won the tie and will stay in the Americas Group II while The Bahamas will be relegated to the Americas Group III.

Ecuador and Venezuela were promoted to the Americas Group I. Costa Rica was relegated to the Americas Group III with The Bahamas.

On Friday, The Bahamas won their only tie when they took care of Costa Rica 2-1 in Pool B action. Mackey took care of Lucia Gallegos, 6-4, 4-6 and 7-6(7-4). In Clarke’s match at the number one singles slot, she lost in three sets to Nicole Alfaro. Clarke fell, 7-6(7-2), 3-6 and 6-3. In the doubles match, the two most experienced team members, Clarke and lefty Simone Pratt, hit the court for The Bahamas. They were in action against Alfaro and Gallegos. The Bahamian duo won, 6-2 and 6-3.

The Bahamas finished third in their pool with a 1-2 win/loss record, and then they went on to lose the relegation tie to the Dominican Republic. Their two losses in Pool B play came against Paraguay and Venezuela.

Also in action in the Americas Group II competition were Uruguay and Honduras.

Bahamas men spike way into semifinals

Ladies suffer third straight loss

As of Friday, July 28, 2023


#Senior sports Reporter

#The men’s national volleyball team, with a well-rounded effort from every player, swept aside Martinique in three straight sets to advance to the semifinals of the Senior Caribbean Volleyball Championships at the Anthony Nesty Sports Hall in Paramaribo, Suriname.

#Against Martinique yesterday, the Bahamas prevailed with a 27-25, 25-20 and 25-14 win as outside hitter Kyle Wilson led with 21 points, including three aces and a pair of blocks and outside hitter Prince Wilson contributed another 13 points.

#“We did not expect anything less or more,” said team captain Byron Ferguson. “I am happy we could hold off Martinique and play our own game. One set at a time. Now we should get a good rest and stay hydrated.” Team Bahamas was riding a two-game winning streak until it was snapped by Jamaica on Wednesday. That pushed the Bahamas into their quarterfinal match against Martinique and head coach Lloyd Davis said they were prepared for the match-up.

#“We played a partly good game today,” said Davis, who was assisted by Tonny Simon. “We didn’t play up to our full potential, but we won in three sets, so we give God thanks that we were able to advance to the quarterfinals.”

#Team Bahamas, which also features Shonari Hepburn, Donovan Wilmott, Jamaal Ferguson, Renaldo Knowles, Je’Vaughn Saunders, Eugene Stuart, Jesse Delancy. and Gaege Smith, was awaiting the outcome of the remaining games played last night to determine who their opponents and the time they will play today.

#Davis said it doesn’t matter at this point who they face. He indicated that the team is starting to gel as a complete unit.

#“Everybody played well today. Everybody played. We were just focused,” Davis stated. “We were focused on playing volleyball. Everybody did what they were supposed to do. That is why we came out victorious.”

#Davis said the Bahamas just need two more victories and to earn the championship and their game plan the rest of the way is simple.

#“All we need to do is serve tough, pass the ball and execute,” he stressed. “Serve tough, pass the ball and execute.”

#Meanwhile, the ladies team, coached by Jason Saunders and Glenn Rolle, suffered a 25-16, 25-21 and 25-22 loss to Jamaica as they closed out their round robin play with their third straight defeat after winning their opener. Jannelle Curtis led the way for Team Bahamas with 16 points, including a block and two service aces.

#The team, which also comprise Sari Albury, Melinda Bastian, Brittany Bonamy, La’Tavia Braynen, Raechel Knowles, Venessa Sawyer, Laval Sand, Je’Nae Saunders, Ashley Webb, Franceska McBride and Chandra Mackey. is also awaiting the outcome of the games late last night to determine who their next opponents will be going into their playoffs.

#The week-long tournament will wrap up on Sunday.

CARIFTA triathlon team named

As of Friday, July 28, 2023


#Tribune Intern

#THE Bahamas Triathlon Association is getting ready for the hosting of the CARIFTA Triathlon next month.

#The event is scheduled for August 26-27 at Goodman’s Bay each day starting at 8am with the opening ceremony at 5pm on August 25. The event will be divided between two events – a triathlon and an aquathlon.

#Athletes will be divided into three age groups for both females and males and range from four to five athletes per group.

#The groups are 11-12, 13-15 and 16-19 years old.

#Dorian Roach, president of the BTA, expressed how he is feeling confident in the team that has been selected for The Bahamas. The team has already been selected and the female athletes selected are:

#Nai’ Belton, Taylen Nicolls, Lenika Hamilton, Tessa Knowles, Taylor Knowles, Issa Bournas, Chelsea Smith, Emma Barigelli, Kami Roach, Erin Prichard, Anjaleah Knowles, Sienna Culmer-Mackey, Talen Nicholls, Alissa Ferguson, Blue Gray, Tessa Knowles, Lenika Hamilton, Madison Gilbert, Alanna Murray, Grace Farrington, Layla Saidi and Erin Prichard on the female side.

#The male athletes are Sibby Fynn Potter, Lauchlan Menzies, Mathis Bournas, Kendrick Cargill, Malcolm Menzies, Ayden Bain, Lenin Hamilton, Jayden Smith, Callum Pritchard, Launy Duncombe, Enea Gervasini, Barron Musgrove, Jason Cates, Ellie Gibson, Blair Thompson, Kriston Rolle, Kyle Murray, Will Farrington, Brian Burrows, Launy Duncombe, and Ellie Gibson.

#“We are very confident in our team. It is probably the best team to date. We have some real medal potential and we are full in every age group.” Roach said.

#The Bahamas team this year has grown from 21 athletes to 36 athletes, which is the largest team that they have ever had. With this being the largest event that the association has ever had, Roach says that the team is bigger, stronger, and more in depth.

#The Bahamas Triathlon Association will be hosting 10 countries that will be arriving on August 23, 2023. The teams will be staying at SuperClubs Breezes Resort and Spa.

#Roach also shared that he is hoping that The Bahamas team will finish within the top three as they have placed fifth for the past two competitions.

#Roach further went on to thank his sponsors; JSJ, Albany, Westside Construction, Corner Bank, Ministry of Youth Sports and Culture, McVities, Cycles, Powerade, Panama Jack, Bahamar, and Bahamas Waste.

Bahamas falls to Paraguay

As of Friday, July 28, 2023


#Tribune Sports Reporter

#ON day two of the Billie Jean King Cup (BJKC), Team Bahamas came up short against Paraguay and dropped two matches to Venezuela.

#Following a rainy day one, the team had to finish Wednesday’s suspended matches and play their regularly scheduled games yesterday at the Centro Nacional de Tenis Parque Del Este, in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

#Team Bahamas consists of Sydney Clarke, Simone Pratt, Elana Mackey, Saphirre Ferguson and captain Gillian O’Kelley.

#In the Americas Group ll for Pool B, Paraguay and The Bahamas continued where they left off on Wednesday to win 3-0 overall. Clarke resumed play against Leyla Risso Britez down 5-3. Paraguay followed through with their dominance and won the first set 6-3.

#Team Bahamas regained composure in the next set, winning 7-5 in a competitive second set.

#Risso Britez kept Paraguay’s foot on the gas and ended match two with a 7-5 win in the final set. With The Bahamas already down in an 0-2 hole, doubles action featuring Ferguson and Pratt was next. The duo of Tamara Doldan and Paulina Martinessi Franco dropped their competitors in two sets. The set scores were identical 6-2, 6-2 to give Paraguay the win.

#Venezuela trumped Team Bahamas 2-0 on day two with the final match to be played this morning. Mackey was looking to avenge Wednesday’s loss in yesterday’s singles action. However, Sofia Elena Dominguez was determined not to let that happen because she won match one in two sets. Venezuela’s tennis player won comfortably in set one 6-0. Mackey was able to score once in the second set but it was all Dominguez who won 6-1.

#Match two featured Vanesa Suarez and Clarke. Suarez advanced to a 3-1 lead early in the initial set of match two and never looked back. She claimed a 6-2 victory over Team Bahamas. Clarke was the first one on the scoreboard in set two as she looked to bounce back. However, Suarez remained focused and won the final set 6-3.

#The third match will resume today at 9am. .

#The 2023 Billie Jean King Cup will continue until July 29 where two nations will be promoted to Americas Group l and two teams demoted at the conclusion of the tourney.

#The Bahamas is playing in Pool B with Venezuela, Paraguay, and Costa Rica. Pool A consists of Ecuador, Honduras, Uruguay, and the host country the Dominican Republic.

Swimming Worlds: Thompson makes a splash in 100m free

As of Friday, July 28, 2023


Rhanishka Gibbs, left, and Zaylie-Elizabeth Thompson.




#Senior sports Reporter

#ZAYLIE-Elizabeth Thompson had a good showing in her heat of the women’s 100 metres freestyle, but the collegian’s time wasn’t fast enough to advance for placement in the semifinals at the FINA World Aquatics Championships in Fukuoka, Japan.

#Thompson, the only one of the four-member team to compete yesterday, clocked 58.86 seconds for second place in the fourth of eight heats, which placed her 38th overall and out of contention for a spot in the semifinals.

#Thompson, 19, was also shy of her winning performance of 58.78 at the Bahamas Aquatics Nationals last month.

#Elizabeth Timmer of Aruba won the heat in 57.86 for 34th place as she also failed to advance.

#It was Thompson’s second individual swim of the championships. She competed in the 200m medley where she was 24th overall in 2:25.36.

#Thompson also got to team up with the three other members of Team Bahamas as they contested the mixed 4 x 100m medley relay, placing seventh in their heat for 24th overall in 4:03.98, led by Lamar Taylor’s national record breaking feat on the first leg in the backstroke in 55.03. The other two members of the team were Davante Carey and Rhanishka Gibbs.

#Individually, Taylor got some spotlight when he won his heat of the men’s 50m butterfly, but had to settle for 40th overall. He still have two more events to go as he compete in the 50m free today in lane one in the ninth of 13 heats and the 50m backstroke in lane nine in the sixth of seven heats.

#Meanwhile, Carey, 21, competed in the 100m backstroke where he was 47th overall in 57.50, an improvement on his time of 58.51 that he posted at the BA’s nationals. Carey still has the 100m butterfly where he will swim out of lane one in the third of eight heats.

#And Gibbs, the 17 high school, will contest her first individual event in the 50m butterfly in lane five in the third of seven heats before she compete in the 50m free where she will occupy lane four in the sixth of 11 heats.

#All four competitors will team up to compete in the mixed 4 x 100m freestyle relay where Team Bahamas has been placed in lane two in the third of five heats on Saturday.

Striking a balance: Understanding hamstring injuries in track and field

As of Friday, July 28, 2023


Kent Bazard

#By Kent Bazard

#LAST week we had an introduction to the role and function of the sports medicine physician. This week let’s dive right into the deep end and take a swing at the most common injury in all running sports – hamstring injuries.

#As a sports medicine physician deeply committed to understanding and managing injuries in track and field athletes, I have devoted significant research to unravelling the complexities of hamstring injuries.

#Hamstring strains and tears pose substantial challenges to athletes, necessitating comprehensive insights into their anatomy, pathophysiology, and biomechanics.

#Let’s take a small look at the intricate interplay of these factors to shed light on the prevention, diagnosis and management of hamstring injuries in the dynamic world of track and field.

#The hamstring muscle group, located at the back of the thigh, consists of three primary muscles – the biceps femoris, semitendinosus and semimembranosus. These muscles play a pivotal role in hip extension and knee flexion, vital movements involved in running, jumping and hurdling in track and field events.

#The biceps femoris is further divided into a long head and short head, creating a unique dynamic within the muscle group.

#The tendons of these muscles converge and attach to the ischial tuberosity of the pelvis, forming the proximal hamstring complex, while their distal attachments merge to the tibia and fibula. Hamstring injuries in track and field often occur during high-intensity activities that require explosive acceleration, deceleration, and quick changes in direction. The eccentric nature of these movements, such as during the terminal swing phase of running or hurdling, can lead to overstretching and microtrauma within the hamstring muscles. The biceps femoris, particularly the long head, is more susceptible to injury due to its anatomical position, exhibiting higher rates of strain when compared to the semitendinosus and semimembranosus muscles.

#Understanding the biomechanics of hamstring injuries is vital in designing effective prevention and rehabilitation strategies. The late swing phase of running, wherein the hip is flexed and the knee is extended, places significant strain on the hamstrings. Additionally, inadequate eccentric hamstring strength during the initial contact and swing phase of the gait cycle can exacerbate the risk of injury.

#Athletes with muscle imbalances, reduced flexibility, and altered running mechanics are more susceptible to hamstring injuries.

#As a Sports Medicine Physician, my focus is on a proactive approach to prevent hamstring injuries.

#Biomechanical analysis and gait assessments can identify athletes’ risk factors, allowing for targeted interventions to correct muscle imbalances and optimize running mechanics. Incorporating eccentric hamstring strengthening exercises, such as Nordic hamstring curls, into training regimens is paramount in reducing the risk of hamstring injuries.

#In the event of a hamstring injury, prompt diagnosis and individualized rehabilitation are essential.

#Diagnostic imaging, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), can accurately assess the severity of the injury, informing treatment planning. Rehabilitation programs should emphasize eccentric strengthening, flexibility exercises, and progressive return-to-play protocols. Collaborative care among sports medicine practitioners, physical therapists, and athletic trainers ensures comprehensive support for athletes on their road to recovery.

#Understanding the intricacies of hamstring anatomy, pathophysiology, and biomechanics is fundamental in addressing the challenges posed by injuries in track and field. Through evidence-based prevention and management strategies, we can create a safer and more resilient track and field community, celebrating the triumphs of athletes as they strike a balance between pushing their limits and safeguarding their well-being.

#Dr. Kent Bazard, is a Bahamian Sports Medicine Physician, Sports Performance Coach Sports Nutrition Specialist, and Founder of Empire Sports Medicine. Our mission is to empower athletes to reach new heights while safeguarding their health and well-being. We understand the unique demands of sports activities, and we are dedicated to helping athletes prevent injuries, overcome challenges, optimize nutrition and performance.

Clarke sisters know they will have to ‘battle’ on the tennis court

As of Friday, July 28, 2023


Sisters Sydney, left, and Sarai Clarke played with each other for the first time as they partnered in the ladies’ doubles as the Andros Chickcharnies secured the gold medal over the Grand Bahama Lucayans at the sixth edition of the Bahamas Games at the National Tennis Centre last month. Photo: Tenajh Sweeting/Tribune Staff


#Senior Sports Reporter

#THEY’RE sisters, but sooner or later Sydney and Sarai Clarke know that they will have to face each other on the opposite side of the net in a tennis march.

#The duo got a chance to play with each other for the first time as they partnered in the ladies’ doubles as the Andros Chickcharnies secured the gold medal over the Grand Bahama Lucayans at the sixth edition of the Bahamas Games at the National Tennis Center last month.

#The 14-year-old Sarai has been following in the footsteps of her 21-year-old sister, Sydney, whom she considers to be her role model in the sport ever since their parents Shayvon and Bernard Clarke got them involved.

#“I decided to play tennis because of her,” said Sarai, who is now attending the Webb School where she is one of the top tennis players. “I wouldn’t be playing tennis without her. Everything that I learned about the game, I got it from her.”

#Since she got started at the age of nine, Sarai said it’s been an interesting journey for her, but with Sydney there to motivate her, she’s been able to overcome her obstacles.

#Sydney, who has enjoyed a wealth of success as the top junior player before she moved up the ranks as a senior, said she’s seen a lot of similarities in Sarai, including their height.

#“In watching her, I notice that we play similar to each other, especially in our serves,” the older Clarke lamented of her younger sister. “She’s like a splitting image of me. It’s funny, but it shows the bond that we have and how close we are, so I really enjoyed playing with her in the Bahamas Games for the first time in doubles.”

#On getting the opportunity to play together in doubles, Sarai said it meant the world to her.

#“She’s been playing doubles and the fact that she’s my sister means a lot because she really pushed me in that match,” said Sarai as they lost 6-3, 6-1 to the Grand Bahamian veteran duo of Larikah Russell and Simone Pratt. “It was a good learning experience for us.”

#Sydney will he heading back to Birmingham, Alabama, and the University of Alabama at Birmingham for her final year with the Blazers women’s tennis team. She said she’s looking forward to having a banner year.

#Sarai will be heading back to Webb School in Tennessee for her second year. She noted that she’s gained a lot of experience and although she misses home, her family and the beach, she’s looking forward to improving on her game as she remains in the top spot on the team.

#While Sarai is still a junior, Sydney said she’s hoping that she will eventually catch her up to the point that they get to play together on the national team, preferably at the Billie Jean King Cup where Sydney is now making her fifth appearance in the Dominican Republic.

#She’s playing there this week along with Elana Mackey, Pratt and Saphire Ferguson with former long time national champion Kim O’Kelley as their captain on Team Bahamas as they compete in the Americas Group II .

#“We spent a lot of time practicing together this summer,” Sydney pointed out. “So I’m looking forward to seeing where her game goes in the future.”

#And, as the leader of the two, Sydney said she knows Sarai will get a chance to surpass her achievements, but it will come with time.

#“It’s my time now. She just has to wait,” Sydney stated. “If and when it does, I will be happy because she is improving. But, at the end of the day, it will only cause me to push myself harder because I know she’s coming. She’s still young, so I have the respect, but I am getting older.

#“So I will be looking forward to the day when she challenges me. But I am just glad to have her following in my footsteps.”

I-Elite ready to take Reloaded Baseball to another level

TEAM EFFORT: International Elite Sports Academy members combine with the Reloaded Baseball team at Northeast Regional Park, Polk County in their last practice before Saturday’s tourney.

TEAM EFFORT: International Elite Sports Academy members combine with the Reloaded Baseball team at Northeast Regional Park, Polk County in their last practice before Saturday’s tourney.

As of Friday, July 28, 2023


#Tribune Sports Reporter

#THE International Elite Sports Academy has collaborated with the Reloaded Baseball programme since February which has translated to them competing in their first international baseball tournament.

#I-Elite has all hands on deck in assisting the 9-and under (9U) and 10-and under (10U) teams ahead of their international tournament debut on Saturday.

#The Reloaded baseball teams are scheduled to compete at the 10U PG Florida Summer Select Championship (Open) July 28-31 at the Boombah Sports Complex in Sanford, Florida.

#In his appearance at the team’s final practice on the Northeast Regional Park, I-Elite’s co-founder Geron Sands was happy about teaming up with the Reloaded Baseball programme.

#“Everything we do is all about helping kids from The Bahamas to achieve their goals and develop. The relationship with Reloaded is one that I am excited about because with like-minded people at the head of both programmes makes it easier to help some more kids,” Sands said.

#He added that Reloaded and I-Elite have the same goals and ideas, and with the collaboration it will help the kids to be the best that they can be to get the right development.

#The co-founder emphasized that with the Reloaded 9U and 10U teams competing in their first tournament abroad, it will be a teachable moment for all involved.

#He said that he is excited for Reloaded Baseball to be competing in these international events because it will give them a chance to see where they are at, what they need to work on, and the different aspects of the games that they can take back home and get to the same level as the international baseball world.

#With I-Elite’s team being the former stomping grounds of Major League Baseball (MLB) professional player Jasrado “Jazz” Chisholm Jr, the co-founder is confident in their programme. Although the Bahamian native currently plays with the Miami Marlins he played with the I-Elite since he was eight years old before taking the next step.

#Sands firmly believes that Reloaded’s young players possess the foundational skills necessary to get to the next level as fellow Bahamian Jazz Chisholm. “Firstly it is just about understanding the games and knowing where you need to be at times, backing up plays, and being fundamental in the game,” he said.

#The I-Elite co-founder described the younger Chisholm as a student of the game who was always eager to be on the baseball field. With proper coaching and support, Sands believes the Reloaded players have a lot of potential and are on the right track.

#Peron Burnside, president of the Reloaded Baseball programme, echoed similar sentiments to the I-Elite co-founder.

#The programme will mark one year of existence in August and the president is proud of their progress so far. “The collaboration started from February, I-Elite are intricately involved at all of our practices teaching them skills and fundamentals.

#“Since the introduction of I-Elite to our programme we have expanded our coaching. Sometimes it takes outside sources who are experienced in the sport to make the difference,” Burnside said.

#He added that, as the president, he has seen improvement in the younger players’ hitting, timing, batting mechanics and fielding as a result of the collaboration with I-Elite earlier this year.

#Despite being an up and coming baseball club, Reloaded is looking to keep the momentum going in the sport all year round internationally and locally.

#Organisers are planning a tournament for August which will now include Tee-Ball up to the 14U division.

#Also, the tournament will feature teams from the Family Islands, according to the president.

#“We want to take development across The Bahamas with us. We are internally funded but a lot of Family Islands sometimes do not have the means to come, but we try to reach out to strategic partners to assist them in coming in so we can help with their development as well,” he said.

#The 30-member Reloaded baseball team will compete in the kids pitch and 10U divisions this weekend.