The Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA) National Youth, Junior and Senior Track and Field Championships wrapped up on Saturday and several elite athletes were in action this year including one who set a new senior national record. BAAA President Drumeco Archer said he was happy with the performances of the athletes on all levels.
Archer noted that they are still working on crowd participation at the nationals level as there were a number of empty seats in the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium over the course of the nationals despite the top notch quality of the competition.
“This is perhaps one of the best nationals that we have ever produced in my lifetime,” Archer said. “Obviously, we are still working on crowd participation coming out of a COVID environment, but the quality of the competition is at the highest level. We attracted the best athletes in the world at every age group – something that we never did before. We were especially surprised to see the great performances coming from our youth program. It is a program that we have been paying particular attention to because it is the future of track and field.”
Devynne Charlton lowered her own national record in the women’s 100 meters (m) hurdles on Friday when she crossed the finish line in 12.60 seconds. Her previous national record time was 12.61 seconds. Shaunae Miller-Uibo won the double by coming away with the national titles in the women’s 200 and 400m events. In the 400m, Miller-Uibo cruised her way to a time of 52.62 seconds and in the 200m she clocked 22.32 seconds to hold off Anthonique Strachan. Steven Gardiner ran 45.22 seconds to win the men’s 400m national title.
At the youth level, Roliny Labranche doubled in the under-15 boys 100 and 200m races. In the 100m, he clocked 11.36 seconds and 23.12 seconds in the 200m. On the junior side, upcoming sprinters Paige Archer and Shatalya Dorsett made statements. Dorsett, 16, won the under-20 girls 100m in 11.71 seconds while Archer won the under-20 girls 200m title with a time of 24 seconds flat. Dorsett and Archer have both already qualified for the World Athletics (WA) Junior Championships.
BAAA President Archer said that the athletes who have qualified are ready to go to their respective international meets – the world juniors and the World Athletics Outdoor Championships.
“The athletes selected their own team. What I mean by that is, think about the qualifying standards and we have had a good number of athletes in both the senior and junior teams. We are going to be celebrating the fourth edition of the NACAC (North American, Central American and Caribbean Athletic Association) Open Championships in Freeport, Grand Bahama, from August 19-21. The region will be coming to The Bahamas, so it will be another proud moment in the delivery of a high-level presentation of athletics,” Archer said.
“Also, when you look at the Commonwealth Games, that event had an entry deadline and it does not always coincide with our entry deadline. As a result, it is an event that they control, so when the entry closes, we have to have names in. Unfortunately, it did not work in our favor since the naming of the team came before the hosting of our nationals. We had no choice but to select names that we thought would have been best suited for the games,” Archer added.
The two-day meet this past weekend also featured athletes from Haiti, the Turks and Caicos Islands and Bermuda as they looked to qualify for the world championships.