Multisport event set for the summer of 2023
The Bahamas Games is on the horizon.
The event was officially launched on Saturday, culminating a two-day conclave hosted by the Bahamas Games Secretariat as representatives from the Family Island Sports Council; the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture and sporting federations gathered at SuperClubs Breezes on Friday and Saturday. The official launch of the event was at Baha Mar.
The multisport event, which in 2023 will be dubbed ‘The Bahamas Golden Jubilee Games’, is set for July 7-15 on the island of New Providence next year. This the first time the games will be held in over 20 years with the last one being held in 2001. This is the sixth edition of the games.
The Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture was on hand to bring remarks at the launch.
“The launch of these games is very exciting not only to the ministry and myself, but also to the people of The Bahamas. The Bahamian people have been calling for these games as the last one was held some 20 years ago. I am happy and proud that as we move toward our 50th year anniversary, we are able to reintroduce these games and bring the excitement back to the Bahamian people. It is my belief that these games will once again unite us as a people and one nation coming together through the discipline of sports,” Bowleg said.
Deputy Chairman of the Bahamas Games Secretariat Sharon ‘The General’ Storr said that the planning of the games is coming along but there are a few items that need to be ironed out.
“The dialogue is healthy,” Storr said.
“There are one or two kinks that have to be worked out – in particular, the draft. New Providence wants to take a different approach to the draft and the Family Islands are contesting. We are a sporting family and tonight we have seen that. We are on the same wavelength and it is just a matter of modernizing and adapting to the young people. We have put in an age category in sports that did not have age categories like baseball and sailing.”
Storr said they realize that a lot of people do not know what the Bahamas Games is because of the 20-plus years break. Next up for the secretariat is to populate the committees. Storr said that the games is on schedule.
The islands that will be participating are Abaco, Andros, Bimini and the Berry Islands, Columbus Isles (Cat Island, Rum Cay and San Salvador), Eleuthera, Harbor Island and Spanish Wells as one unit, Exuma and Ragged Island, Grand Bahama, New Providence, Long Island and MICAL (Mayaguana, Inagua, Crooked Island, Acklins and Long Cay).
Andros Sports Council Chairman Brian Cleare said he is happy to have the games back, particularly so the younger persons can be showcased.
“There are so many young athletes today who only heard about the Bahamas Games but never had the opportunity to experience it. This year, Andros is going to be participating in all of the disciplines. The majority of our athletes will be young athletes. We want them to experience what the games are all about,” Cleare said.
Cleare mentioned that athletes like national record holder in the javelin Keyshawn Strachan and basketball player Shaquille Cleare are expected to compete for Andros.
Chairman for Exuma and Ragged Islands Sports Council Kendall Feguson said that the conclave was productive. He said that one of the things that was discussed was a need for sports facilities on the Family Islands.
“Everyone including me is elated in the Exuma and Ragged Island community. The level of enthusiasm among the other Family Islands council members and the camaraderie is there. There is a need for facilities on the Family Islands. If we are going to compete as Family Islands, emphasis must be placed on facilities, so that we can offset what happens in New Providence,” Ferguson said.
Ferguson said despite a lack of facilities, they will be ready to compete.
Chairman for the Long Island Sports Council Jermaine Adderley said his island is preparing for the games, and that they will be strong in a number of disciplines, particularly sailing.
“We are getting into a groove of putting teams together,” Adderley said.
“We have already started in softball and we are about to start in basketball. We will then work our way into track and field. We are already ready in sailing.”
Adderley said he is looking to give those athletes who live on the island first preference, then look at those ones who live on other islands if they need more. Other than those sports mentioned, Long Island is also looking to do well in swimming, golf, boxing, bodybuilding and fitness, and possibly beach volleyball.
Bimini has been known to be a force to reckon with in the past in baseball. Chairman of Bimini and the Berry Island Sports Council Leonard ‘Brave’ Stuart said they are looking forward to participating in the upcoming games.
“We are going to hopefully have a strong team, not only in baseball but in track and field as well. We have some hidden gems who we do not want to discuss at this time, but we should be strong in baseball. We were great back in the day in that sport and we hope to carry on that legacy. We will have teams coming into Bimini and have teams traveling to South Florida, Freeport and Nassau to get ready for these games.”
Stephen Brown from Columbus Isles said they have something in store for New Providence.
“The trash talking coming from those other Family Islands builds our morale,” Brown said.
“New Providence feels like no one can beat them but I got something in store for them. I think we will utilize the draft with great care. We know that only 12 members can play on a basketball team. I don’t care how much New Providence try, they will miss the best set of players. We have a good contingent in Columbus Isles and we will utilize them as best as we can.”
Brown, like the other Family Island council members, highlighted that facilities is an issue they have but they are using their resources to make something happen.
Thirteen sports are expected to be in action at the games. These are softball, basketball, athletics, lawn tennis, bodybuilding and fitness, boxing, baseball, sailing, cycling, soccer, golf, swimming and volleyball.
The theme for the Bahamas Games is ‘Challenges are Chances for the Courageous’.