Category: Athletics

Seven Athletes Qualify For Carifta

SHOWN (l-r) are Calea Jackson, Tarajh Hudson, Keyshawn Strachan and Kamera Strachan.

SHOWN (l-r) are Calea Jackson, Tarajh Hudson, Keyshawn Strachan and Kamera Strachan.

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

#By BRENT STUBBS

#Senior Sports Reporter

#bstubbs@tribunemedia.net

#SEVEN athletes attained the qualifying standards for the CARIFTA Games at the Blue Chip Athletics Throwers Meet on Saturday as competitive track and field returned at the Thomas A Robinson Track and Field Stadium amidst the coronavirus pandemic.

#It was the first meet held since sports came to a halt in March during day one of the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture’s National Track and Field Championships at the adjacent TAR National Stadium.

#The throwers meet preceded the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations’ Odd Distance Track Meet, dubbed “Track is Back,” at the TAR National Stadium on Saturday as well.

#In the discus, Calea Jackson, who is in boarding school in the United States, threw 37.34 metres or 122-feet, 6-inches to surpass the under-17 girls’ standard of 36.88 (121-0). She was joined by Tarajh Hudson in the under-20 boys’ division as his winning toss of 53.66m (176-0) went above the standard of 52.13m (171-0).

#The other five qualifying performances came in the javelin. Collegian Rhema Otabor, home from her first semester as a freshman at Florida International, won the under-20 girls event with a heave of 47.15m (154-8), well over the standard of 38.39m (125- 11). Camitra Mackey also did the standard in the under-20 girls division with her second place mark of 38.53m (126-5).

#Kamera Strachan threw 34.47m (113-1) to go over the Under-17 girls’ standard of 34.39m (112-10), but she is too young to be eligible to compete at the games.

#Kaden Cartwright did 51.38m (168-7) for the under-17 boys’ standard of 50.65m (166-2) and Keyshawn Strachan, competing in the under-20 boys division, won with 64.45m (211-5) to surpass the standard of 60.94m (199-11).

#Blue Chip coach and meet director Corrington Maycock said there was a lot of excitement and a very impressive performance with seven qualifiers from the throwers in one meet.

#He called it highly successful.

#“We still had them practicing, although we had to obey the COVID-19 rules and laws,” Maycock said. “We were able to do so much with the kids. We worked a lot on their techniques and it paid off.”

#As of today, Maycock said his athletes will begin their weightlifting training in the gym so that they can get stronger as they prepare for 2021.

#“I expect better performances as we look forward to next year,” Maycock said. “For those athletes who haven’t qualified as yet, we hope that by February or March, they will have done the standards.”

#Maycock, however, said there is a possibility because of COVID-19 that the CARIFTA Games could be pushed back from the Easter holiday weekend in Bermuda to probably July. If it does, Maycock said the throwers will have more time to qualify, but the problem will be ensuring that they get into the various meets in order to achieve their goal.

#As for Saturday’s meet, Maycock said they did the necessary temperature checks and ensured that the throwers did their hand sanitising and social distance.

#“It worked out pretty well,” he said.

#“Everybody wore their masks, including the throwers. They only took it off when they threw. Once they finished, they put them on. “I think the BAAA did a good job adhering to the safety measures (put in place by the Ministry of Health and the Competent Authority).

#“It went pretty well and pretty smooth. We didn’t have any hiccups.”

Track Is Back

AN athlete competes in the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations’ first track and field meet - held on Saturday at the Thomas A Robinson National Stadium - since the coronavirus pandemic broke out in March.
Photo: Terrel W Carey/Tribune Staff

AN athlete competes in the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations’ first track and field meet – held on Saturday at the Thomas A Robinson National Stadium – since the coronavirus pandemic broke out in March. Photo: Terrel W Carey/Tribune Staff

Monday, December 21, 2020

photo

#By BRENT STUBBS

#Senior Sports Reporter

#bstubbs@tribunemedia.net

#Under the theme: “Track is Back,” the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations hosted its first track and field meet since the coronavirus pandemic broke out in March.

#The BAAA, in closing out what has been a dramatic year of postponements and cancellations of various local and international sporting events, staged the Odd Distance Track and Field Meet at the Thomas A Robinson National Stadium on Saturday.

photo

#“We’ve been planning for the COVID-19 environment since the lockdown and we recognised very early that certain things had to be in place,” said BAAA president Drumeco Archer. “We’ve been in communication with the Competent Authority, giving them the assurance that we could do this and we could do this well.”

#Archer said the meet on Saturday was proof that they could host a safe and successful meet, so he was very happy with the outcome, considering that the athletes performed at a very high level.

#“I think what we know we have to look at is that our competition will have to be in a non-spectator environment and so we will have to absorb all of the expenses,” he said.

#“At the end of the day, I think we will have to wrap our heads around how we can deliver a safe meet for our athletes in readiness for regional and international competition.”

#With all indications that the CARIFTA Games might have to be pushed back from the Easter holiday weekend until the summer in Bermuda, Archer said they will have to concentrate on finding more meets for their athletes to sustain their training programme.

#Just before the Odd Distance Meet took place, the Blue Chip Athletics Club hosted a Throwers Meet at the original TAR Stadium where seven athletes attained the qualifying standards for CARIFTA.

#However, one of the athletes is only 13 years old and is not eligible for the games as athletes must be 15 years or older in order to participate.

#There were no qualifying standards for CARIFTA or any other international meets attained at the Odd Distance Meet, but for the most part, most athletes were just delighted to be competing again.

#Hurry Murray’s Breyana Kemp was one of them. She easily won both the girls’ under-17 600 metre race in one minute and 45.40 seconds over 4D Stallions’ Aliyah Brown, who did 1:51.69 and Red- Line’s Sara Williams, who was third in 1:54.67. Kemp, a 15-year-old 11th grader at St Augustine’s College, also captured the 1,000m in 3:21.27 with Ezthia Maycock of Red-Line second in 3:30.01 and Leahja Williamson of Fast Forward third in 3:45.75.

photo

#“It’s good to be back. We’ve been out since March. No competition, so competing today was a good thing,” Kemp said. “Next year, I want to run my personal best in all my races and qualify for the national teams.”

#In winning his heat of the boys’ under-17 600m in 1:29.09, but placing third overall, T-Bird Flyers’ Amando Poitier too was thrilled to be back on the track. “I feel good. I came out here to participate and to do my best,” the 16-year-old Doris Johnson Senior High 12th grader said. “I felt very good. It was good to get back on the track.”

#Tyler Miller of Bahamas Speed Dynamics was the overall winner in 1:27.48, followed by Dion Major of T-Bird in 1:28.82.

#While the focus was on the younger athletes, some of the senior and elite athletes also competed.

#The open women’s long and triple jumps saw collegian Charisma Taylor surge to victory in both events, while placing second in the 150m.

#In the triple jump, Taylor, representing Leap of Faith, cleared 12.81m (42-0 1/2) for the victory over team-mate Tamara Myers, who did 12.70m (41-8).

#Taylor also captured the long jump with a leap of 5.59m (18-4 1/4) with fellow collegian Andira Ferguson placing second with 5.20m (17-0 3/4) and college bound high school sensation Anthaya Charlton coming in third with 5.20m (17-0 3/4) as well.

#“On the whole, I think I did very well,” Taylor said. “It’s still early. It’s December, but I feel I’m in a good position for the season.

#“There’s still some things I need to work on, but it was a good meet. I still have some things to work on.”

#In August, Taylor returned to college and was training in preparation for competing at both the NCAA indoor and outdoor nationals, if they are contested, and going on to represent the country at the postponed 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan in July, 2021 in the 100m hurdles and the triple jump.

#“The hurdles have been going really good. My technique has gotten better, my approach has also gotten better, so I’m just looking forward to seeing how well I can do it at that event,” she noted.

photo

#Myers, based here at home after graduating from college, said she was trying out a new technique and it turned out to be an indication of where she’s at in her training.

#“It could have been better, but considering all that has happened, I’m pleased,” Myers said. “I’m in good shape, I’m eating healthy, I’m training hard, so I feel awesome. I’m looking forward to the rest of the season.”

#Myers said she was looking forward to competing at the World Athletics’ World Indoor Championships, but that meet has been postponed due to COVID-19.

#“We will see if we can get into some meets before the outdoor season,” said Myers, whose goal is to make the Olympic team as well. “If not, we will wait outdoors and go for it.”

#Ferguson, currently at Fresno State in California, said she too was delighted to be home and competing.

#“It was good to get my feet wet for the outdoor season,” she said. “It was good to see where I’m at. I spotted the few things that I did wrong, so I know what I have to correct.”

#As for next year, the 22-year-old Ferguson said she is planning to see whatever senior meet she can qualify for, but there’s no major priority.

#Meanwhile, Charlton, who has already secured an athletic scholarship to attend the University of Kentucky next year, won the open women’s 150m in 18.25 with Taylor showing her versatility coming in second in 18.61. Laila Cleare of Fast Forward was third in 18.67.

#Home after graduating from the University of Nebraska in 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in construction management and now working with his family plumbing/construction company, Kaiwan Culmer said it was good to compete in another Odd Distance Track Meet.

#Culmer, competing for Leap Of Faith, won the men’s triple jump with 15.26m (50-0 3/4). Keianno Rolle of the University of the Bahamas, was the only other competitor, placing second with 14.15m (46-5 1/4).

#“Instead of the full runway, we had to use an approach of 49 feet, which is not much,” Culmer said. “My usual approach is 131 feet, so it’s a significant amount of steps that I was losing out.

#“Other than that , I jumped 15.26 (50-0 3/4), which is pretty good. When I was in school, I did 14.9 (48-10 3/4) with 12 steps and in this meet, I had eight steps so that performance was pretty good.”

#The goal for Culmer next year is to qualify for the Olympics.

#“That’s the only thing I’m shooting for,” said Culmer, who celebrated his 24th birthday on October 25. “That’s the only reason why I’m out here.”

#Some of the other outstanding performances from the Odd Distance Meet came from some of the younger athletes, including the following:

#Daveigh Farrington on Hurry Murray, winner of the girls under-11 80m in 12.10 and Taree Forbs of Boost Athletics won the 150m in 33.49.

#Travis Rolle of the Bahamas Speed Dynamics in the under-11 boys 80m in 11.49 and Michael Ford of Spirit of Excellence in the 150m in 22.18.

#His team-mate Shekinah Johnson took the girls under-13 80m in 10.59 and she doubled up in the 150m in 19.76, while Darvinique Dean of the 4D Stallions emerged as the champion of the 300m in 43.13.

#In the under-13 boys division, Rolinny Labranche of the Star Trackers won the 80m in 10.45 and Tyler Frazier of the Red-Line won both the 150m in 18.32 and the 300m in 40.61.

#The girls under-15 division saw Nya Wright of Red-Line clinch the title in the 150m in 19.39; Malynte Clarke of Bahamas Speed Dynamics won the 300m in 42.26; Katia Archer of the Star Trackers took the 600m in 1:50.10 and Kristi Ford of Spirit of Excellence won the 1,000m in 3:28.15.

#On the under-15 boys side, Tumani Skinner of Red-Line captured the 150m in 17.29; Philip Gray of DTSP Wolfpack won the 300m in 37.57 and Breck Kemp of Hurry Murray won the 600m in 1:45.71 and the 1,000m in 3:06.97.

#D’Angelo Collie of Red- Line won the long jump with 5.37m; Zion Evans of Xtreme Athletic took the shot put with 11.18m; Berkley Findley of Quick Step won the javelin with 11.19m.

Bio of Davis on fast track with well-known author, major publisher

The Nassau Guardian

 In this file photo, Bahamian “Golden Girl” Pauline Davis-Thompson was honored on, being named an Honorary Life Person Member of the IAAF. She will receive a plaque of merit and veteran pin awards. She is shown above with BAAA President Drumeco Archer at left. LAURA PRATT-CHARLTON

Pauline Davis, the Bahamian icon who once conquered the sprinting world, is about to get her own book with a major US publisher.

This country’s original “Golden Girl” signed a book deal with US publisher Rowman & Littlefield earlier this week, a move that will bring her remarkable story of resilience, determination and Olympic glory to the world.

Dramatic and unflinching, Davis’ upcoming memoir, titled, ‘The Girl Who Ran Sideways: The Story of an Olympic Champion’, will be co-written with noted Canadian author T.R. Todd, who recently penned the award-winning book ‘Pigs of Paradise: The True Story of the World Famous Swimming Pigs’.

Raised on Fleming Street, in Bain Town, Davis would defy the odds to not only become a double gold medalist, but the first woman from the Caribbean to take home the ultimate Olympic prize in athletics. It tells the story of a girl who was plucked from obscurity to become one of the most decorated female sprinters of her generation, and the first woman of color to join the World Athletics Council, the international governing body of track and field (formerly known at the International Association of Athletic Federations – IAAF).

“It is with absolute excitement that I can announce the upcoming publication of my book,” said Davis, who won her two gold medals at the Summer Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia, in 2000 – and a silver medal in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1996.

“At the end of the day, I am a product of Bain Town in Nassau. I was never meant to make it this far. From The Bahamas to the world, I hope my story inspires Bahamians and people from all walks of life to reach for their potential and never give up.”

With an expected release date in early 2022, The Girl Who Ran Sideways describes in raw detail Davis’ upbringing in Bain Town, without power or electricity. Every day, she carried the family’s buckets to the government tap to fetch fresh water. It was there she learned to run sideways, sprinting barefoot from bullies – it was the only way to get the buckets of water home, without spilling.

Neville Wisdom, a seasoned track coach with the Bain Town Flyers Track Club, couldn’t believe his eyes when he saw this poor little girl, barefoot, sprinting down the track sideways on a grainy video tape recording, but he also saw something else. He saw the heart of a champion.

“Pauline’s story is truly stranger than fiction,” Todd explains, Davis’ ghost writer and a former Business Editor of The Nassau Guardian.

“While we’ve known each other for years, it was only recently we finally came together and decided to write this book. Every aspect of her life is incredible and defies expectation. I hope this book is something the entire Bahamas can be proud of, but beyond that, it’s an opportunity for the whole world to know The Bahamas on a more intimate level, through the eyes of the original Golden Girl. In these challenging times, this is a story of perseverance that we all need,” said Todd.

Davis, who competed in five Olympic Games, first burst onto the international track and field scene in 1982 with her historic run at the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Junior Track and Field Championships in Barbados, capturing four gold medals in the 100 meters (m), 200m, 400m and long jump. Later, in 1984, she forever endeared herself to the Bahamian public with her legendary performance at the 1984 CARIFTA Games in Nassau, Bahamas.

Despite a serious hamstring injury just months before, Davis won the 100 and 200m. Then, as the anchor of the 4x400m relay team, she flew around the track in dramatic fashion to secure the gold and defeat the Jamaicans in the CARIFTA Games, en route to winning the Austin Sealy Award for Most Outstanding Athlete at the meet.

It would only be the beginning of a decorated track and field career spanning 20 years, ending on September 30, 2000, when the “Golden Girls” – Eldece Clarke, Debbie Ferguson, Chandra Sturrup, Savatheda Fynes and Davis – defeated the world, including a Marion Jones-led US team, to win the women’s 4x100m relay, bringing home the country’s first gold medal in athletics at the Olympics.

“I could not have accomplished what I did without my Golden Girl sisters,” Davis said. “While we did not always agree, they pushed me and together we made history. So, I want to share this book with them. This story needs to be told.”

It was an historic year of firsts for The Bahamas. In that same Olympics, Davis would also win the silver in the 200m, which would later be upgraded to the gold after Jones was stripped of her medals for doping. Years later, she would make history again as the first woman of color to be elected to the World Athletics Council.

While inspiring and exhilarating, The Girl Who Ran Sideways is also a candid portrait of Davis’ personal struggles to become the best in the world.

Whether it was the separation of her parents, the racism she experienced at the University of Alabama, her two lifetime suspensions (both rescinded) from Bahamian athletics, or the classism and political victimization she endured along the way, Davis’ path to success was littered with hardship.

“In this book, I want to speak truth to power,” Davis said. “There were many things that happened to me in my life. I’ve experienced my fair share of tragedy and struggles. When people read this book, I hope what they take away from it is that success is not an accident. It takes work – hard work – and perseverance to reach your dreams.”

In these difficult times, The Girl Who Ran Sideways reminds us that it doesn’t matter how you start off in life – it’s how you finish.

Face To Face: Belinda Learned From Her Mother – Standing Up For Others And Making Their Voices Heard

BELINDA WILSON

BELINDA WILSON

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

photo

FELICITY DARVILLE

#By FELICITY DARVILLE

#MANY schools, especially public schools in The Bahamas, had their first day of school yesterday. It also happened to be World Teacher’s Day – the 26th annual day honouring teachers globally. This year’s theme was: “Teachers leading in crisis – reimagining the future”.

#In the view of a global pandemic, teachers are facing their most difficult time yet. The new school year is quite different from any other year, and schools are having to embrace the digital age like never before. The challenge in The Bahamas is complicated by the fact that at least a hundred teachers are in quarantine at this moment. In spite of it all, Bahamas Union of Teachers (BUT) president Belinda Wilson is confident her members are up to the task, but they will need as much support as possible.

#“I reimagine a future in education and teaching where teachers will be respected, honoured, and where our voices will be heard,” Belinda said.

#“I reimagine a future where teachers will be seen as the experts and the architects of our educational system. Thirty-two million teachers in 192 countries are celebrating. In this COVID-19 pandemic environment, be strong, be resilient. We will and we can succeed; we will make it. In Bahamas, I want to say to teachers, solidarity… forever!”

#Belinda has given her life to the cause of teachers in The Bahamas. She has played an active role in the BUT for the past 26 years, and continues to go strong. She has served as the union’s president since 2008 and she is the longest-serving in this post. She is also BUT’s longest-serving executive officer, and the third woman to serve as president, the first being the renowned educator Mabel Walker who led the union in 1947. Prior to COVID-19, Belinda and her executive team were at the table with the Ministry of Education negotiating the fourth collective bargaining agreement that she has taken part in. She has been co-lead for one and has taken the lead for three.

photo

BELINDA in an outfit made up of different student uniforms.

#“In 2012, we were able to get medical insurance for our members,” she said.

#“Our terms and conditions of service, as well as having a better quality of education for students… these are always on our mind and reflected in our industrial agreement.”

#Her monumental journey in the teacher’s union started in 1994. She was teaching physical education at CC Sweeting Junior High (now TA Thompson Junior High) under the great Leonard “Boston Blackie” Miller. Many find it surprising that a woman with a Master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of St Thomas, a Bachelor’s degree in English Language from St Augustine’s University in Raleigh, North Carolina, trained to teach English Language and Literature at the College of The Bahamas, would choose to teach physical education.

#Belinda replied: “Why? Because it is an easy fit for me. I spent three months teaching English Language and Literature when I went to the Ministry of Education to request a transfer to teach physical education. I felt closed in. It didn’t suit me. I like to move; I am upbeat and active.”

#She showed athletic prowess from a young girl. Born on Ross Corner, this Farm Road girl is the ninth of 11 children born to Reverend Basil and Maria Johnson. She attended Woodcock Primary before attending St John’s College for high school.

photo

BELINDA on being elected BUT president.

#Principal Arlene Nash Ferguson once held a competition at the school, which Belinda won. She is to thank for the name “The Green Giants” that students shout at competitions today. While at St John’s, Belinda not only excelled in academics, but also at athletics. She made records at the school in track events like the 400 and 800 metres, and long jump. She participated in numerous sports, including softball.

#It was for this sport that she was granted a full scholarship to St Augustine’s, thanks to Cynthia “Mother” Pratt and Tom “The Bird” Grant, who helped hundreds of Bahamian students have the opportunity to study there. She enjoyed a full ride from 1991 to 1994, and played outfield in softball consistently for the college, which is now a university. She also wrote for the school newspaper, and graduated Magna Cum Laude, completing her degree in three years instead of four.

#It was May of 1994 and Belinda was about to graduate. Her boyfriend, Arnold Wilson, had flown over to the graduation, but he also intended to propose. Unfortunately, Arnold lost the ring! Bewildered by the event, he ended up telling his love what had happened, and they went back to the mall where he thought he had dropped it. Lo and behold, the ring was still on the floor of the shop where he dropped it. It was carefully wrapped in a napkin. The fact that the napkin was still on the floor in the spot he dropped it was a sign to the couple that they “were meant to be together”. Twenty-six years later, they are still in love and going strong with a beautiful daughter, Nika, Belinda says. They got married at 11am on May 7, 1994 and at 12 noon, Belinda was walking across the stage in her cap and gown.

photo

BELINDA’s parents, Rev Basil and Maria Johnson. Her mother died in November last year at the age of 90, and her father is still alive at 91 years old.

#That same year, she started at CC Sweeting Junior and was elected a shop steward for her counterparts at the school. She taught there for five years before moving on to CV Bethel Senior High, and she was one of the pioneering teachers who were among the first to work at the new school. By 2003, Belinda went on to assist in the opening of another new school – Dame Doris Johnson Senior High. She became the first Teacher of the Year for the school, and also received the Excel award for Coach of the Year.

#She credits her first go at teaching to Bishop Neil Ellis, who made contact with the late great Rev Charles Saunders, requesting an opportunity for her to work at what was then the Bahamas Baptist College, now named after Rev Saunders. She says her first students are now 48 and 49-years-old, making great contributions to the country, which gives her great joy and pride. She and her family continue to attend Mount Tabor Church under Bishop Ellis to this day.

#Her strong faith, she said, was nurtured by her parents: “I thank my parents for teaching us the way of the Lord. My dad woke us up at 5am to pray every day. We went to church and Sunday school. On December 31, 1989 I accepted the Lord and I am a true believer. My husband is also a quiet, but prayerful man. He provided a safe, comfortable, loving home and whenever I have a rough day, I can go home to the loving arms of my husband. He is my rock and a pillar of strength. My daughter is quiet like him, but very observant. My siblings and some of my cousins and close friends have also been a pillar of strength for me in my life.”

#Her mother also made a tremendous impact on her, as she learned to be an activist under her wings: “I must have followed in my mom’s footsteps. We spent a lot of time with her at the Bahamas Hotel Catering and Allied Workers Union. She was a chief shop steward for 18 consecutive years there. We were on the ground with her when they demonstrated, and we watched her take a stand for others.”

#Belinda – who was a shop steward from 1994-1996 and a trustee from 1996-1999, found it necessary to take that same type of stand for others when she attended a union meeting back in 2004: “I never wanted to be president; I never even thought about it. But I attended a certain meeting and holy hell, as they say, came up in me. I saw what was happening in that meeting and I thought the teachers deserved better representation. I decided to seek out certain individuals and convince them to run with me for the new executive team. Among them was Ida Turnquest. She was to run for the president position and I would run for secretary general. She said yes. We ran with a small team, but our team was successful.”

#During the following BUT elections in 2008, Ida decided that she did not want to run, so Belinda made the decision to run for the post. Later on, Ida had changed her mind. So she ended up running against Belinda along with Francis Friend and Byron Small for the position of president. Belinda won. She has been at the helm ever since. She considers herself in good company, as the BUT has had some outstanding persons in leadership, including Carlton Francis and former Governor General Dame Ivy Dumont, who was the union’s first secretary general. The union has a rich legacy and on January 10, 2018, a document was produced in this regard. It is a booklet commemorating the oral history of the BUT, written and edited by Patricia Roker and designed by Sheila Bethell.

#Belinda has the honour of having the BUT’s multi-purpose building in Grand Bahama named in her honour – the Belinda Wilson Convention Center. Two executive committees voted on and approved the name. It commemorates a woman who continues to be at the forefront of the fight for the rights of teachers. In addition, hundreds of teachers have benefitted from local and international training under her leadership. Union members benefit from Christmas bonuses, and they also have retirement and death benefits.

#“I am very proud to be representing the teachers of this nation,” she said, “It is the profession of professions.”

#“It is an honour and privilege for me to serve them for such a long time. I have made so many friends and I have so many relationships with colleagues and associates that will last a lifetime. I enjoy life and I have a passion for what I do. There is something inside of me… I get very upset when I watch people being taken advantage of and when people are treated unfairly. It causes me to want to push and advocate even more for the rights not only of teachers, but people in general. I intend to serve my country and be a voice for the voiceless without fear or favour as long as I have breath.”

#There were some highs and lows in Belinda’s tenure. Among them, she was suspended several times by executive committee. In 2017, she went to the Supreme Court to plead for her place on the ballot. The court ruled in her favour, and she won her way back to the presidency by more than 1400 votes.

#“I have learned that you have people who for and those who are against you. After running and being successful seven times, I realise there’s more with me than against me. I am honoured to have served the teachers for so many years and we are still going strong!

Nacac Says Miller-Uibo’S Concerns ‘Require Urgent Attention Of World Athletics’

SALWA EID NASER, of Bahrain, right, reacts after winning the gold medal while being congratulated by silver medallist Shaunae Miller-Uibo, of the Bahamas, after the women’s 400 metre final at the World Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar, on Thursday, October 3, 2019.
 (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty)

SALWA EID NASER, of Bahrain, right, reacts after winning the gold medal while being congratulated by silver medallist Shaunae Miller-Uibo, of the Bahamas, after the women’s 400 metre final at the World Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar, on Thursday, October 3, 2019. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty)

By Brent Stubbs

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

#North American, Central American and Caribbean (NACAC) is supporting Olympic champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo in questioning why World Athletics didn’t penalise women’s 400 metre world champion Salwa Eid Naser from Bahrain for apparently missing a series of drug testing.

#Following her emphatic triumph on October 5, 2019 at the World Championships in Doha, Qatar over Miller-Uibo, World Athletics provisionally suspended Naser on January 5, 2020 for failing to make herself available for three drug testings during a span of 12 months.

#However, on October 20, World Athletics’ Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) cleared Naser of any wrongdoing and dropped all charges against her, allowing her to hold onto her gold medal and be eligible to compete in the postponed 2020 Olympic Games, which will now be held in Tokyo, Japan in 2021.

#Miller-Uibo, 26, questioned why the 22-year-old Naser wasn’t suspended – possibly for two years.World Athletics, the world governing body for the sport, has not yet released any statement in response to Miller-Uibo’s plea.

#However, three weeks later, NACAC, the governing body for the sport in the region headed by Bahamian Mike Sands as president, issued a statement yesterday stating that having thoroughly examined the circumstances that led to the recent comments of Miller-Uibo on the recent ruling of the Athletes Integrity Unit (AIU) against Naser and that their Athletes Commission is throwing their support behind the Bahamian multiple national record holder.

#“We are mindful that in the case of Salwa Eid Naser, the terms of the delays in the charges being brought sometimes happens because the Anti-Doping Organisations with results management responsibility need to be thorough in their investigations before alleging the commission of an anti-doping rule violation,” the NACAC statement read.

#“Nevertheless our Athletes Commission nonetheless feels that many of the concerns raised by Mrs Uibo are valid and require the urgent attention of World Athletics if it is to sustain the confidence of athletes in the system and, ultimately, in the sport,” the statement read.”

#The statement further stated that athletes are required and are held accountable for their actions and rightfully so, however, many are convinced that the process is inconsistent. The process is not at all uniform across the globe to such an extent that many are of the view that some athletes will always get the benefit of the doubt given the perceived inconsistencies.

#“There has to be greater accountability on the part of athletes regarding whereabouts filings but we also believe that the process applied in dealing with whereabouts failures could be more explicitly outlined,” the release noted.

#“Rather than having the option to provide explanatory notes, this should be a requirement. Inconsistency in the application of rules, regulations and laws is one of the most frustrating things for athletes.”

#Nigerian-born Naser clocked a personal best time of 48.14 seconds, becoming the first Asian woman to win the 400m at the World Championships. Her time placed her third on the 400m all-time list behind only world record holder Marita Kock (47.60) and Jamila Kratochvilova (47.99).

#In the process, Miller-Uibo had to settle for second place in a national and area record of 48.37 for sixth place on the all-time list.

#In her statement last month, Miller-Uibo said her concern was not just with the athlete missing four tests and having the charges dismissed.

#“It’s with the international federation and the integrity unit that was assembled to protect this sport,” she stated. “In my opinion, the World Athletics and the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) were caught with their hands in the cookie jar as it pertains to this case. I was interested to see how this turn of events would transpire.

#“I think this strengthens the need for an independent body to serve alongside the World Athletics appointed athlete representatives. With the independent athletes’ body, more accountability will be given as we try our best to rebuild trust and integrity in our beloved sport…I cry foul play and I believe there is a deeper explanation on how the World Athletics along with the AIU allowed this to carry on to this extent.”

#Ultimately, AIU determined the doping control officer (DCO) inadvertently knocked on the wrong door during Naser’s third whereabouts failure on April 12, thus nullifying their decision not to suspend her.

#NACAC said of some concern is the matter of the options available to athletes who are aggrieved with the operations and/or decisions of the AIU.

#“To whom can the athletes turn in such instances? The operations and/or decisions of the AIU. To whom can the athletes turn in such instances? We, therefore, understand Shaunae’s advocacy as we do her right to speak out on matters deemed pertinent to the cause of all athletes,” the statement further read.

#“Regular dialogue is critical in this process. We insist that we are all accountable regardless of where we are located in the sport’s global structure.”

#As president of NACAC, Sands sits around the executive table of World Athletics, having replaced Pauline Davis-Thompson, the immediate past councilwoman, who previously represented the region.

#World Athletics is headed by Sebastian Coe, whom Miller-Uibo called upon to provide a response detailing each step of all the failures that unfolded since the case began.

PAULINE DAVIS

THE DOYENNE OF BAHAMIAN SPRINTERS

Pauline Davis began practising sport at school. Although she already liked running, she also practised as many sports as possible, including softball, field hockey and basketball. At 13, she was spotted by a coach thanks to a video tape. It was then she took her first real steps into athletics. At her first Olympic Games in 1984 in Los Angeles, Pauline was the flag-bearer for her country at the Opening Ceremony. In the 100m, she was eliminated in the semi-final, and she finished in sixth place in the 4x100m relay. Her second and third Olympic Games, in 1988 in Seoul and in 1992 in Barcelona, resulted in semi-final places in the 100m and 200m. It was in Barcelona that Frank Rutherford, with whom Pauline was at school and who was behind her meeting her coach, won the first Olympic medal for the Bahamas in the triple jump. At the 1996 Games in Atlanta, Pauline Davis lined up for the 400m. In the semi-final and final, she twice beat the national record. In a very fast race in which Olympic, African and Oceanic records were beaten, she finished fourth by only 18 hundredths of a second. With her compatriots Sevatheda Fynes, Chandra Sturrup and Eldece Clarke, she won the silver medal in the 4x100m relay behind the US team. Aged 34 in 2000, Pauline Davis competed in her last Olympic Games in Sydney. However, the sprinter had never run so fast. In the 200m final, she achieved the best time of her career beating Susanthika Jayasinghe of Sri Lanka by one hundredth of a second and collecting the silver medal: the first Bahaman woman to win an Olympic medal in an individual event. World champions since 1999, it was in the 4x100m relay that the Bahamians were eagerly awaited. After Sevatheda Fynes and Chandra Sturrup, Pauline passed on the baton to Debbie Ferguson, who held off Merlene Ottey-Page and Marion Jones to win the race and give the Bahamas their first gold medal of the Olympic Games. With three Olympic medals, Pauline Davis retired at her peak. The woman who was awarded the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 2004 today gives back to athletics what the sport gave to her by training talented young Bahamian sprinters. 

Minister Visits Andre Rogers National Baseball Stadium

MINISTER of Youth, Sports and Culture Lanisha Rolle and a delegation from her ministry visit the Andre Rodgers National Stadium site on June 12.
Photo: Eric Rose/BIS

MINISTER of Youth, Sports and Culture Lanisha Rolle and a delegation from her ministry visit the Andre Rodgers National Stadium site on June 12. Photo: Eric Rose/BIS

As of Thursday, June 18, 2020

#MINISTER of Youth, Sports and Culture Lanisha Rolle and a delegation from her ministry visited the construction site of the new Andre Rodgers National Baseball Stadium June 12.

#Michael Foster, project architect at Arconcepts, Ltd., along with Ministry of Public Works architect Terran Rodgers, led the tour as the group interacted with construction stakeholders and discussed the possibilities in the use of the entire stadium’s structure.

#Among those on the tour were permanent secretary Eugene Poitier, under secretary Montez Williams, acting under secretary Renee Bullard, director of sports Tim Munnings, office manager Aileen Spencer, consultant Telford Mullings, National Sports Authority chairman Burton Rodgers and other NSA officials.

#Rolle announced in the House of Assembly last week during her debate o the 2020/2021 budget that the new stadium should be completed by December 2020 at a cost of $27,486.658.00.

‘This Is The Best Thing For Me’

Bahamian sprinter Anthonique Strachan.

Bahamian sprinter Anthonique Strachan.

As of Wednesday, June 17, 2020

#By BRENT STUBBS

#Senior Sports Reporter

#bstubbs@tribunemedia.net

#Although she has not gotten the ultimate desire expected in the three years she has been training there, Bahamian sprinter Anthonique Strachan feels she’s in the right place training with some of the world’s best in Kingston, Jamaica.

#“For me, everything has been what it was during the offseason,” Strachan told The Tribune. “We don’t usually train on the track all year round. We usually train on the grass first and then we go to the track.

#“We were on the track earlier this year and then the coronavirus came and the facilities shut down. We went back to the grass and we stayed there until last week when they opened the track again.”

#In Jamaica, Strachan is training in the Maximising Velocity and Power (MVP) Track and Field Club, which includes female Olympic and world champions Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Elaine Thompson, along with male sprint sensation Asafa Powell.

#“In this atmosphere, training wise, this is the best thing for me because Elaine and Shelly-Ann are the top two active sprinters in the world, time wise, so they should help me to get to where I need to be.”

#The 26-year-old Strachan got off to a budding career as a student of St Augustine’s College, capping off a dominating CARIFTA sting, winning both the 100 metres in 11.22 seconds and the 200 in 22.85 (a meet record) in the under-20 girls’ division in 2012 in Hamilton, Bermuda. That earned her the Austin Sealy award as the most outstanding athlete of the top regional junior track and field competition.

#Strachan went on to duplicate the double sprint feat at the 2012 IAAF World Junior Championships in Barcelona, Spain and in November, she was the recipient of the IAAF’s Female Rising Star award at their gala awards banquet in Morocco.

#Having produced a lifetime best of 11.20 in the century at the meet in Barcelona and 22.32 in the half-lap race in 2013 here at home at the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations’ National Championships, Strachan had to endure a series of nagging injuries.

#During those recovery periods, Strachan still managed to represent the Bahamas at the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto, Canada, the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the 2018 Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast, Australia and the World Championships in Doha, Qatar, last year.

#She secured her first major international medal when she ran the third leg of the Bahamas’ mixed gender 4 x 400m relay at the third IAAF World Relays at the Thomas A Robinson Stadium in 2017 alongside Shaunae Miller-Uibo, Stephen Newbold and Michael Mathieu.

#Through her sponsorship of Puma, Strachan made the trek from Auburn, where she trained under Bahamian coach Henry Rolle, to Jamaica where she said she’s delighted to mix and mingle with the rest of the athletes, some of whom represent Nike, in one big happy family.

#“In order to be the best, you have to train with the best because iron sharpens iron,” said Strachan, who is recovering from her latest injury – a grade two hamstring tear from the World Championships last year.

#“So I’m happy to be here in Jamaica training under Paul Francis with this talented group of athletes. It’s best as usual here. There’s no real favouritism. As big as the club is and with so much stars in the club, coaches Steven and Paul Francis correct everyone. Their assistant coaches help everyone.”

#While there’s some uncertainty about the rest of the season due to COVID-19, Strachan said if the opportunity presents itself for her to train, she will take advantage of it. But if it doesn’t work out, she will just focus on getting ready to compete at the 2020 Olympic Games, which has been postponed until July 23 to August 8, 2021 because of the coronavirus.

#“I would like to leave 2020 with some funding,” said Strachan about competing before the year is done. “With the conditions here, I feel there is a chance to compete in a meet even if I don’t get to do one overseas. “But as for the Olympics, I had mixed emotions about it being postponed. As an athlete, I didn’t believe that they postponed it, but as a person, I realise that this is beyond sports. This has affected persons around the world. So precautions had to be done, but as an athlete, I visualised competing in the Olympics, now I have to wait until next year.”

#As for the conditions in Jamaica, Strachan said they are still under curfew from 10pm until 5am, but she basically only goes out to the grocery store and to train.

#“I want to make my dream a reality to earn enough money so that I can invest in the things that I want to do outside of track and field,” Strachan said. “Personally, doing track and field for so long, I don’t think I can sit behind a desk and answer to a boss from 9-5.

#“I don’t have that type of personality because my personality ticks people off and people tick me off. So I want to be able to open up my own non-profit stuff to give back and to open up a computer store because I have a fascination with technology.”

#Once she’s ready to retire and look at life afterwards, Strachan said she would like to venture into her business in the Bahamas and make a contribution to the local economy.

#To the Bahamian public, especially those who are feeling the effects of COVID-19, Strachan advised them to “formulate a plan and try to keep it relevant.

#“I know being locked down is hard and it can irritate you, but just devise a plan for after COVID-19.

#“There is going to be life after the pandemic and so you shouldn’t be sitting down without a plan. While you are at home, shoot your plan and look at ways that you can make it happen. Once you do that, you will be in a better frame of mind to deal with the lock down.”

#And for Strachan, once the complete lockdown is over, she intends to go full force with regaining her prominence as one of the Bahamian top sprinters who made it through the training sessions in Jamaica

Etienne Gets All-American Honours

Jyles Etienne

Jyles Etienne

As of Tuesday, June 16, 2020

#By BRENT STUBBS

#Senior Sports Reporter

#bstubbs@tribunemedia.net

#Bahamian Jyles Etienne, who decided to give up a promising career as a basketball player to compete in track and field, is fast becoming one of the premier high jumpers to watch at the collegiate level.

#Etienne, now attending Indiana University where he was competing in his junior year, was named by the US Track & Field and Cross-Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) on an All-American list for the indoor track and field season after he finished at the ninth spot in the event when sports was halted just before the NCAA National Indoor Championships was to take place in March.

#Etienne, the son of Vonchelle and Raphael Etienne, soared a lifetime best of 2.23 metres or 7-feet, 3 3/4-inches to earn his first Big Ten individual title.

#He opened the season at the Hoosier Open with the same height to post the fourth-best mark in the programme’s history.

#“It feels good. It’s just all of the hard work paying off,” said Etienne after he earned his first All-American honour at the collegiate level after twice receiving the nod while at the Brook in 2016 and 2017. “It really feels good.”

#The COVID-19 pandemic put a lid on his indoor and outdoor season at Indiana, but Etienne is now preparing for his return to Bloomington for his final season and ultimately a trip to Tokyo, Japan, in July 2021 for the 2020 Olympics, which was postponed this July due to the spread of the coronavirus. “The timing of the coronavirus wasn’t that bad. I just came off winning a conference meet, so I was glad that I was able to do it,” he said. “It cut right between conference and nationals, so basically it gave me time to prepare for next year.

#“I haven’t missed anything. Everything just got prolonged to next year. So I am hopeful that I will be able to get back to where I was before everything stopped because of the coronavirus.”

#The 21-year-old Etienne has been in town since March 20 where he’s been training under the guidance of local coach James Rolle at the Thomas A Robinson Stadium after Prime Minister Hubert Minnis gave the go-ahead for professional athletes to resume training at the beginning of May.

#“It was a little different at first because they didn’t open the stadium, but now it’s opened and you’re able to get into the weight room too, so it’s going good right now,” said Etienne of the training sessions here.

#But Etienne said he doesn’t expect everything to be as normal as before, considering the “Back Lives Matter’ and “I Can’t Breath’ campaign as a result of the resurgence of protests and riots after the death of African American George Floyd by a white policeman on May 25.

#“I think because of the pandemic, there will be a lot of changes,” Etienne said. “I’m just trying to take everything day by day and not let it get to me. “When that time comes, I will deal with it.”

#In the meantime, Etienne said he’s holding out to see whether or not the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations will host their National Championships over the weekend of July 31 to August 1, or he just goes into his preparation phase for the 2021 season and the Olympics. “I heard that they are having the Nationals at the end of July, so that is the main thing on my calendar right now,” Etienne said. “But I want to qualify for the Olympic Games, so jumping 2.30m (7-6 1/2) is my main goal and then once I do that, everything else like college nationals will fall into place.”

#The 2017 under-20 CARIFTA bronze medallist in the high jump was a New York State champion in 2016 and was second at the New Balance Outdoor Nationals in 2016 and fourth place finisher in 2017 while attending The Stony Brook High School after he left Queen’s College at grade 10.

#It was during his sting at Stony Brook High School that the 6-foot, 5-inch Etienne made a name for himself as a two-sport star. He was excelling in basketball, but was encouraged to venture into the high jump.

#“One of my coaches saw that I was jumping high and blocking a lot of shots,” Etienne said. “So he said I should try the high jump. I was doing both sports for about three years and then I saw I was way better in the high jump, so I made the switch.”

#After spending the past two seasons soaring in high jump, Etienne said he has no regrets making the transition from basketball. He said he’s grateful because track and field has provided him with more opportunities to travel and compete.

#As he began his freshman indoor season at Indiana, Etienne posted a third place finish at the Indiana Relays with a leap of 2.04m (6-8 1/4) on his first attempt. He also took the title at the Gladstein Invite with a clearance of 2.07m (6-9 1/2) and he won the Hoosier Open with 2.21m (7-3).

#During the outdoors, Etienne made an unsuccessful debut at the Big Ten Championships after he placed eighth at the Tennessee Relays with 2.07m (6-9 1/2) and he was in the top 10 at the Florida Relays with 2.06m (6-9).

#In 2018-19, Etienne continued to flourish in his sophomore year by climbing up the ladder to a third place finish at the Big Ten Indoor Championships with 2.16m (7-1) after he earned the titles at the Hoosier Open, Gladstein Invite, Indiana Relays and the Tyson Invitational. He also has second place finishes at the IU vs Tennessee Duals, Jim Green Track and Field Invitational and the Power Five Invite.

#Those performances carried over to the outdoor season where Etienne won the ASU Invitational and the Billy Hayes Invite, placed third at the Big Ten Championships with 2.20m (7-2 1/2) and culminated with 17th at his initial NCAA Championships with 2.15m (7-0 1/2).

#After getting off to another impressive start to his junior season this year, Etienne had to watch as everything came to a halt at the end of the Big Ten Championships.

‘Nacac Don’T Support Racism In Any Way, Shape Or Form’

As of Monday, June 15, 2020

photo

Mike Sands

#By BRENT STUBBS

#Senior Sports Reporter

#bstubbs@tribunemedia.net

#WHILE Mike Sands indicated that that there is no room for systemic racism that has resurfaced in the United States, there is an opportunity to help unite the athletes in the region through a track and field meet staged here in the Bahamas.

#Speaking over the weekend as the newly elected president of the North American, Central American and Caribbean region, Sands said NACAC finds it absolutely necessary to add its voice to the chorus that continues to grow, declaring its total rejection of any form of racism in society, generally, but more so in the world of sports.

#“I just want people to understand that NACAC don’t support racism in any way, shape or form,” said Sands, a former president of the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations. “If you look at what is happening, sporting bodies are talking about it and NACAC, which represents a cross section of ethnicity and race, creed, religion and colour, we want to raise our concern that we do not support racism. We just don’t want to remain silent on the issue. We just want to make the statement that we do not support racism in any shape or form.”

#The USA went into a “Black Lives Matter’ frenzy following the brutal death of African American George Floyd by a white Policeman in Minnesota. That led to a nation-wide protest, riots and looting in leading up to his funeral service last week as people banded together for justice.

#“I think what has been happening through North America, the world and even in the Bahamas, has sensitize people that we need to be more aware that all people are created equal,” Sands said. “We have to make it a point to treat everybody equal, regardless of race, creed or color. That is the underlying message. People want to be treated equal, especially those that are considered minority.”

#As NACAC and its parent body, World Athletics, continue to lead the world in the fight against drugs, Sands said they too strive to play a leading role in the eradication of racism in sport, fully cognizant that by doing so, they are participating in a greater war, that of eradicating the scourge of racism from global society.

#With the world coming to grips with the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, which has halted activities since March, Sands said NACAC is doing a lot of work behind the scene to put on a meet that will bring the region together later this year.

#“We do have a plan and we are looking at something before the end of the season later on in September to be centered around the remaining Diamond League and the Prefontaine Classic, which is scheduled for October 4.

#“We’ve been doing a survey with our area coaches and our area athletes’ representatives and there is a huge support for an event for the athletes to n because a lot of them have been training and they are anxious to see how they stack up before they go into their Olympic preparatory phrase.”

#While the 2020 Olympic Games were one of the major casualties on the sporting calendar this year, the International Olympic Committee has agreed to postpone the games in Tokyo, Japan from July 24 to August 9, 2020 to July 23 to August 8, 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

#“Next year is going to be a very busy year for our sport for the juniors andc the seniors,” Sands said. “There is the Junior World Championships, the Carifta, the NACAC Under-23 Championships, World Indoors, World Outdoors and the Olympic Games, so it’s going to be a very, very busy season.

#“I think the coaches, the athletes and their agents are very anxious to get in a meet to measure their performances so that they can start planning for the big year next year. So we are excited about the prospect of putting on the meet. We are just keeping our fingers crossed. We know the time frame that the coaches will meet to get their athletes ready to compete in the meet.”

#With a proposed date on the agenda, Sands said they are looking at the possibility of hosting the meet here in the Bahamas at the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium. If that doesn’t work out, he said they have an alternate plan to go to Grenada or even

#“We have to see what kind of support we can get from either one, but what we in the Bahamas is truly missing is our opportunity for a number of reasons,” he stated.

#“We have the best geographic location and people are expressing their interest to come here and there are a number of airlines who operate in South America and in the Caribbean airline that also comes into the Bahamas at least twice a week and there are airlines in the United States and Canada, who fly here, so we have everybody covered very easily.”

#As the president of NACAC with its headquarters now located here at the TAR National Stadium, Sands its his only wish that the Bahamas can cater to the NACAC meet later this year.

#“We need the support of every body here because the Bahamas has always been an attractive venue to host an international track meet, so we hope that we can put this meet on here,” Sands summed up