Category: Elite Athletes

‘This Is The Best Thing For Me’

Bahamian sprinter Anthonique Strachan.

Bahamian sprinter Anthonique Strachan.

As of Wednesday, June 17, 2020


#Senior Sports Reporter

#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


#Senior Sports Reporter

#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.

‘Elite Athletes May Require More Financial Assistance, Not Less’

As of Thursday, June 4, 2020


#Senior Sports Reporter

#Romell Knowles, president of the Bahamas Olympic Committee, is calling on the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture to not cut the subvention of elite athletes, considering that it is critical for them to receive every penny they can get to prepare for the 2020 Olympic Games.

#Knowles sent a letter to the ministry after it was reported in The Tribune on Tuesday that the subvention for elite athletes is expected to be cut by over $269,000 as outlined in the budget presented in the House of Assembly last week by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest.

#Knowles, whose BOC is expected to receive about $40,000 in the projected budget, said with the Olympics in Tokyo, Japan, being postponed until July, 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, they are still anticipating great performances from our athletes who are under a number of constraints.

#“The restrictions of competitions, coupled with restrictions to train for the most prestigious sporting event in the world, The Tokyo Olympic Games, brings with it a set of abnormal circumstances and expenses for our athletes,” Knowles wrote.

#“In addition to preparation expenses, which I believe may increase due in part to share demand, the mental preparation may be an additional but necessary expense, our athletes may be forced to endure.”

#Knowles said preparation for these games have their own peculiarities and with them come additional expenses.

#“In this regard, we respectfully ask that you escalate our request for consideration to delay any and all reduction to elite athletes’ subvention who are in preparation for the Tokyo Olympic Games,” Knowles continued.

#“Given these difficult set of circumstances brought on by an abnormal COVID-19 environment, elite athletes may require more financial assistance, not less,” he said.

#In that regard and on behalf of the elite athletes, Knowles said they are requesting that the ministry delay any reduction in subvention so that our athletes may be better positioned to prepare, qualify and ultimately perform at their optimum at the most prestigious sporting event in the world – the Olympic Games.He said they are looking forward to engaging in a dialogue with the ministry and the government in this regard, as well as funding that is expected to be provided to the various sporting federations and associations.

#“Sporting federations find themselves having to provide more assistance in these most difficult times,” Knowles said.

#“It is our hope there are no reductions in federation grants in this Olympic cycle. Hoping to bring resolve and comfort on behalf of our elite athletes. I am available to discuss this and other matters soonest.”

#In the budget report, the recurrent expenditure for the ministry is estimated to be around $18,938,187, about $5,143,194 less than what was expended in last year’s budget of $24,081,380.

#This significant reduction in the budget is expected to drastically change the landscape of sports in the country in the aftermath of COVID-19