Team Bahamas gearing up for CARIFTA


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Squad in final preparation stages; final set of collegiate athletes coming in today and tomorrow

Sheldon LongleySend an emailApril 4, 2023 543 3 minute readFacebookTwitterLinkedInShare via Email

 A float parade and pep rally was held for The Bahamas’ 80-member CARIFTA squad on Thursday. The team is in its final preparation stages for the 50th Oaktree CARIFTA Games. DANTE CARRER

The Bahamas’ 80-member CARIFTA team is now practicing every day, gearing up for what is one of the more anticipated CARIFTA Games in the history of the event.

This is the 50th edition of the junior regional athletics event, and also the 50th independence year of The Bahamas. With that backdrop, The Bahamas is hosting the CARIFTA Games for a record ninth time and looks to perform at an ultimate level – at an all-time high in terms of its performances on and off the track.

The 50th Oaktree CARIFTA Games will be held this weekend, April 8-10, at the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium. Team Bahamas is practicing twice per day every day – at 8 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. – leading up to the opening ceremony on Friday.

“Right now, there are just a couple more college athletes who we are waiting on to come in town. We are in the final preparation stages and there are high spirits all around,” said team leader/manager Pharez Cooper out of Grand Bahama. “We are practicing every day, twice per day, in preparation for competition. They are practicing the same times they are running because we want their bodies to be accustomed to competing at certain times and for them to be ready for competition. I feel good. We don’t have the entire team right now, but the ones who are here, their spirits are high and they are ready to compete and represent The Bahamas well. They are feeling good, and as we get closer to the meet, they are getting more and more familiar with each other. We saw that starting to come together today. At first, there was a mini separation going on because the New Providence athletes are not familiar with the Grand Bahamian athletes, but we saw them come together today at practice. They are building new relationships and that is a positive thing. They are fired up and ready to go.”

As Cooper mentioned, the final set of collegiate athletes for The Bahamas are expected to be here in the country between today and tomorrow. Currently, there are 18 Bahamian athletes housed at Breezes Bahamas resort, but a full contingent is expected by Thursday when the games village will officially open. Teams from the around the region will begin arriving at Breezes by Wednesday. The technical meeting for coaches and team delegates will be held on Thursday and the opening ceremony is set for Friday starting at 4 p.m. at the Thomas A. Robinson stadium. It is free of charge.

Competition gets underway on Saturday morning.

“We have high expectations because we are at home – home field advantage,” said Cooper. “Everyone wants to perform well and they will bring the best out of each other. Our athletes are excited and they’re ready to compete. There’s less than a week to go now. Our athletes are looking forward to it and they’re ready to go.”

The team stages general practices in the mornings and relay practices in the afternoons. The 80-member squad that was named by the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA) last week represents the largest ever assembled for The Bahamas at a single CARIFTA Games.

The archipelagic nation of The Bahamas is well represented with about a dozen athletes from Grand Bahama; two from Andros; one from Moore’s Island, Abaco, and the remainder from the capital New Providence. More than half of the members are first-time CARIFTA athletes.

A float parade and pep rally was held for the 80-member squad on Thursday.

Tickets for CARIFTA itself can still be purchased online at the website www.carifta50.com or in person at the box office at the Thomas A. Robinson stadium. Daily rates start at $5 and go up to as high as $50 for the VIP section. There are also tickets available for all three days that start from $40 for the bronze section and go up to $130 for the VIP section.

https://thenassauguardian.com/team-bahamas-gearing-up-for-carifta/

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