Meet to serve as a CARIFTA and Commonwealth Games qualifier
The Bahamas Triathlon Association (BTA) will host its national championships on Sunday, May 15 at Jaws Beach, and the first portion of the nationals, which encompasses swimming, gets underway at 6 a.m.
The meet is a CARIFTA and Commonwealth Games qualifying event. The 2022 CARIFTA Triathlon and Aquathlon Championships is slated for September 23-24 at Clearwater Beach, Southside, Bermuda. The Commonwealth Games will be held from July 28 to August 8 in Birmingham, England.
BTA President Dorian Roach said he is happy the national championships are returning – for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic forced a disruption in sports two years ago.
“We are excited because it is not only our national championships but it’s our second qualifier for the CARIFTA Games and the Commonwealth Games. We are going to have some competition in both the youth and the senior groups, and even among the younger athletes which may be the
highlight of the day,” Roach said.
There is a sprint distance for the open division (16-years-old and above). That includes a 750 meters (m) swim, a 20 kilometers (km) bike ride and a 5km run. For the juniors (13-14 years), they will swim for 400m, bike ride for 10km and run for 2.5km. There are two age categories among the youth: 11-12-year-old athletes swimming for 200m, bike riding for 5km and running for 2km; and the 9-10 age category doing a 100m swim, a 5km ride and a 1km run. For the 8-and-under category, those participants will do a 50m swim and 1 km bike ride.
Up to yesterday, there were about 60 persons registered and organizers are expecting about 80 to 100 participants. The deadline to register is Thursday.
So far, there have been 21 CARIFTA qualifiers and there are nine spots left as the association looks to field a 30-member team. While in Bermuda, they will also be competing in the aquathlon, which is swimming and running, in addition to the triathlon. The CARIFTA boys and girls age groups are 11-12, 13-15, 16-19 and there is a new age group, under-21.
“Our only triathlon to date since COVID was the Potcakeman, so between that competition and this competition, we use combined points,” Roach said. “Persons who competed in the last triathlon got some points already, and now it is up to those folks who are on the border to qualify for CARIFTA and get some more points to make that team in this championship.
“For the Commonwealth Games, competitors are fighting for one spot. That spot will go to the winner in the open men’s category once that person is a Bahamian and has a Bahamian passport. For those who are eligible, the winner of that age group will be the qualifier for the Commonwealth Games,” Roach added.
Amid the pandemic, Roach said the clubs were able to train and the juniors were looking forward to CARIFTA competition.
“A lot of the children have been training and are looking forward to competition. After the Potcakeman, everyone is geared up to go. This competition is the last chance to make the CARIFTA team, but they have been training for two years. This has been their goal – to make the CARFITA team. It is the same drive for the older guys, to make the Commonwealth Games team,” Roach said.
Unlike other sports, Roach said there is not a lot of trash-talking among the competitors, but rather they support and encourage each other.
He said he is happy to see that sponsors came on board to support the championships and make it possible for the association to put on a first-class event.