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BAAA’s banquet date changed


Hosting the annual awards banquet a week later, than originally planned, might just work out for the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations(BAAA). President Mike Sands is expecting a larger crowd to the January 2, 2011 event.

He confirmed yesterday, that the executive members sought the advise of many of the athletes, parents, coaches and other stakeholders in the sport. All were in agreement that Sunday, December 26, was not the ideal date to host the event. Even though, it was a change in date, the venue will still be the same. It will be held at the Sheraton Nassau Beach Resort.

Sands said:”Reality is that during this time of the year it is very, very difficult to have the most desirable date for the event. And how the calendar falls for the Christmas weekend and the days available, it is just not good. Initially, we had it set for December 26, but after much reflection, review and input a lot of persons, including athletes, parents and other stakeholders, thought it more appropriate to have it in January. The date was changed by a general consensus.

“We have put together a banquet committee, we have also selected a production committee, so we are planning on having a nice event. As you know it is being held in honor of the Golden Girls. It has been 10 years now since they have won the gold medal at the Olympic Games, in Sydney, Australia. It is hoped that all the members of the Golden Girls will be in attendance. It will be used as an opportunity for the younger athletes to get to meet them once again and get to know them a little better. So, it is always good to have that extra time to prepare and we are hoping that the extra week will make a difference. We not only want to make it better, but more so, equally important, we are hoping that the change will bring a lot more persons out and make it an elaborate event. I encourage persons to come out because we are celebrating Youth in Athletics, the accomplishments of our youth.”

Golden Girl Pauline Davis-Thompson, in an earlier interview withThe Nassau Guardian, was elated that the governing body for the sport in the country found it fit to honor her and the squad. Although it has been 10 years later, she still can remember the day as if it was yesterday.

Davis-Thompson said: ”I feel very good that our federation is honoring us and that they recognize the feat that we did some 10 years ago. That they want to bring the attention back to it, to remind the Bahamian people and our young people coming up, that the Golden Girls got this started for us, and they can continue with the legacy. I want them to continue to grow. The flag raising moments and winning gold medals, sit high on my wish list for them. Now that the floodgates are open, anything is possible and the sky will definitely not be those young people’s limit, that is for sure.

“I am definitely looking forward to that next era. I think that it is in the making. If you realize some of the sprinters we have in universities now, we have Sheniqua Ferguson, Nivea Smith, and Krystal Bodie, just a couple of the young girls coming now. But there is a bunch and if we play our cards right, the way we are continuing, there is know doubt in my mind that there is going to be another set of Golden Girls, in the very near future.

“If you look at how close they are in age, and how close they are coming out of school, once they come out of university, it is going to be so much easier for the federation to get them together and train as a unit. Then we will be able to march back on and say listen, we are back. We are back and back for business. I just can’t wait for them to get out of universities, because I am so thrilled and so excited. I can follow them around the world and wave my flag and scream Bahamas, like most of the officials came to Australia for us.”

The Bahamas was represented at more than eight competitions on both the regional and international sides. According to Sands more than 160 athletes had represented The Bahamas this year. The results on the season has Sands optimistic about next year. He believes that the dominance will bring enthusiasts out to support the event.

“We would hope,” said Sands when asked if the success on the season would make the hosting of the banquet a little more special than the others.”Every member of every national team will be recognized and given an award in commemoration of them being on a national team. Competition will be very keen in some areas. We had tremendous success this year. We had 10 national teams that travelled. It was a total of 160-170 athletes. So that in itself speaks volume for the program. That the program is back on track and we are really hoping that persons will come out and support it. We are expecting persons like Chris Brown, Donald Thomas, Shaunae Miller and others. A number of the senior athletes will be here. The committee is working extremely hard to ensure that we have full participation.”

Athletes were nominated in some 20 categories, inclusive of the Charlie Major Athlete of the Year; Senior Male Athlete of the Year; Senior Female Athlete of the Year; Junior Female and Male Athletes of the Year as well as the Youth Female and Male Athlete of the Year. Other divisions are the Collegiate Male and Female Athlete of the Year; top Collegiate Male and Female Track Athlete, as well as the top Collegiate Male and Female Field Athlete of the Year. The same honors will be bestowed upon the junior athletes with special attention to those competing in the cross country events.

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