Monday, Nov 18, 2019
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Young sprinters primed to continue Golden Girls legacy

The names are Sheniqua Ferguson, Nivea Smith, Cache Armbrister and Tynia Gaither. Ferguson and Armbrister are 21, Smith is 20 and Gaither is 18.

Ferguson(22.85)and Smith(22.71)have traveled over 200 meters(m)on the track in less than 23 seconds. Armbrister has a personal best of 23.13 seconds and Gaither recently won a silver medal at the first-ever Youth Olympic Games in a time of 23.68 seconds.

It’s a tall order to match the magnificent series of quality performances of the original Golden Girls(Pauline Davis-Thompson, Chandra Sturrup, Eldece Clarke-Lewis, Sevatheda Fynes and Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie). One could argue that those originals make up the greatest sprint relay unit in the history of track and field.

Certainly the Germans, the Americans and the Jamaicans have had teams for one or two years that produced better times, but no other country has had the same unit performing at the highest level for as long as our original Golden Girls have. So, the Ferguson-Smith-Armbrister-Gaither squad matching the originals might be wishful thinking.

They have the collective ability though to continue the legacy in a way that would surely make Bahamians very proud. As Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations(BAAA)President Mike Sands works to heighten the productivity of track and field, without a doubt he is mindful of what the young ladies represent.

Smith was a bronze medalist in the 200m at the 2007 International Association of Athletic Federations(IAAF)World Youth Championships. Ferguson was a 100m bronze medalist at the 2008 IAAF World Junior Championships. She was also a part of the 2009 Senior IAAF Championships sprint relay bronze medal team(with Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie, Sturrup, and Christine Amertil).

What is so good is the prospect of Ferguson-McKenzie and Sturrup being around for perhaps two more years, until the London 2012 Olympics. Yes, the legacy of the Golden Girls seems to be in good hands.

Sheniqua is the leader of the young sprinters and the fastest. She looks poised to go under the 11 seconds barrier, with the best shot to push for Sturrup’s 10.84 national record, in a few years. Armbrister and Smith are better over 200m.

I’d like to see what those four would do over one lap, with Gaither coming out of the blocks, Armbrister and Smith on the two middle legs and Sheniqua finishing. In top form, they would produce an interesting clocking. They are the very foundation of the female short sprint future of The Bahamas. In place also, are some very fine young female quarter-milers, headed by Junior World Champion Shaunae Miller.

This is a good time for athletics in the country. Sands and his BAAA associates are on a sound wicket. Hopefully, they can put together the kind of program that will enable the nation to benefit to the fullest from the track and field talent available.

(To respond to this column, kindly contact frobertsturrup@gmail.com)

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