Sports reflections as 2011 approaches
The end of another fine sporting year for The Bahamas nears.
Locally, the sporting federations have basically held firm despite the economic crunch. The government through the Ministry of Sports, as expressed in this column before, responded quite well to the national financial challenges and ensured that the grant cutbacks were not drastic.
As a result, various sporting programs maintained advancement levels.
Two high profile competitions, the Central American and Caribbean(CAC)Games and the Commonwealth Games, provided stages for continued Bahamian sporting success.
Athletics, boxing, swimming and tennis stood out, capturing gold, silver and bronze medals for this little country at the CAC event. At the Commonwealth Games, athletics and boxing cashed in on medals.
Once again, the performances of our athletes regionally and internationally have created great expectations for the future. A nation looks forward to the 2011 International Association of Athletic Federations’ (IAAF) World Championships.
Some are indeed looking beyond 2011 to the London Olympics of 2012.
However, the successes of federations have not been across the board. There is cause to ponder also, other developments. Presently, some sporting federations are doing very well, while others are struggling. Accordingly, there are reasons, as the sun begins to go down on 2010, for some sports reflections.
The Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA) continues easily to be the nation’s most vibrant program. Will that organization however be able in 2011 to begin fully maximizing its true potential in raw talent throughout the land?
BAAA President Mike Sands speaks about a new focus on a New Providence athletic body. Will such an association become fully activated in 2011?How successful will the BAAA be in affording Sheniqua Ferguson, Cache Armbrister, Nivea Smith and Tynia Gaither the appropriate scenario for them to efficiently carry on the legacy of the Golden Girls?
The Bahamas Swimming Federation(BSF)has been outstanding in developing female swimmers from junior stars into senior quality performers. Will the swimming program be heightened so that success at the CAC level can grow into World and Olympic medals?
What about the amateur boxing program? Are the executives of the Amateur Boxing Federation of The Bahamas capable of putting together an advanced program that would result in medals at the World Championships and the Olympics?
Will the national tennis organization rid itself of internal conflicts and solidify the program in 2011? Will the CAC success of 2010 be nicely built upon? The Bahamian judo family continued to enhance the program in 2010. Will the trend continue?
Baseball (through the Bahamas Baseball Federation) spoke loudly in 2010 with the Freedom Farm 12-and-under World Series crown. However, the sport needs to be structured under one parent body. Will 2011 be the year the BBF and the Bahamas Baseball Association come together for the sake of hundreds of young diamond youngsters?
Bodybuilding does well regionally. When though, will the sport make the international competitive breakthrough on a large scale again? Let’s just reflect on Kingsley Poitier, Glen Wells, Tony Carroll, Cliff Wilson and Arthur Eldon. They represented the greatest era ever in the country’s bodybuilding history, back during the 1960s.
Will basketball, volleyball, cycling, soccer and golf compete favorably with regional opponents?
Then, there is the government-appointed Bahamas Anti-Doping Commission. The Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) administration signed the UNESCO agreement that called for the establishment of a national anti-doping commission back in 2003. The PLP failed to get a commission on stream and operating vibrantly.
The Free National Movement (FNM) government made new appointments in April of this year. Will this political group be successful in fortifying the new commission to conduct the most important body of work as mandated by the World Anti-Doping Association (WADA)? Will the country face international penalties if there is yet another failure in this regard? And, what about the National Sports Authority? When will that entity be officially up and running?
The aforementioned are to be pondered as the curtain closes on sports in 2010.