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Bahamas London Olympic track and field prospects

The Bahamas first participated in track and field in the Olympic Games in Melbourne, Australia, where Thomas Robinson, an 18-year-old, ran both 100 meters (m) and 200m. He placed fourth in the 100m and 200m heats with times of 11.06 seconds and 21.76 seconds respectively. Since then Bahamian athletes have participated in the following events: Men – 100m, 200m, 400m, 110m Hurdles, 400m Hurdles, 4x100m relay, 4x400m relay, high jump, long jump, triple jump and discus throw; Women – 100m, 200m, 400m, 4x100m, long jump and javelin throw.

Medalists

The Bahamas has won medals in the following events: Barcelona 1992, bronze, triple jump, Frank Rutherford; Atlanta 1996, silver, women’s 4x100m relay, Eldece Clarke, Savetheda Fynes, Chandra Sturrup, Debbie Ferguson, and Pauline Davis; Sydney 2000, gold, women’s 4x100m relay, Eldece Clarke-Lewis, Savetheda Fynes, Chandra Sturrup, Debbie Ferguson, and Pauline Davis-Thompson; gold, 200m, Pauline Davis-Thompson; and bronze, men’s 4x400m relay, Avard Moncur, Troy McIntosh, Carl Oliver, Chris Brown and Tim Munnings; Athens 2004, gold, 400m, Tonique Williams-Darling; bronze, 200m, Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie; and Beijing 2008, silver, 4x400m relay, Ramon Miller, Michael Mathieu, Andretti Bain, Andrae Williams and Chris Brown; and bronze, triple jump, Leevan Sands.

London hopefuls

The Bahamas has qualifiers in these events so far: men – 200m, Michael Mathieu; 400m, Demetrius Pinder, Chris Brown and Ramon Miller; high jump, Donald Thomas and Trevor Barry; long jump, Raymond Higgs; and triple jump, Leevan Sands; women – 100m, Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie; 200m, Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie, Anthonique Strachan and Nivea Smith; 400m, Shaunae Miller; and long jump, Bianca Stuart.

Relays

The organizers will allow the top 16 relay teams in each of the 4x100m and 4x400m to participate in London. Whichever teams are in the top 16 on the closing of the qualifying period on the July 8, 2012 will be entered. The BAAA has decided to appoint relay coordinators in order to assist the teams in qualifying this year. They have also budgeted a significant amount of money for this initiative. This budget can only come from contributions from the corporate community, the government, and the public.

Our prospects

When we look at the historical performances of Bahamians in the Olympic Games, we see that we have won medals in the women’s 200m (two), 400m, and 4x100m relay (two), and for the men in the triple jump (two) and 4x400m relay (two). Based upon last year’s performances, the medals can come in those same events and the high jump.

We anticipate though that medals can be won in events that we have never won medals in before. Six members who have qualified already, Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie, Chris Brown, Michael Mathieu, Ramon Miller, Leevan Sands and Donald Thomas, have participated in previous Olympic Games.

Ferguson-McKenzie and Sands have won individual medals in past Olympic Games, and Ferguson-McKenzie, Brown, Mathieu and Miller have all won medals in relays. Sands and Ferguson-McKenzie have also won individual medals in World Championships. Ferguson-McKenzie won the gold in 2001 in Edmonton, and the bronze in 2009 in Berlin. Sands won the bronze in Paris in 2003.

The question is: preparation – this means physical and mental. The association has started to engage in the psychological preparation of our athletes. All of this requires financial support. Since 1992 in Barcelona, The Bahamas has won medals in every Olympic Games. It should be no different in London. The question should be the events, the amount and the colors.

The support of the Bahamian people is definitely needed and welcomed. We ask you to follow the exploits of our Bahamian athletes around the world prior to the Olympic Games and not to miss the Olympic Trials, in the new Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium on June 23 and 24, 2012. This promises to be more exciting and more competitive than the thrilling 2008 Olympic Trials.

We thank you in advance of the victory celebrations.

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