Bahamas CGA ratifies 31 for Commonwealth Games
With the quota of athletes being reduced across the board for the Commonwealth Games, the size of Team Bahamas has been affected, but still there are expected to be about 30 Bahamians representing their country this year, including a couple in two new sporting disciplines for The Bahamas at this level.
The Bahamas Commonwealth Games Association (CGA) ratified a 31-member team yesterday, set to take part in the 21st Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia. More than half of the team will be competing in athletics. The 21st Commonwealth Games is set for April 4-15 on the Gold Coast.
The team members are: Athletics – Tynia Gaither (women’s 100m, 4x100m), V’Alonee Robinson (women’s 100m, 4x100m), Shaunae Miller-Uibo (women’s 200m, 4x100m), Anthonique Strachan (women’s 200m, 4x100m), Katrina Seymour (women’s 400m hurdles), Bianca Stuart (women’s long jump), Tamara Myers (women’s triple jump, 4x100m), Warren Fraser (men’s 100m), Shavez Hart (men’s 100m, 200m), Teray Smith (men’s 200m, 4x400m), Steven Gardiner (men’s 400, 4x400m) – tentative, Michael Mathieu (men’s 400, 4x400m), Alonzo Russell (men’s 400m, 4x400m), Ramon Miller (men’s 4x400m), Stephen Newbold (men’s 4x400m), Jeffery Gibson (men’s 400m hurdles), Latario Collie (men’s triple jump), Donald Thomas (men’s high jump) and Jamal Wilson (men’s high jump); swimming – Joanna Evans (women’s 200, 400 and 800m free), Lilly Higgs (women’s 100, 200m breast and 200m Individual Medley), N’Nhyn Fernander (50, 100, 200m fly and 50, 100m free) and Izaak Bastian (50, 100, 200m breast, 50m free, 50m fly and 200m Individual Medley); boxing – Carl Hield (men’s 69kg.) and Rashield Williams (men’s 64kg.); cycling – Anthony “Biggie” Colebrook (men’s road race) and Jay Major (men’s road race); wrestling – Rashji Mackey (men’s freestyle 86kg.) and Sean Wrinkle (men’s freestyle 74kg.); table tennis – Adrian Rollins (men’s singles); and triathlon – Cameron Roach (men).
The officials for Team Bahamas are: Wellington Miller (Bahamas CGA representative), Roy Colebrook (Chef de Mission), Cora Hepburn (Team Manager), Derron Donaldson (Secretary General); athletics – Ralph McKinney, Rupert Gardiner, Mabeline Miller, Frank Rahming and Peter Pratt; swimming – Sarah Knowles, John Bradley and Andy Loveitt; boxing – Valentino Knowles; cycling – Rowshan Jones; wrestling – Clarence Rolle; and triathlon – Dorian Roach. Dr. Rickey Davis is the chief medical officer, Cottrice Robinson will assist him and Cordero Bonamy will travel as the physiotherapist of the team.
The team leaves from various destinations at the end of this month.
“After a long consultation with members of the various federations that will be represented, the Bahamas Olympic Committee (BOC) is pleased to ratify this 2018 Commonwealth Games team for The Bahamas,” said BOC President Romell “Fish” Knowles. “It’s amazing how just a couple months ago we were ridiculed about small sports taking their rightful place on the Olympic platform, and now here it is we have Bahamians competing in Olympic sports at the Commonwealth Games. It is our mandate to grow the Olympic Movement here in The Bahamas.
“We have been a confederation that consists basically of athletics, swimming, cycling and boxing. Now we have expanded the platform, giving our young athletes an opportunity to compete internationally, and we’re excited about the opportunity. It’s important for us in the Olympic Movement to give these young athletes an opportunity to compete on the international stage for them to get international exposure, but also to motivate other young people in sports in The Bahamas.”
A number of collegiate athletes are in season with their respective schools, and will therefore not represent The Bahamas at the Commonwealth Games. Also, for a number of years, for the most part, the Commonwealth Games has not attracted the best athletes in the world. Triple world record holder the retired Usain Bolt of Jamaica, graced the Commonwealth stage at the last games as he competed in the men’s 4×100 meters (m), but for the most part, elite athletes stay away. Knowles said that the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) is currently looking at ways to make their major sporting event more attractive to the big international stars.
“We don’t always attract the best athletes, particularly on the Caribbean side, and every effort is being made to ensure that we incentivize and motivate the athletes who are the best in the world actually to compete at the Commonwealth Games. That’s one of the challenges – how to make this event attractive and competitive enough to motivate some of the best athletes in the world to compete,” said Knowles.
Chef de Mission Colebrook said that the Bahamian athletes will be competitive regardless. They will be led by Olympic Champion Miller-Uibo in the women’s sprints.
“The federations have put forth their best athletes who are available at this time, so we feel very confident that we will have a good collective showing,” said Colebrook. “I can tell you that the management team, led by myself, will do the best that we can to ensure that our athletes and officials are comfortable and in the right frame of mind to compete to the best of their abilities.”
The host city, through approval of the CGF, has dropped a number of sporting disciplines on the Commonwealth Games schedule. Knowles said that it’s mainly in an effort to stick to the quota in terms of athletes.
“These multi-event games are very expensive on the host country, and because of that, there will be quotas and in some cases reduction of sporting disciplines,” said Knowles. “The host city has some say on the sport that is contested, and at the end of the day, every country is affected by the quotas. In Scotland (2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games), 700 athletes showed up who they didn’t have beds for. They don’t want to make that same mistake. Every sport was reduced – it’s a budget restriction thing.”
The 21st Commonwealth Games occurs at the beginning of the outdoor season for most of the track and field athletes, but the team consists primarily of professionals. Athletics official for Team Bahamas Ralph McKinney said that the athletes have been training hard and will be ready for competition.
The Bahamas won three medals at the last Commonwealth Games held in Glasgow, Scotland four years ago – two silvers and one bronze.