Athletes excited as primary school nationals begin
More than 1,400 athletes from 57 primary schools and districts around the country have converged at the original Thomas A. Robinson Track and Field Stadium to compete in the 34th Frank “Pancho” Rahming Primary Schools National Track and Field Championships. The event began yesterday and will continue today. It ends tomorrow.
The schools participating are from all over The Bahamas, and there is no entry fee for patrons. There will be four divisions – A, B, C and D – and there will be a high point winner in each of those divisions.
Mike Sands, meet director, said day one was good for the most part.
“So far, little hiccups. Anything of this magnitude obviously will have a few hiccups but everything is falling into place. I am very pleased,” he said. Sands also said the number of athletes went through the roof as registration was slow initially but eventually skyrocketed getting closer to the meet.
“We had to take all of the rooms at the hotel where the kids are staying.
The hotel is completely filled with that,” he said.
Courtyard by Marriott is the games village for the Family Island contingent. There are a number of schools that are participating in the meet for the first time, such as Windsor Preparatory and Meridian School. Also, Lyford Cay is returning after a long hiatus.
The Family Island schools are cooperative with the organizers, Sands said. “The Family Islands have always been very cooperative. With their support everything is working out pretty good. The coaches have been very cooperative,” he said.
The two-time champions, Temple Christian Suns, were out in full force. They look to turn in another great performance. One of the coaches of the Suns, Sharon Francis, said they are looking to complete a three-peat and added that their chances look good so far.
“We have Halley Robinson, the granddaughter of Thomas A. Robinson. We are looking for gold in the 100 meters (m) and 400m from her. We have softball thrower Rohan Culmer. He won it last year and he returns in the same age division. We expect to pick up medals in all of the events,” she said.
The Family Island schools were represented well. South Eleuthera came over with high goals and enthusiasm.
Kenard Mackey, South Eleuthera coach, said: “We started off with a bang. After seven or eight events, we are already three or four medals in. We are really excited about the meet so far.”
South Eleuthera brought over 47 athletes to the meet. Mackey said to look out for them in the throws and the middle distance events for the both boys and girls.
Coach Valentine Thomas from St. John’s said his athletes are excited and it is something that they look forward to each year. He said: “We’ll have some good performances, especially in the A division. We look to give a challenge in the category A 100m girls and boys, the 400m and the relays.”
South Andros and the Mangrove Cay district are also participating in the meet. One of their coaches, Candis Smith, said her athletes are excited to be a part of the meet.
As for the athletes’ excitement, she said: “They couldn’t wait – sleepless nights and they are having a ball right now.” Smith added that the field events, particularly the softball throws and long jump events, are their strongest areas.
The full results from yesterday were not available up to press time.
Day two starts at 9 a.m. this morning over at the original Thomas A. Robinson Track and Field Stadium.
Education: College of the Bahamas, BA Media Journalism