Friday, Jul 19, 2019
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Olympic Committee has important role to play

For decades, the Olympic movement in The Bahamas was little more than a processing agency for members of delegations who were selected to participate in the Olympic Games, the Commonwealth Games, the Pan American Games and the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games. Two decades ago, the International Olympic Committee (IOC), through its area representative organizations, began funneling finances for special projects, in our case, the Bahamas Olympic Association (now committee) focused on the scholarship program in conjunction with the Pan American Sports Organization (PASO).

However, there has not been much of a development program within the Bahamas Olympic movement. This remains the case despite the IOC’s prior mandate of outreach development programs in member nations.

Via a changing of the guard a decade ago, new Olympic movement executives ventured beyond the modest operation of their predecessors and began, in addition to the scholarship program, a concentration on training for coaches and sports administrators. Still though, national sports development within the Bahamas Olympic movement left much to be desired.

It is this particular area that the present Bahamas Olympic Committee (BOC), under the presidency of Romell Knowles, needs to concentrate on, I submit. The IOC desires its member bodies to spread the Olympic message throughout the respective nations. Indeed, the IOC wants National Olympic Committees (NOCs) to be the keepers of the Olympic flame, intrinsically.

The Olympic movement is to be perpetual, ongoing, constant. In essence, the BOC is charged to deliver the Olympic message throughout these many islands of The Bahamas in some significant manner.

Outside of the major competitions it has responsibility for (inclusive now of the Youth Olympics), the BOC is obligated to connect with all Bahamian societies. Unfortunately, in many corners of The Bahamas, entire communities have very little or no knowledge at all about the Olympic movement in their very own country.

The Olympic executives have not, as a rule, seen to it that a distinct link be made through the schools and the churches, the main avenues of spreading national messages. Knowles should lead the general initiative that has representatives of the BOC visiting churches across the archipelago and making appearances at morning assemblies in schools on every island.

If the BOC undertakes such a national travel project to emphasize the Olympic movement, the interest developed as a result would inspire an expansion of The Bahamas’ sports brand. At an early age, young boys and girls in our islands would begin dreaming of being Olympic athletes.

I predict that a new sports wave would build and push its way throughout the country. There is no intent here to minimize what is going on with the hierarchy of The Bahamas’ Olympic movement. Knowles and company are working for sure, but there is definitely much more that could be done.

It’s a safe bet that Bahamians on every island are more familiar with the BAAA (Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations) than the BOC. The BAAA is actually a member of the BOC, not the other way around. Yet, the BAAA has a much higher profile, even without a comprehensive national development program.

The BAAA connects through the CARIFTA Movement. Similarly, the BOC can heighten its image by networking with the churches and schools in the nation.

At the start of yet another year, I just want to provide some food for thought.

• To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at e-mail address or on WhatsApp at (242) 727-6363.

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