Track and field nationals back on stream for Grand Bahama
The indecision of the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA) regarding the staging of the 2019 BAAA National Championships in Grand Bahama was interesting to say the least.
It seems the crux of the matter, which fueled a brief but highly-charged controversy, was the collective shortage of equipment and the general condition of the track and field facility at the Grand Bahama Sports Complex (GBSC).
The news was baffling to Grand Bahama sports leaders, and others who know the resilience that is demonstrated on the island when there is a demand situation. Perhaps more perplexed than most was Coach Gladstone “Moon” McPhee. The veteran sports affiliate was in the final portion of his tenure as manager of the GBSC when plans were made to stage the BAAA nationals in Grand Bahama the last time, in 2017. This year, it is slated for July 26-27.
“I just didn’t quite understand what was going on with the news, though short-lived, that the track and field nationals would be taken from Grand Bahama and shifted to New Providence. It was not a problem at all last time. The then BAAA administration and the minister of sports (at the time, Michael Pintard) got fully into the picture and everything went smoothly, as far as I was concerned.
“My team at the complex, under the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, was ready to accommodate in every way. We needed to do some work inside of the complex. That was done. Some railings had to be replaced. That was done. Painting was done and in the end the place looked better than it had in years.
“As for the equipment, weight items for the field events, a high jumping landing pad, and hurdles came in from the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture and the National Sports Authority. I can tell you, the process was easy and it was an excellent meet that was organized. When everything was over, I worked with the technical team from New Providence to get the equipment back to the National Sports Authority and the sports ministry folks. I’m no longer at the complex, but I have a good feel for the terrain there and I don’t see a problem,” said McPhee earlier this week.
Obviously, now, after further talks within the BAAA and with sports ministry personnel, what looked to be a problem, apparently no longer causes uncertainty. What the then sports minister Pintard and the BAAA administration, back in 2017, fostered into a meaningful competitive, and enhancement forum for the sport, those in control now, are prepared to emulate.
It is indeed positive that steps were retraced quickly. The mood on the host island is one of excitement again, and, with the appropriate interaction, no doubt Corporate Grand Bahama will respond to assist the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture and the BAAA in making the July nationals something wonderful to behold and be a part of.
The preparation work must begin as soon as possible though, in order to best capitalize on the renewed fervor in the Grand Bahama sports fraternity and the wider island society. Perhaps someone would see the wisdom in networking with McPhee for consulting purposes, in leaving no stones uncovered toward the goal of organizing the most successful BAAA National Track and Field Championships ever.
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