Tuesday, Jan 21, 2020
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National Relays Coordinator Rupert Gardiner optimistic

Relay sprinting has been an item of prominence for The Bahamas on the world stage of competition for almost a quarter of a century.

Twenty-three years ago, at the Atlanta Olympics of 1996, the Original Golden Girls (Pauline Davis, Chandra Sturrup, Eldeece Clarke, Savatheda Fynes and Debbie Ferguson) won the silver medal in the 4 by 100 meters(m) relay final.

Three years later they captured the International Association of Athletic Federations (IAAF) World Championships 4 by 100m relay gold medal, and the crowning achievement came the following year in (2000) Australia, when they reigned supreme over the Olympic field.

It was the original Golden Girls who indeed set the stage for tremendous success, subsequently by athletes representing The Bahamas, in relay competitions. The champion in the 400m, Avard Moncur, led The Bahamas to the 2001 IAAF World Championships’ 1600m relay gold. His teammates were Christopher Brown, Troy McIntosh and Timothy Munnings.

Subsequently, Olympic hardware of the golden kind (men in London 2012), and multiple relay medals followed, via the legs of a transitional Golden Girls squad and 1600m men stalwarts.

Good days are ahead!

The Bahamas will enhance its reputation in relay sprinting. So said National Relays Coordinator Rupert Gardiner, who is also the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA) second vice president.

“We are going to be very good in sprint relays, our men and women,” declared Gardiner on Thursday.

While his optimism runs throughout the sprint categories for both sexes, he feels the women 4 by 400m squad will rise far above expectations.

“I’ll go out on a limb to say something about the women in the 4 by 400m. Oh man, if our girls stay healthy, they will become Golden Queens. There is Megan Moss, Doneisha Anderson, Brianne Bethel and Shaunae (Miller-Uibo). They form the foundation of what will be a high-quality women’s 1600m team,” said Gardiner enthusiastically. He has high hopes as well for the other relay squads.

“Let’s look at the prospect of the 4 by 100m women’s team. We have Tynia Gaither, Brianne Bethel, Jaida Knowles, Devine Parker, Anthonique Strachan, Devynne Charlton and Shaunae.

“With the men in the 4 by 100m, there are such as the veteran Warren Fraser, Shavez Hart, Teray Smith, Ian Kerr and Joel Johnson. Now, when it comes to the men’s 4 by 100m, we remain solid. Of course, there is Stevie (Gardiner). We have also, Alonzo Russell, Andre Newbold, O.J. Ferguson. Let me say, we’ll be very good. I expect medals from them all over the next few years,” said a confident Gardiner.

The veteran track and field mentor/administrator and former outstanding athlete has gone out on a limb, for sure. The relay tradition of The Bahamas, inclusive of his contribution as coach, has been one of the glowing aspects of The Bahamas Sports Brand.

Most recently, the country has been sort of shaky in efforts to maintain its position as a world sprint relay power.

Gardiner said better days are ahead.

Best wishes to Gardiner and those he coordinates along the way, while trying to keep The Bahamas respected as one of the world’s best in sprint relays.

• To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at sturrup1504@gmail.com or on WhatsApp at 727-6363.


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