Wednesday, Jun 3, 2020
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New BAAA ‘order of inclusion’ praised by CARIFTA head coach

At the very least, Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA) President Drumeco Archer, quite early in his administration, is working toward ensuring that islands other than the capital island of New Providence, play meaningful roles in the organization, across the board.

The first inclination of importance he attached to track and field associates in the Family Islands came when he identified a Grand Bahamian, Ravanno Ferguson, for the first vice president position on his slate of candidates last November. Archer’s team prevailed and now the No. 2 ranked BAAA executive member is from somewhere other than New Providence.

This past week, Archer was on the island of Grand Bahama to network with sports stakeholders and he made another fundamental step in his effort of greater high-level involvement for representatives of islands other than where the BAAA’s administration is based. He announced that the amiable and knowledgeable Ali Rolle will be the head coach for The Bahamas’ 2019 CARIFTA Team.

Rolle heads the Golden Eagles Club in Grand Bahama and his selection to the high-profile national coaching position will be seen favorably by others throughout the Family Islands (particularly the less affluent ones), who work hard and persevere against great odds to apply fundamental track and field techniques to young boys and girls.

Rolle was complimentary to the president upon hearing of his appointment.

“I knew big things were going to happen based on the new president. His motto was moving the country forward. He never said (just) Nassau/New Providence. He said the country, which is The Bahamas. We have a president who is looking out for the interests in all of the islands and not just one,” Rolle pointed out.

As he clearly indicated, island coaches and island club chiefs in the past, have felt disenfranchised by the country’s parent body, under previous presidents.

The way ahead is challenging for the new chief of Bahamian athletics, but he has outlined a comprehensive program that sounds good. It is the intent of President Archer to have a particular focus on all of the islands, to seek to connect each with an event that pays tribute to past track and field pioneers and at the same time, fosters encouragement for those who are working within the athletics fraternity, presently.

Rolle, meanwhile, has a huge task to deal with.

The CARIFTA Games is scheduled for April 20-22 in the Cayman Islands, and The Bahamas, the second most winningest country (although far behind Jamaica), needs, at long last, to be a real competitive challenge. Jamaica normally finishes with enough gold medals (primary points factor) to overcome all of its sister nations collectively.

There is an ocean-like separation between Jamaica and the rest. The upcoming CARIFTA Games will be the 48th version and Jamaica has lost just five times (The Bahamas won four and Bermuda one).

The usual jovial Rolle, will have to revert to a full-serious mode if he is to enhance the CARIFTA status of The Bahamas significantly. As has been the case through the past three decades, Jamaica would have been able to win, seemingly with a third string team. That’s how dominating the country has been during the highest level of junior track and field competition in the Caribbean region.

Best wishes to Head Coach Rolle and to The Bahamas’ CARIFTA Team!

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

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