Saturday, Oct 19, 2019
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BAAA challenged to build enthusiasm for national championships

The president of The Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA) Drumeco Archer was in Grand Bahama last weekend, drumming up support for the 2019 BAAA National Championships, scheduled for July 25-26.

It was the second visit related to the championships in some way in two months for Archer. In early March he was in Grand Bahama to officially launch the event with the formal announcement of the actual dates. On the ground in Grand Bahama, however, not much excitement has been in evidence regarding the championships.

Archer’s aim this past weekend, no doubt, was to begin heightening the interest level for one of the major annual sporting classics.

A primary goal of Archer is to formulate a unit, through private and BAAA personnel, to promote the event. It’s a tall order because of the multitude of sporting activities planned in the second most populated island in the country.

A big plus, however, is the huge attraction track and field has been in Grand Bahama through the years. Quite frankly, from his visit in March, serious marketing of the championships ought to have started. The reality is that, presently, the BAAA is already in an uphill struggle to maximize the hosting of the championships in Grand Bahama.

To be very blunt, the situation speaks to the lack of enthusiasm, compared to the hype associated with the campaign along the way to the election of officers last November. The election campaign battle made for a hot topic in sporting circles. Since then, unfortunately, the BAAA has faded as a conversation item.

Archer, his executive colleagues and those brought on to provide support service would be best minded to recognize such and focus immediately on mobilizing a proactive organizing committee for the 2019 national championships.

Much needs to be done in Grand Bahama to ensure that sporting circles and the wider communities in the island would soon be abuzz with enthusiastic dialogue regarding what is to be expected from mega track and field stars such as the island’s own quarter-mile standout Alonzo Russell, an Olympic relay bronze medalist; and Grand Bahama native and former world champion high jumper Donald Thomas; as well as defending Olympic Champion in the women’s 400 meters (m) Shaunae Miller-Uibo; and national 200 and 400m records holder Steven Gardiner.

The BAAA is afforded top quality stars to drive the interest among prospective sponsors and patrons of the championships. For instance, if properly connected to the clash of the nation’s top two 400m male sprinters, namely Russell and Gardiner, sponsors would be more inclined to get on board.

Will Russell upset Gardner? Will female 400m sensation Shaunae Miller-Uibo go under 49 seconds in Grand Bahama? How many more high-quality jumps are to come from Thomas, who was king of the world in his specialty, 12 years ago, in 2007? What about a match-up of Olympic finalist Pedrya Seymour and Devynne Charlton in the women’s 100m hurdles?

The BAAA certainly has the ingredients to cook up something very palatable for sponsors and fans alike.

Let’s see what happens.

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


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