Saturday, May 25, 2019
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World relays debacle results in much-needed sports focus

The one positive result from the debacle of the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations’ (BAAA) representation at the fourth International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Relays in Yokohama, Japan, this past weekend, is the high sports focus presently in the country.

There is a lot of interest in the failed venture of the BAAA. The terrible reaction to 400 meters (m) sensation Steven Gardiner’s Achilles tendon injury which caused The Bahamas to not show up for the men’s 4x400m relay event; the botched relay exchange that eliminated the men’s 4x200m team; the vagueness of the explanation for the circumstances; and the trivial attitude within the circle of athletes who cost the country a lot of money for their presence in Yokohama, left much to be desired.

One athlete said he had fun. This is odd. He had fun despite the disappointments. What was his true focus? Perhaps it was just about making the trip for him and not ensuring the quality representation the people of The Bahamas deserve. The grand dame of track and field Pauline Davis-Thompson gets into trouble for her bold comments, but she was the essence of seriousness when representing her country. The only fun time for her was in celebrating success. She was a model of seriousness when representing her country.

Following the total scenario in Yokohama, one of the top topics in the nation is sports, and rightly so.

The Official Opposition has gotten into the act. Shadow Sports Minister Picewell Forbes accentuated many of the points made in this forum regarding the shortcomings in Bahamian sports, but his approach was understandably political. He questioned Sports Minister Lanisha Rolle’s official office team and the costs for their presence in Yokohama.

I actually think solid fact-finding teams are imperative at major games and championships for which government funds assist with the delivery of national teams to compete. However, they should all have been given duties, and comprehensive reports ought to be produced for the way forward with government funding assistance and advice.

For instance, now Minister Rolle and her associates should be fully examining the Subvention Program, and the responsibilities federations have to the ministry once they agree to take government grants and come back again, at times, for further financial assistance.

The sports ministry cannot control sports federations, but can put in place conditions that have to be met for acceptance of respective Subvention Program applications and the requests for funding.

So, if the minister’s team was not in Yokohama just to have fun, and each played a meaningful role, then that’s fine. In particular, the director of sports in the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture should always be the lead person in making post-competition recommendations and giving comprehensive reports.

In this present case, that burden falls on Tim Munnings. He is important during this pivotal point in our sports history. Munnings should be aware that he is being depended upon to carry out his role efficiently. The sports director should be fully knowledgeable about sports in general, in order to best guide the minister and to interact intelligently with various sports leaders.

What comes out of the 2019 IAAF World Relays could reshape sports in The Bahamas for the better, if roles are performed properly. Reference is to BAAA President Drumeco Archer and his track and field colleagues, as well.

• To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at e-mail address sturrup1504@gmail.com or on WhatsApp at (242) 727-6363.

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