Friday, Jul 19, 2019
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Infighting hurts national sports brand

The Bahamas Olympic Committee (BOC), today, is more proactive in networking positively within the national sports fraternity than perhaps ever before. Under the present leadership, the BOC has evolved as the straw that stirs the national sports drink.

The BOC’s outreach to sporting organizations (members of the Olympic Movement and otherwise) is at an all-time high. The Olympic Solidarity funding is being spread around with positive results.

Yet, all is not well.

Infighting within the sporting fraternity is counter-productive to the efforts of the BOC. The grand lady of track and field and one of the original “Golden Girls,” Pauline Davis-Thompson, has a bitter relationship with the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA). She was denied the opportunity to go forth once again for a seat on the International Association of Athletic Federations (IAAF) Council, as the BAAA opted for Mike Sands who has gone on to win the presidency of the North American, Central American and Caribbean Athletics Association (NACAC).

There seems to be an impasse between the Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Lanisha Rolle and various sports leaders.

Indeed, all is not well on the Bahamian sports landscape. The infighting is hurting the national sports brand. An Olympic Games year is coming up and the spirit of togetherness should be a priority item for all. The 2020 Olympic Games open in Tokyo, Japan, on July 24. We’ve got a whole year to mend relationships in the interest of the national sport brand.

It is hoped that next year, the Bahamian delegation in Tokyo will be united, with the one focus of getting the best representation for the country that is possible competitively as the situation relates to our athletes; and during the high-powered meetings, sports leaders will have with their international peers.

I submit that for such to be the case, a mediator is necessary.

Someone, a Desmond Bannister perhaps, with his vast sports background, would be ideal to sit with the lead catalysts of national sports and seek to bring about a compromise that would result in all and sundry being on the same page and comfortable in communicating with each other.

This kind of development is necessary. It’s essential. The BOC is striking the right diplomatic chord. According to Secretary General Derron Donaldson, “The president (Romell Knowles) has taken the position that we will move on with our program. We don’t want to get involved with replying to comments. We are just moving on.”

That’s the high road.

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

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