Sports

Archer remains optimistic about Team Bahamas

DOHA, Qatar – “Team Bahamas is in Doha, the athletes are prepared to put in the work and they are ready to compete.” Those are the sentiments expressed by Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA) President Drumeco Archer when asked for an update on the nine-member team on Thursday, a day prior to the start of the 17th International Association of Athletics Federations’ (IAAF) World Championships in Doha, Qatar.

Engaged in a series of meetings for two days, Archer said from his understanding, all of the athletes are in high spirits and are ready to put on a good show for The Bahamas.

Not disclosing much about how they were able to get to Doha given the financial constraints of the BAAA leading up to the championships, Archer simply said that they owe a tremendous amount of gratitude to a private lender.

He said that he and his executive team have now put that issue behind them and are now focused on the business of track and field and making sure Team Bahamas has everything that is required for the athletes to be successful here in Doha.

“The team has settled in and they are all ready to go. I’ve communicated with most of the athletes and they said that they feel great and are in the best shape of their lives, so we’re expecting good performances from all of them,” said Archer. “The team is led by athletes such as Shaunae, Steven and Donald, then there are veterans like the twins, Anthonique, Tynia and Alonzo and the baby of the team Terrance Jones is here. I’m very enthused about the prospect of our youngest athlete Terrance Jones. He is amazing, and he continues to perform well. The sky is the limit for him.

“We were honored to be a part of the celebration for Ronald Cartwright on Tuesday night. Receiving the IAAF’s Veteran Pin is a special honor for him and we celebrate with him. Also, Mike Sands ascending to the position of IAAF Council member as the NACAC (North American, Central American and Caribbean Athletic Association) president really takes effect from now. This is a huge step for The Bahamas. Mike is just the third Bahamian to sit on the IAAF Council and with him being the NACAC president, we’re looking for some big things in track and field for this region. We’re expecting him to lobby for this region to the world’s governing body for the sport. NACAC has been the strongest region in the world in terms of our success at major international competitions, and we look for that to continue under Mike’s reign.”

The Collie-Minns twins will be up first for The Bahamas, competing in the men’s triple jump today. That event will get underway at 7:25 p.m. local time on Friday, 12:35 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST) back in The Bahamas.

A jump of 17.10 meters (m) – 56’ 1-1/4”, or being among the top 12, would get a jumper into the final, set for Sunday evening. Today, Latario will be the first jumper in Group A and Lathone is the eighth jumper in Group B. A total of 33 jumpers are competing.

Saturday is an off day for The Bahamas and Terrance Jones will compete in the men’s 200m heats on Sunday. That event will be held at 8:05 p.m. local time on Sunday, 1:05 p.m. EST back in The Bahamas.

Addressing a rumor circulating among track and field enthusiasts in the region that a major meet is on the horizon for The Bahamas, Archer said that it would be premature to speak to that at this time, adding that plans in that regard, if any, would certainly be in the infancy stages. He said as far as he knows, there have been talks on the matter, but there hasn’t been any in-depth discussion as the hosting of any international meet in The Bahamas would require the full support of the government of The Bahamas.

The cost to host that meet – the 2019 Senior NACAC Track and Field Championships – would run the government of The Bahamas into about $750,000.

“All I could say at the moment is that it would be a wonderful opportunity, but of course nothing could be done in The Bahamas without governmental support,” said Archer. “So far, there have been a few informal meetings. There is no challenge in the sanctioning with such a meet, but hosting it would require a certain level of commitment and guarantee from the government. This region is the best region for athletics in the world, so there’s no doubt that the Senior NACAC Championships would attract some of the best athletes in the world. There is a lot of interest among athletes and officials in returning to The Bahamas and this presents the avenue for them to do that, but like I said, it’s in the infancy stages and requires a higher level of discussion.”

Before leaving the topic completely, Archer did mention that the budget for the Senior NACAC Track and Field Championships would be far less than the $5 million tag on the IAAF World Relays, which called The Bahamas home for the first three editions in 2014, 2015 and again in 2017. The government pulled the plug on the hosting of the world relays this year, and the event moved to Yokohama, Japan.

Archer has attended the 52nd IAAF Congress at the Qatar National Convention Center over the past two days and said they have been dealing with the business of track and field and electing a new administrative team of the IAAF, that will take the sport into the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan, and the 2021 IAAF World Championships in Eugene, Oregon, United States.

“I have had the opportunity to meet with a number of regional and member presidents and even government delegates,” said Archer. “A number of them have expressed their well-wishes and regards to The Bahamas in the wake of Hurricane Dorian. We have received sympathies and well-wishes from every corner of the world. This goes to show that the devastation that happened to the northern Bahamas is far-reaching. A number of athletic leaders have been reaching out to us and that’s certainly something that we appreciate.”

With the congress now completed, it’s on to the 17th IAAF World Championships that is now just hours away at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha, Qatar.

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Sheldon Longley

Sheldon Longley joined The Nassau Guardian in January 2001 as a sports reporter. He was promoted to sports editor in 2008. Sheldon has an extensive background in sports reporting. He covered three Olympic Games and three world championships, along with multiple smaller regional and local games.

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