Sports

Bahamas 17-and-under water polo team heads to Jr. Pan-Am games

The Bahamas 17-and-under water polo team has been hard at work preparing for the 2019 Jr. Pan American Water Polo Championships, to be held at the National Aquatic Centre in Balmain, Couva, Trinidad and Tobago, from August 16-23, 2019.

The first game is set for today against Colombia at 6 p.m.

Representing Team Bahamas are Dominic Beneby, Dominic Demeritte, Gabriel Encinar, Jelani Grant, Jahkai Gray, Alexander Gomez, Aidan Johnson, Oliver Roberts, Gabriel Sastre, Jayden Seymour, Alexander Turnquest and Nicholas Wallace-Whitfield.

The head coach is Laszlo “Coach Lotty” Borbely. Assisting him is Coach Daniel Stojanovski. FINA referee Anthony Knowles, physiotherapist Michelle Roache and chaperone Anitrah Rolle will be rounding out the delegation from The Bahamas.

The Bahamas 17-and-under water polo team qualified for the tournament last summer by winning the silver medal at the CCCAN Water Polo Championships held in El Salvador. They narrowly lost to Puerto Rico in the finals.

For the past two months, the team was found practicing up to six hours a day. As preparatory competition, the team participated in the 2019 CCCAN Water Polo Championships at the beginning of July. Additionally, several members of the team were invited to play in the 2019 USA Junior Olympics as members of the Houston Storm water polo team in mid-July. Coach Stojanovski was brought in from North Macedonia to increase the skill level of the team.

This past week has been a flurry of preparation. In addition to the daily practices, the team was treated to massages by Roache. Members of the 17-and-under water polo team attended a special church service this past Sunday at Trinity United Methodist Church and enjoyed a group luncheon afterwards.

They traveled from The Bahamas to Trinidad and Tobago on Wednesday.

The Junior Pan-Am games will be an historic event as this is the first time The Bahamas has qualified for and participated in the games.

The public’s support is welcomed.

The other teams at the tournament are Canada, the United States, Argentina, Peru, Trinidad and Tobago, Brazil and Colombia.

The top five teams will advance to the 2020 Junior World Championships, the highest level of competition for junior water polo. The team is confident that they will advance.

Travel could not have been possible without the support of corporate Bahamas. The team wishes to thank their sponsors: Comfort Suites, Paradise Island; Hurricane Hole Development Company; the MedNet Group; Gordon Overing; Leno; Lowe’s Wholesale; Glinton Sweeting and O’Brien; Damiano’s Sotheby’s Realty; Nassau Agencies; and Shurland & Co.

The team members also thanked their family members who have provided support both financially and in getting them to and from training as well as everyone who has sent them prayers, well wishes and support through their GoFundMe page. The team is supported by the Bahamas Aquatics Federation.

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