LIMA, Peru – Tennis provided a respectable start for The Commonwealth of The Bahamas at the XVIII Pan American Games, here in Lima.
Power server Justin Roberts and finesse player Baker Newman could not get out of round one in doubles, but, they both rose to occasion in singles. Roberts outlasted host competitor Sergio Galdos in a three-set thriller and Newman was steady with his drop shots and excellence from the baseline, to oust El Salvador’s Luis Miralles.
It was good that The Bahamas showed up well during the first segment of competition at these games.
Now though, the goals are higher for the rest of the Pan Am Games activities. I attended the first night of finals for the boxing competition on Thursday night at the Miguel Grau Coliseum and was happy to see sister English-speaking Caribbean country, Jamaica, claim a medal, a bronze. The boxing field at the Pan Am Games, in recent times, has been dominated by Cuban and Dominican Republic boxers, with the United States, in the top mix to a lesser degree. I heard the Cuban national anthem four times on Thursday night
So, yes, it was nice to witness Jamaica prevail, to at least reach the podium in boxing. I couldn’t escape the yearning though, for a final appearance, a podium visit or even, more so, hearing our very own national anthem at these games.
With the new arrivals, beginning Thursday evening, our chances to move beyond first round action increased considerably. Athletics and swimming always figured to give The Bahamas the best opportunities for high level finishes. Both disciplines get into the competitive phase on Tuesday, August 6.
On Friday morning, D’Arcy Rahming confirmed the late arrival of four of the athletics team, brothers Lathorne and Lathario Collie as well as Head Coach Rudolph Ferguson and Coach Kennord Mackey, the night before.
On Friday night, the rest of the track and field athletes were due in. Finally, it became certain that elite sprinters Shaunae Miller-Uibo and Steve Gardiner will not be in uniform for The Bahamas, at this time. Neither was on the flight list provided by Rahming. Veteran stand-out high jumper Donald Thomas was there though, as well as sprinters Anthonique Strachan, Tynia Gaither, high hurdler Jeffery Gibson, hurdlers Pedrya Seymour and Devynne Charlton, and quarter miler Alonzo Russell, among the rest.
There should be some finalists from the aforementioned group for sure. Thomas, Pedrya Seymour, and Gibson are the early favorites for a medal of some kind.
The swimming participants are scheduled to arrive today in Lima, and the judo entrants, Cynthia Rahming and Sasha Ingraham, on August 5.
Thus, in short order, the Pan Am Games Athletes Village will have a strong Bahamian flavor. Hopefully that translates into some finals and medal achievements.
• To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at email@example.com or on WhatsApp at 727-6363.