In an attempt to give athletes more opportunities to attain qualifying standards this season, and for them to sharpen their skills, Blue Marlin Management is putting on a series of one-day meets, starting as early as March 27, at the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium.
A trio of one-day events is set for March 27, June 10 and June 28 – the latter serving as the fifth last chance meet for the organization over the last five years. The qualifying deadline for the Tokyo Olympic Games is June 29, and the Olympics itself is set for July 23 to August 8, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan.
“There are a number of meets that athletes are looking to qualify for this year,” said Blue Marlin Management Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and event organizer Demaris Cash. “The world relays is on the schedule for May 1-2, and athletes have to sharpen their skills if they want to get on The Bahamas’ team for that event, so the meet on March 27 gives them an opportunity to put down some fast times. There are a lot of athletes who are home-based, and this is a chance for them to compete in a high-level meet and try to make the world relays team. There are a lot of senior athletes who are home training, looking for opportunities to compete, so these meets are basically geared toward them. A lot of them travel with the intention of getting in meets in the United States, but a lot of those meets are geared toward college students and there could be situations where the senior athletes won’t be able to compete.
“This is the kind of dynamics our athletes are faced with. They are faced with a lot of expenses because they have to travel and pay for accommodations and transportation and then might not be able to compete so they are out of a lot of money. Also, in this environment, they have to spend money on PCR tests to prove that they are COVID-free and stuff like that. There are a lot of logistics involved.”
Cash said this series of track and field events was designed to alleviate the need for athletes to travel overseas for meets. All three meets, which will feature men and women track and field events in the open divisions, will start at 4 p.m. All track events, including the open women’s 3,000 meters (m) and the open men’s 5,000m will be held. In the field, there will be no throwing events – just the high, long and triple jump events for men and women. The deadline for registration is 48 hours before the start of each meet. Cash said they are anticipating about 100 athletes in competition on March 27.
“We expect the junior athletes to be there competing as well. This is a good opportunity for them to get in some good times by competing against some of the senior athletes. This could put them in a good position to qualify for their respective meets,” said Cash. “Everyone is being patient and waiting to see how it goes. By Monday, we should see an increase in registration and an idea of what kind of numbers we are looking at. There has been verbal commitments from athletes and we expect a number of them to register over the next week. This is an opportunity for them to attain qualifying standards and we expect them to take full advantage of that.”
The meets are sponsored by Runnahs Ltd., which is a delivery application company ran by Cash and two-time Olympian Jamial Rolle, Seagrape Inc., Network Security Consultant Group (NSCG), and Sands Pro Athletics. Athletes can register on the website www.bluemarlintrackclassic.com.
“We want to provide incentives for these athletes,” said Cash. “This is like a labour of love for athletics because I have to dig into my pockets, but I am here to help and provide an opportunity for these athletes. Hopefully, the NSA (National Sports Authority) could have some agreement with us in the pricing of the facility, but the BAAA (Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations) has been very supportive and they have mentioned the option of paying for the facility usage of the first meet on March 27. We just want the senior athletes to come out and support the meet. We know the struggle of last year with COVID and athletes being able to train and compete. This is an opportunity for them to get out there and compete. We’re asking athletes to prepare themselves accordingly and come out and qualify early and put less stress on themselves.”
Like all of the athletic events in the country so far for 2021, once again, there will be no fans in the stadium so as to conform to COVID-19 standards. Cash said one of the positive aspects of that is that an event like this could help the athletes prepare for the absence of fans at the Olympics, thereby getting accustomed to that kind of environment.