BOC officials preparing for 2019 Pan Am Games

Sports Scope is currently on vacation for the Christmas season and will return in the new year. During this time, The Nassau Guardian will feature a few Sports Scope columns from the past.

Just recently, Bahamas Olympic Committee (BOC) President Romell Knowles and Secretary General Derron Donaldson attended the Panam Sports General Assembly in Lima, Peru, in furtherance of the connection to our 40 sister nations and to be updated on the marquee event of 2019, while partaking in a number of other discussions on relevant issues.

According to Donaldson, along with the 2019 Pan American Games topic, on the table for discussion were the Youth Olympics, the creation of the Pan Am Youth Games, the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, regional meetings and organizational procedures, particularly as they pertain to finances.

Secretary General Donaldson expressed enthusiasm regarding the wide body of items covered and the information afforded to the national representatives.

“We discussed how countries need to look at sports, and as an investment that can provide educational opportunities and jobs. We talked about improving sports infrastructure, the accountability of member federations to the National Olympic Committees (NOCs), the importance of receipts and financial reports, and adhering to the digital concept,” informed Donaldson.

The fact that The Bahamas had built in recent years, quite a reputation for the hosting of major sports events, was not lost on fellow delegates, who heaped praises on our country for the successful Commonwealth Youth Games which the BOC organized last year.

“Everyone demonstrated they were impressed with what we did with the Commonwealth Youth Games, the model and the standard we functioned at. It was truly a great experience and our president Romell was wonderful in showing me the ropes as we networked,” said Donaldson.

The 2019 Pan Am Games, the 18th version, is scheduled for July 26 to August 11, 2019, and if the high-spirited approach of BOC officials is a true indication, Team Bahamas will be large and of high quality. The Bahamas has come a long way from the years when there was pure delight over just one or two medals.

I vividly remember the 1975 Pan American Games in Mexico City, Mexico.

The late John Daniel Smith, despite losing a shoe just after the midway point of the race, still finished second in a time of 13.74 seconds in the 110 meters (m) hurdles final, behind Cuba’s Alejandro Casanas (13.44). In the 200m final, Mike Sands ran 20.98 seconds for the bronze, behind Guyana’s James Gilkes (20.43) and American Larry Brown (20.69).

The entire Team Bahamas delegation was thrilled. We were very happy, indeed!

Of course, in subsequent years, The Bahamas evolved and has been producing a goodly number of gold medal performers. Thus, an expectation is in place always for credible performances at the most competitive sports event of the Pan Am region – North America, Central America, South America and the Caribbean.

Member countries other than The Bahamas are: Antigua & Barbuda, Argentina, Aruba, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Bolivia, Brazil, the British Virgin Islands, Canada, the Cayman Islands, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad & Tobago, the United States, Uruguay, Venezuela and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The Caribbean has hosted just three of the previous 17 editions. The Bahamas was poised to be in the picture as a future host, because of its success with three International Association of Athletics Federations’ (IAAF) World Relays and the Commonwealth Youth Games.

At some point, hopefully in the near future, through the BOC, The Bahamas might rise to the level of putting in a legitimate bid. For now, though, the high focus is on the best ever representation at the 2019 Pan Am Games.

• To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at e-mail address or on WhatsApp at (242) 727-6363.

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