In sticking with their innovative stance from the launch of the 2022 Bahamas Association of Independent Secondary Schools (BAISS) Track and Field Championships, event sponsor Fidelity Bank (Bahamas) Ltd. has lived up to its promise by rewarding the top athletes from that meet.
The bank presented trophies to the top high-point finishers in each division yesterday, and also recognized the athletes responsible for the most outstanding performances of the meet.
“We need to put it in focus in terms of youth development,” said Fidelity Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Gowon Bowe. “When we take into consideration some of the things that take place with our youth today, there would be a lot of negative sentiments where the criminal element is out there and we know the challenges that we see in the school system.
“When we see positive elements like sports, where there is productive activity for the youth, then it’s important for corporate Bahamas to come forward with help to make sure that continues. It starts in the schools and with the track clubs that are out there. For us, it’s about how do we ensure that we don’t lose another generation and we keep them as productive citizens of society.”
Terrin Beckles from St. Augustine’s College (SAC) was the top athlete in the bantam boys division and Jayla Smith, of SAC, won that award in the bantam girls division. Demian Brice, of SAC, was the top athlete in the junior boys division and the junior girls top prize was shared between Jasmine Thompson of Temple Christian and Darvinique Dean of SAC.
Tumani Skinner, of SAC, was the most outstanding athlete in the intermediate boys division and Katia Archer, of SAC, won that award in the intermediate girls division. Shimar Bain, of SAC, was the top senior boy and Amari Pratt, of SAC, was the top senior girl.
Keyshawn Strachan, representing the St. John’s College Giants, had the most outstanding male performance of the meet, turning in an under-20 world-leading throw in the javelin. The massive throw of 78.63 meters (m) – 257’ 11” – was also a new BAISS record and a Bahamian junior and senior national record.
Since then, Strachan has improved his personal best to 79.89m (262’ 1”), good enough for the gold medal and a new CARIFTA record in the under-20 boys division at the 49th CARIFTA Games in Kingston, Jamaica.
The most outstanding performance by a female at the BAISS Championships was a toss of 38.19m (125’ 3”) in the junior girls javelin throw. That was turned in by Dior-Rae Scott of SAC, and it was a new BAISS record.
Since that performance, Scott turned in a new personal best throw of 44.57m (146’ 2”), which was good enough for the gold medal and a new CARIFTA record in the under-17 girls division at CARIFTA this year.
Bowe said it is their intention to look at how they take a portion of the successes of the youth and give back to worthy causes.
“Sporting events enables you to reach all sort of citizens… it doesn’t get selective,” he said. “The sporting events gives us an opportunity to give back in a greater way to society. Hopefully, we are leading by example and the rest of Corporate Bahamas follows us and you are able to see greater participation by other institutions.”
About his world-leading performance, Strachan said he always goes into competitions with the focus of giving it his best and represent his school, his family and his country well.
“I feel pretty good about what I was able to do this season. It was a good season… it’s a blessing,” he said. “The goal is to throw 85 meters (278’ 10”) at world championships. I’m looking forward to that. I’m training on a regular basis and just getting ready to peak at the right time. I like my chances. I like stiff competition so it really gives me the boost to go out there and have a top notch performance. I’m really looking forward to it.”
Strachan was recently passed on the World Athletics (WA) top list for junior men for 2022. Artur Felfner, of the Ukraine, now has the top performance for 2022 – a mark of 84.32m (276’ 7”). Strachan said that only motivates him to go out there and have a massive performance at the World Athletics Under-20 (U20) Championships which is set for August 2-7 in Cali, Colombia.
Also qualifying for that team is Shimar Bain. He ran personal best times of 48.34 and 52.83 seconds in the 400m and 400m hurdles this season. Bain said he was ecstatic to receive the award for the top senior boys athlete from the BAISS Championships.
“It feels good. I’m very thankful,” he said. “I’d like to thank God for allowing me to showcase my talents and I’m looking for better things to come. It was a long journey for me. I had to come back from a minor injury and trained very hard to get to this point. There were hard practices day in and day out. The practices were all worth it cause now I’m reaping the rewards.”
Bain is in his last year at SAC and said it was a good feeling to go out on a strong note.
At just 14, young Darvinique Dean is just starting her high school career at SAC. The junior girls winner of the top award for the BAISS will be going into grade nine in the fall.
“I feel very good and I’m very confident in my ability,” she said. “I’m looking forward to a strong finish to the season. I just want to thank all of my coaches, my parents and everyone who supported me this season. I want to continue to strive for excellence and continue to do my best.”
Dean is a sprinter and said her best event is the 200m. She’s optimistic and encouraged that with hard training she will ultimately achieve her goal of one day representing The Bahamas on the Olympic stage.
Fidelity CEO Bowe said that all of the young athletes are deserving of the awards and it was their pleasure to honor them for their performances.