Knowles back as BOC chief

Romell ‘Fish’ Knowles will serve a next term as the Bahamas Olympic Committee (BOC) president after he ran unopposed at the BOC elections that was held inside the Paul Farquharson Building at the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) Headquarters on Saturday.

Also running unopposed were Derron Donaldson as secretary general and Dorian Roach as treasurer. Eight other positions had to go to votes to be decided. Oria Wood-Knowles won the assistant secretary general’s position while newcomer Adam Waterhouse is now the assistant treasurer. The six vice presidents elected were Joseph Smith, Roy Colebrooke, Cora Hepburn, Clarence Rolle, D’Arcy Rahming Sr. and Robert Butler. All six were on last term’s BOC executive board.

Knowles said he is humbled and elated to be back in as president. He said he was surprised that he ran unopposed.

“It is an opportunity to give service back to your country. I chose to do so through sports. It is not about me and the presidency but about the assembly of a dynamic group of sports professionals willing, capable and able to project sports to the next level and help our membership to prepare for local and regional championships. Hopefully, we get more people on the podium representing their various sports,” Knowles said.

That slate will be spearheading the BOC for the next four years.

Butler and Equestrian Bahamas President Catherine Ramsingh-Pierre had to go to a second round of voting after the first return had them tied at eight votes each. Butler won the second round 12-10 and was voted back in as a vice president.

“It was a little bit nerving. It was tied. I know that Ramsingh-Pierre is a qualified individual but it happened to go in my favor more than it did in her favor. I wish Equestrian Bahamas the best but I am glad to get back on the board,” Butler said.

Ramsingh-Pierre, who ran for the first time, was grateful for those who voted for her and made it a close race.

“It was thrilling and I was honored that my colleagues and my co-federation presidents and delegates here felt that out of so many worthwhile candidates that I made the run-off. At the end, it was still very close but there are a lot of qualified people in the room who are passionate about sports. At the end of the day, we all want the same thing and we are all going to work for the betterment of the country,” Ramsingh-Pierre said.

One of the mandates of the BOC is to try and level the playing field between women and men.

“That is something that is near and dear to the Olympic movement and the BOC – getting women in sports to the forefront and we have a 20 percent mandate of our executive board. I’d like to see that increased and hopefully we can influence change makers to make sure that happens… We need to make sure that there is a levelled playing field and that there is not any discrimination so we can have more women come to the forefront,” Knowles said.

One of the two women who were voted into office was Hepburn. Growth and equality are two of the things she is championing for.

“This is the first time that we had six women nominated to be on the board and that is progress. I wanted a better result but votes cannot be controlled. I am here for who are pushing for equality. I always encourage females to immerse themselves in a federation to get on the BOC board. Hopefully, we see more women,” Hepburn said.

Knowles and his team will look to find ways to help sports other than athletics and swimming get athletes to the Olympic level.

“It’s difficult. Let me not downplay how challenging it is for small Olympic size federations and organizations,” Knowles said. “I believe that with proper planning, preparation, strategic plan, we can make it happen. We had gymnastics compete at the Pan American level, rowing at the Olympics and I believe that there are a lot more opportunities for other disciplines and sports but we need to come up with a strategic plan to get that done.”

The 2024 Summer Olympics, officially the Games of the 33rd Olympiad, is set for July 26 to August 11, in Paris, France.

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Simba French

Simba joined The Nassau Guardian in 2012 as a technical producer for Guardian Radio 96.9 FM. He joined the Editorial Department as a sports reporter in 2018. Simba has covered a wide range of sports stories, including the 2018 CARIFTA in Nassau, Bahamas. Education: College of the Bahamas, BA Media Journalism

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