Mackey says Team Bahamas is focused

DOHA, Qatar – Despite the challenges that the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA) faced in getting Team Bahamas to Doha, Qatar, for the 17th International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Championships, one local coach remains optimistic and is confident that it won’t affect the team’s performance.

All nine members of the team are here in Doha, ready for the start of competition today.

Kennord Mackey, who has been working out privately with some of the athletes, said that this is the stage where The Bahamas usually shines. With the exception of the 2013 World Championships in Moscow, Russia, The Bahamas has won at least one medal at every global meet since 1993 – a span of 12 world championships and six Olympics.

“This is our time. In spite all of the hardships that the team would have faced in order to travel, the BAAA still made it possible for the athletes and coaches to be here, and that’s what a federation does – comes to the aid of its athletes and coaches when the need arises. Kudos to the BAAA and the hard work that the executives have been doing, along with NACAC (North American, Central American and Caribbean Athletic Association) President Mike Sands,” said Mackey. “All of the athletes I have communicated with are in high spirits. They are very excited. The youngster of the team, Terrance Jones, looks like he is ready for whatever comes his way. You know, given what went down in Grand Bahama with the hurricane just a few weeks ago, he and the other Grand Bahamian athletes on the team appear to be motivated to go out there and really perform well for the northern Bahamas.”

Set to compete for The Bahamas are Shaunae Miller-Uibo and Steven Gardiner in the women’s and men’s 400 meters (m) respectively, Tynia Gaither and Anthonique Strachan in the women’s 200m, Jones in the men’s 200m, Alonzo Russell in the men’s 400m, Latario and Lathone Collie-Minns in the men’s triple jump and Donald Thomas in the men’s high jump.

Gaither, Jones, Russell and Thomas are from Grand Bahama; Gardiner hails from Murphy Town, Abaco; and the rest are from New Providence.

The quintet from the northern Bahamas want to put on a special show for Bahamians in particular, given what the islands of Abaco and Grand Bahama went through in the passing of Hurricane Dorian just a few weeks ago.

Gardiner, who comes into this meet as the number three quarter-miler in the world this year, is a strong contender for a medal. He ran a season’s best time of 44.14 seconds at the 2019 Kamila Skolimowska Memorial at Stadion Śląski in Chorzów, Poland, two weekends ago. He also qualified in the 200m, but will apparently skip that event.

Mackey said that all of the athletes appear to be very focused. BAAA President Drumeco Archer confirmed that the executive team had to borrow money at the last hour just to get the team to Doha. Mackey said all of that is insignificant right now. He said what really matters is getting the athletes in the right frame of mind to compete. He doesn’t expect the turmoil leading up to the championships to have a negative effect on the athletes in terms of their performances.

“The athletes’ job isn’t to worry about the funding. All they had to worry about was their training and keeping their bodies in shape,” he said. “We all knew that the BAAA was going to do whatever it takes to make it possible for the athletes to be here. We just had to keep them focused and make sure that they continued with their training. I believe they’ll be in high spirits and ready to compete full force. Everyone appears to be on their ‘A’ game, and this should be something to watch. Bahamas get ready because we are going to give you a great show.”

The start of the 17th IAAF World Championships is now just hours away. The twins, Latario and Lathone Collie-Minns will be the first in action for The Bahamas, competing in the qualifying rounds of the men’s triple jump on Friday evening here in Doha. The qualifying rounds are set for 7:25 p.m. local time on Friday, 12:35 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST) back in The Bahamas. A jump of 17.10 meters (m) – 56’ 1-1/4”, or being among the top 12, would get a jumper into the final, set for Sunday evening. On Friday, Latario will be the first jumper in Group A, and Lathone is the eighth jumper in Group B.

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Sheldon Longley

Sheldon Longley joined The Nassau Guardian in January 2001 as a sports reporter. He was promoted to sports editor in 2008. Sheldon has an extensive background in sports reporting. He covered three Olympic Games and three world championships, along with multiple smaller regional and local games.

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