Fred Sturrup is currently in Lima, Peru, as a part of a 2019 Pan American Games journalistic program. Following is his Sports Scope column from the games:
LIMA, Peru — At the outset, Ken Mullings seemed determined to achieve something very special. The Bahamas’ decathlon entrant in the 18th Pan Am Games was confident and assured of representing his country quite well.
He finished sixth but with a gallant effort. He compiled a creditable figure of 7,517 points for a personal best and a new national record. At the first practice session in Lima, Peru, he was loose and clearly upbeat.
“I feel good. I came here to perform and give my best,” he said as he went through his workout routine. Coach Kennord Mackey expressed confidence the decathlete would do well.
Mullings performed in kind.
It was an athlete of conviction who paraded through his events of the first day, August 6. He gave his opponents an idea very early that he would be holding his own when he soared 2.03 meters (m) – 6’ 7-3/4” – tying for the top height in the men’s high jump. That was the prime indicator. Throughout the two days of competition, he held the flag up with enthusiastic efforts, many of them in the season’s best category.
Then, there was the personal best height of 4.4m (14’ 5-1/4”) in the pole vault competition. He was gutsy going about his business.
The 921 points from 14.42 clocking in the men’s 100m hurdles event was terrific. He scored over 800 points on three other occasions while contesting the following: 100m, long jump, high jump, discus, shot put, pole vault, javelin, 400m and the 1500m.
Mullings was a shining example of one who rose to the occasion. I got a proud feeling while watching him. There was the diminutive Mullings, smallest of the field and probably the lightest, out-performing opponents nearly a foot taller and well-muscled.
If there was a pound-for-pound category he would have won the gold rather than Canada’s Damian Warner.
It was gratifying to see Mullings demonstrate an important element of patriotism. Those who underachieve when representing the country should use Mullings as a role model. He is not an awesome looking athlete.
In fact if you didn’t know of his background, he could be thought of as just an ordinary individual. He packs inside however, tremendous resilience.
The Bahamas Olympic Committee (BOC) will face hard decisions in the future to turn away those athletes who waste time and funds. Dismal performances should not be tolerated.
There is no intent here in the least to put all of those who did not advance in that category. For instance, it was heart-warming to see Devynne Charlton run so hard as she seeks to find her form.
She finished fifth in her 100m hurdles heat in 13.49 seconds. While that’s off her personal best mark of 12.70 seconds, it was far from being embarrassing.
Those who produce outrageous results ought not be selected.
Nevertheless for now, let’s focus on the positive happenings here in Lima for The Bahamas, contributions to the enhancement of the sports brand such as what Mullings and others so far, have produced.
• To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at e-mail address email@example.com or on WhatsApp at (242) 727-6363.