A recent announcement is a sign of great things to come.
Noted track and field figure Mike Sands informed earlier this week of the “official opening” of the North American, Central American and the Caribbean Athletics Association (NACAC) Area Office on Tuesday, January 14, at the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium.
It’s a pivotal moment in time for sports in general, and the discipline of track and field, in particular. The occasion is huge and it heightens the national sports brand immensely. Sands, the NACAC president, is in a great position to excel, in driving development initiatives, far beyond his overall performance, previously, as Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA) president, over time.
It must be kept in mind that the NACAC Area Office will be functioning for all member federations and their programs, in the jurisdiction, but being based here in this country is a big push for national track and field. World Athletics President Lord Sebastian Coe is expected in town for the opening ceremony. This is indeed fitting, because it is World Athletics that is primarily responsible for area offices and their strategies.
Sands provided an overview: “The office is the administrative and oversight arm for the area with constant contact with the 36-member federations, disseminating information, ensuring that [federations] are compliant and implementing and supporting development and technical programs for each member federation, as authorized by the World Athletics Development Department.
“World Athletics provides funds to be disbursed to member federations for competitions, at the discretion of the area office. The area office is responsible for approving and monitoring all permits for meets [in the area], such as the Jamaican Invitational and the Kirani James Invitational, etc. President Coe, along with other area officials, will be present, as well as area council members,” said the NACAC chief.
Coe, as indicated by World Athletics data, is high on the “concept of a decentralized development co-operation”, a focus on cost-efficient development activities within various regions. The main objectives are to develop competent key athletes; foster increased participation in athletics; expand community athletics; cause adequate infrastructure to come on stream; and to guide an effective/efficient administration of athletics.
At the helm of the aforementioned process, in our area, is Sands. He has an important portfolio and hopefully will get the appropriate support to carry out his mandate to maximum heights. What is evident to me is that Sands now has the instrument necessary to co-ordinate comprehensive development programs throughout the region under his authority.
Sands should “go for it” with the same kind of determination that enabled him to fashion an elite sprinting career during the 1970s. He has the backing of Lord Coe. Also, I hold the view that the area office is very special, and significant enough to the national sports brand, that an annual grant from government would certainly be in order.
Let’s give Sands the full support that he is due, in this instance!
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