Rupert Gardiner advocates fair play for athletes in BAAA

Sports Scope is currently on vacation for the Christmas season and will return in the new year. During this time, The Nassau Guardian will feature a few Sports Scope columns from the past.

For more than a year, an investigation was held over the head of premier national sprinter Steven Gardiner.

Ignoring, it appeared, the disclosure from Relays Coordinator Rupert Gardiner that it was he who had given the athlete permission to take a sideline approach to the first round of the men’s 1600 meters (m) relay at the 2017 World Championships in London, England, the Bahamas Association of Athletics Association (BAAA) still decided to mount an investigation, when the Moore’s Island standout only did as he was told.

From the outset, Coach Gardiner informed all and sundry that the decision for Steven Gardiner “not to run” in the first round was his (the coach), personally. Throughout the lengthy process before the sprint sensation was exonerated, Coach Gardiner stayed strong to his position of defending the athlete.

“I told the BAAA, if it was a case whereby someone should be investigated, then that ought to be me and not Steven, because I gave him permission to take a break from the first round of the relays. I used my judgment. I saw what the rounds of the open 400, leading up to his silver medal in the final, had done to him.

“It was my judgment and mine alone to determine that he would be too far less than 100 percent for the first round, and it would be better for his young body and the team on the whole if he could be saved. That was my decision and I said that on many occasions. Still, they continued with the investigation. It never made sense to me,” said Coach Gardiner during an earlier interview.

Well, Coach Gardiner (former middle-distance competitor), being resolute, saved the day for the present-day athlete Gardiner and helped the BAAA to avoid further embarrassment. He went to bat for the athlete.

Coach Gardiner is indeed an advocate of fair play for athletes. Out of the recent BAAA election of officers, Coach Gardiner emerged as the body’s new second vice president under new president Drumeco Archer. It is good that Coach Gardiner is offering his services at the executive level of the BAAA.

For a very long time, and this fact could easily be substantiated, BAAA executives have taken the high hand in dealing with athletes, rather than accepting that they are, in truth, the prime collective product of the track and field fraternity.

Coach Gardiner went against the establishment to defend Steven Gardiner. I commend him. There were probably others who supported Steven Gardiner, but it was Coach Gardiner who stepped up to the plate in a time of crisis.

• To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at e-mail address or on WhatsApp at (242) 727-6363.

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