Team Bahamas set for Doha

Just moments before jetting off for the 17th International Association of Athletics Federations’ (IAAF) World Championships, Bahamas Association of Athletic Association (BAAA) President Drumeco Archer said they have received money, in part, and will get the nine-member team to its destination.

The global championships go underway this Friday at the renovated, multi-purpose Khalifa International Stadium in Doha, Qatar, and will run until October 6. Archer said that it was a challenge, but they are prepared to move forward in the best interest of the athletes.

Qualifying to compete for The Bahamas are Shaunae Miller-Uibo in the women’s 200 and 400 meters (m), Steven Gardiner in the men’s 200 and 400m, Tynia Gaither in the women’s 100 and 200m, Anthonique Strachan in the women’s 200m, Pedrya Seymour in the women’s 100m hurdles, Alonzo Russell in the men’s 400m, Latario and Lathone Collie-Minns in the men’s triple jump, Donald Thomas in the men’s high jump and Samson Colebrook in the men’s 100m. Colebrook will not travel, opting to focus on his senior year at Purdue University and next year’s Tokyo Olympic Games. In late-breaking news, Seymour will also not travel, choosing to skip the biennial meet as a result of a recurring injury that bothered her in the latter part of the season.

Terrance Jones, tied as the fastest youth athlete in the world in the 200m, received a late invitation based on the IAAF World Rankings and has been entered for the men’s 200m. His junior national record time of 20.43 seconds at the BAAA Senior National Championships in July was just three one-hundredths of a second off the world championships’ qualifying time. The other Bahamian who was in the running for a possible invitation from the IAAF, long hurdler Jeffery Gibson, decided to shut down his season. Gibson is the national record holder in the men’s 400m hurdles, but finished about two-tenths of a second off the world championships’ qualifying time during the qualifying period.

Miller-Uibo and Gardiner will run in the women’s and men’s 400m respectively, and are gold medal contenders. Miller-Uibo is unbeaten in two years in all of her events, and Gardiner has the third-fastest time in the world, running 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 appears to be coming into form at exactly the right time.

Archer said despite not getting all the money they requested – $116,000 from the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture which they placed in a budget from February 1 – they have what is necessary to get the team to Doha. Team members will leave from various destinations this week.

In a press statement last week, the ministry cited support for Team Bahamas, but fell short of the $116,000 target by the BAAA.

“We extend congratulations to the BAAA and the nine athletes who successfully qualified to perform at the world championships,” stated the ministry’s press release. “As is practiced, in relation to this event, the ministry has extended the offer of approved provisions made available to assist the BAAA and our athletes for the purpose of offsetting specific associated expenses based on the government’s policy of fiscal prudence, and in compliance with current budgetary procedures and protocols.

“Our athletes are resilient. However, we have learned that this is the smallest contingent of athletes from The Bahamas participating in these championships, and unfortunately, that no relay teams have qualified to represent the country this time around. Nonetheless, it is not expected that this phenomenon will in any way hinder or diminish the representation of the small group that has worked hard during the past year and successfully qualified. They are indeed deserving of the country’s unconditional support and focus on motivating positive discussions surrounding their intended performances.”

Also emanating from the world championships is the two-day 52nd IAAF Congress on Wednesday and Thursday of this week, during which time the IAAF president, the four vice presidents and the 13 individual council members will be elected. Bahamian Pauline Davis-Thompson will carry out her final duties as IAAF Council Member. With Bahamian Mike Sands being elected to the presidency of the North American, Central American and Caribbean Athletic Association (NACAC), Davis-Thompson is no longer eligible to serve on the IAAF Council, as just one member from each jurisdiction can serve on the board of the regional representative of the IAAF at any one time. With Sands’ post, comes an automatic spot on the IAAF Council, as one of the six area representative presidents of the IAAF.

Also, in an awards ceremony on the eve of the IAAF Congress at the Qatar National Convention Centre in Doha, Bahamian long-standing coach Ronald Cartwright will receive the IAAF Veteran’s Pin. Cartwright is one of three honorees from the region to be receiving the award this year, and is only the second coach from The Bahamas behind Keith Parker, to ever receive this award. He credits Parker, who played a pivotal role in coaching him in the throws and jumps, with a lot of the expertise he garnered in coaching.

The start of the IAAF World Championships is now just three days away.

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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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