World Championships team in jeopardy

In less than two weeks from now, premier track and field athletes from around the world will be putting on a show at the 2019 International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Championships in Doha, Qatar, from September 27 to October 6.

The Bahamian 10-member team might not be able to make it because of insufficient funds, according to Drumeco Archer, president of the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA).

According to Archer, the BAAA proposed a $116,000 budget to the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture for the prestigious meet from February 1 of this year and on Wednesday evening, September 11, the ministry granted them $25,000 – way short of the proposed budget.

The team is set to travel next week and Archer said if they only have $25,000 they will not send a team to Doha. The BAAA refuses to send a team that can only send some of the athletes because all of the athletes qualify for the meet.

Archer added that the last-minute response from the ministry is not new as the BAAA was faced with the same during the summer with the other teams.

“As a federation, I am not going to be advised as to the source of funding, except that we know that monies come from the Treasury to the benefits of specific projects that we spearhead,” Archer said.

“The World Championships is one of those and there has been a long tradition of the government to underwrite that cost. It has never been a consideration.”

Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Lanisha Rolle said that the ministry does not have the funds to fully fund the BAAA or any other federation’s total budget expenses.

“The ministry does not have the funds for that organization or any organization to fully fund its events, travels or its total budgetary expenses,” she said.

“In the past, I’ve learned from former ministers, former presidents of the BAAA, they have indicated that source of funding are from multiple entities, agencies, avenues and that is how it has to work together and that is what we encourage all of the federations to do because if the burden is on the ministry, we won’t be able to do anything else.”

Archer pointed out that in 2015, the BAAA received $150,000, and in 2017, the BAAA received $140,000, and added that it is no different from what their expectations are now.

Rolle said that the BAAA, along with the Bahamas Olympic Committee (BOC), should have had the opportunity to gather funds for this event.

“The last World Championships was in 2017, and the BAAA, working along with The Bahamas Olympic Committee, would have all had the opportunity and the time to garner the necessary resources needed and then say to the ministry that, ‘We have this amount. Can you assist us with that amount,’” she said.

“But certainly just sending in information, if that is the case, …and saying the ministry is responsible – the ministry is unable to do it and I must continue to follow the practice of the ministry.”

The BOC is not responsible for getting Team Bahamas ready for the IAAF World Championships.

The athletes that are set to compete with Team Bahamas are Tynia Gaither, Anthonique Strachan, Shaunae Miller-Uibo, Pedrya Seymour, Steven Gardiner, Alonzo Russell, Latario Collie-Minns, Lathone Minns, Donald Thomas and Samson Colebrook, who opted out.

The head coach will be Fritz Grant, Bernard Rolle and Ronald Cartwright. The team will be managed by Sharon Gardiner and she will be assisted by Dionne Britton. The medical staff consists of Keir Miller, team doctor and Cordero Bonamy, team physical therapist.

The other delegates are Archer and Mabelene Miller, chief executive officer of the BAAA. Jeffrey Gibson and Terrance Jones are two other athletes that have the opportunity to be invited to the meet.

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Simba French

Simba joined The Nassau Guardian in 2012 as a technical producer for Guardian Radio 96.9 FM. He joined the Editorial Department as a sports reporter in 2018. Simba has covered a wide range of sports stories, including the 2018 CARIFTA in Nassau, Bahamas. Education: College of the Bahamas, BA Media Journalism

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