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Two Most Outstanding Athletes Are Honoured

By BRENT STUBBS Senior Sports Reporter bstubbs@tribunemedia.net Triple jumper Latario Collie-Minns repeated as the most outstanding male competitor in the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations' (BAAA) Scotiabank National High School Track and Field Championships last month. This year, he was joined by quartermiler Shaunae Miller as the most outstanding female. The duo were honoured by Scotiabank yesterday when they were presented with their trophies and a certificate from Custom Computers Limited to obtain educational materials. For Miller, who completed a sweep of the under-20 girls' sprints by winning won both the 100 and 200 metres for St Augustine's College, the award was well-deserved. "I know there were a lot of great performances that took place at the National High School Nationals," she said. "I'm just grateful that I was chosen." Miller has now set her focus on the Carifta Games that is scheduled to take place in Hamilton, Bermuda, over the Easter holiday weekend. "I'm just looking forward to doing my best and representing my country to the best of my ability," she said. "I know the competition is going to be stiff because all of the girls will be coming out to do their best." Miller, however, will not be competing in her best event as she has not yet ran her specialty in the 400. Instead, she will be running the 200 where she has produced the A qualifying standard for the London Olympics in August, along with both the 4 x 100 and 4 x 400 relays. "I guess the fans will be a little disappointed but I will be back later this year in the 400," said Miller, who is set to run the 400 at the IAAF World Junior Championships in Barcelona, Spain, in July. "I'm just having a little bit of fun right now and sprinting." As the two-time winner of the male award, Teleos Academy's Collie-Minns said he's thrilled to have accomplished the feat. "There were a lot of outstanding performances done. It just says that I'm very consistent and I'm very pleased with where I'm at right now," he said. Collie-Minns, however, said he's eager to compete in his first international meet when he joins Miller in Bermuda for the Carifta Games on Thursday. "I'm hoping that I can stay focused because my goal is to break the Carifta record," said Collie-Minns, who will be competing alongside his twin brother Lathone Collie-Minns in both the triple and long jumps. Supporting his brother as he collected another award, Lathone Collie-Minns said he's happy for him because they both push each other. But he probably just has to work a little harder than he's doing now. "I plan to go to Carifta and do my personal best, break the record and get a good ranking in the IAAF," he said. "I know that I can do it because I have the same qualities as my brother." Former triple and long jumper Antonio Saunders, a coach of the twins in Jumpers Inc. and an assistant going to Carifta, said it has been an honour of his to be working with such a talented duo. "We are very, very blessed to have individuals like them as a part of Jumpers Inc.," said Saunders of the club headed by coach Peter Pratt. "They have been the benchmark for us and establishing a good ranking in the world. They speak volumes for the talent that we have in the Bahamas and it shows the hard work that we put in to keep them at this level. We are still not at full strength so we just want them to go to Carifta and just be aggressive and not too passive." May Miller, the mother of Miller, said she's elated to see how her daughter emerged out of a lot of outstanding performances to achieve the award this year. "I just thank God for allowing her to perform as well as she did," Miller said. But for Carifta, she said her husband has been coaching their daughter and working more on speed so that's the route they wanted to take in Bermuda. Making the presentation, Scotiabank's marketing manager Leah Davis said their involvement with the BAAA is a huge part of their future development they have dubbed 'Bright Futures.' "This partnership with the BAAA, if not our most significant, is definitely up there in the top three in terms of our commitment to youth development and sports," Davis said. "We know that it will continue to grow because we are committed to the Olympic trials and we will be looking to see how we can develop our relationships with these athletes beyond just the awards presentations." BAAA first vice president Sherwin Stuart said the association is quite pleased with the relationship they have forged with Scotiabank since they came on board in 2008 when they first sponsored the Scotiabank Olympic Trials. "They have continued to support our programme and, for the last three consecutive years, were the title partner of the Scotiabank National High School Track and Field Championships," he said. "We see Scotiabank's philosophy of working with the youth in our country as a perfect fit with the BAAA's youth and junior development programme to inspire, empower and help our youth to achieve their goals in their chosen endeavours." Stuart said Scotiabank's 'Bright Futures' initiative aligns with the BAAA's goals for their athletes and he thanked them for their continued endorsement of the programme.

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