By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
More than 100 athletes have been nominated for the various categories when the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA) selects its 2012 Athletes of the Year during the Awards Luncheon at the Sheraton Nassau Beach Resort on Sunday.
In front of the banner backdrop that featured the “Golden Knights” - the men’s 4 x 400 metre relay team of Chris Brown, Demetrius Pinder, Michael Mathieu and Ramon Miller that won the gold medal at the London Olympic Game in August - the BAAA revealed plans for the luncheon that will be held under the patronage of former Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Kendal Nottage.
Scheduled for a 2pm start, the luncheon is expected to recognise the 177 athletes and 83 officials who represented the Bahamas on the eight national teams - four senior and four juniors - including the NACAC Cross-Country in Trinidad, the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Istanbul, Turkey, the Carifta Games in Bermuda, the CUT in Jamaica, the Jr CAC in El Salvador, the NACAC Under-23 in Mexico, the Junior World Championships in Barcelona, Spain, and the Olympics.
“We are proud to boast that this country continues to show its strength as the youngest participant to represent this country was in the under-9 category to the most seasoned veterans such as five time Olympian Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie and the forty (40) year of Chandra Sturrup, who placed fourth at the IAAF World Indoor Championships,” said Tonique Williams-Darling, the newly elected public relations officer in the BAAA.
“In total, the Bahamas was able to secure ninety-eight (98) medals in these eight (8) international competitions. The success of these teams we owe largely to the commitment of our sponsors, who will play a significant role in the upcoming banquet on Sunday, December 23.”
Williams, the 2004 Olympic and 2005 World Championship 400 metre gold medallist, said the top awards will also be presented to the athletes whose performances were outstanding at the national level and on the world stage.
“Awards will be presented to both the junior and senior athletes in both the male and female categories and will include outstanding performances in both the track and in the field events,” she said. “Sunday promises to be an exciting day as these athletes contend for the top athlete’s awards for 2012. Our coaches, not to be excluded, will also go head-to-head to contend for the ‘Coach of the Year’ award.”
BAAA president Mike Sands said they appointed a selection committee, headed by statistician Ricardo Rolle, who compiled the performances of every athlete. The committee, however, has not yet completed the list for the Coaches of the Year.
“It was based on their overall performances for the year, but the stats would have come in and they perused the stats and contributions came in from all persons,” he said. “After the list was put together, it went to the coaches for their review because obviously the more eyes you have the better it is so we felt that we did not want to inadvertently leave no one out.
“So we’re satisfied and all of the coaches comments came in and we’re glad we did that because some more recommendations came in. So, at the end of the day, we are satisfied that we are close as we can get in covering all of the athletes in the preceding season that we thought were worthy of recognition.”
However, in releasing the list of athletes, there were some prominent names that were missing. Here’s a look at the athletes who have been nominated for the following categories:
• Basil Neymour Most Outstanding Junior Male Track Athlete - Cliff Resias, Teray Smith and Blake Bartlett.
• Keith Parker Most Outstanding Junior Male Field Athlete - Latario Collie-Minns, Lathone Collie-Minns, Ryan Ingraham and LaQuan Nairn.
• Anita Dogherty Most Outstanding Junior Female Track Athlete - Anthonique Strachan, Carmiesha Cox, Devynne Charlton, Teshon Adderley, Danielle Gibson, Tamara Myers and Racquel Williams. Notably absent was Shaunae Miller, Milke Sands said was obviously an oversight by the nomination committee.
• Ronald Cartwright Most Outstanding Junior Female Field Athlete - Danielle Gibson, Tamara Myers and Racquel Williams.
• Cross Country Female Athlete - Amber Ford, Eyeiessa Darville, Nevelicia Martin and Hughnique Rolle.
• Cross Country Male Athlete - Darren Young, Ashley Riley, Andre Colebrooke, Leonardo Forbes and James Audley Carey.
• Collegiate Female Track Athlete - Ivanique Kemp, Amara Jones, Hughnique Rolle, Nivea Smith and Teshon Adderley.
• Collegiate Female Field Athlete - Tamara Myers and Kenya Culmer.
• Collegiate Male Athlete - Warren Fraser, Nathan Arnett, Jeffrey Gibson, Shavez Hart, Trevorvano Mackey and Stephen Newbold.
• Collegiate Male Field Athlete - Raymond Higgs and Douglas Palacious.
• Angela Rolle U-15 Youth Female Athlete - Andira Ferguson, Dreshanne Rolle, Daejha Moss, Daneisha Curry, Doneisha Anderson and Tiffany Hanna.
• Under-15 Youth Male Athlete - Jaqunte Green, Javan Martin, Valentino Bodie, Casseus Nitchev and Dondre Rutherford.
• Diana Lynn Thompson Junior Female Athlete - Anthonique Strachan, Carmiesha Cox, Devynne Charlton, Teshon Adderley, Danielle Gibson, Tamara Myers and Racquel Williams. Again Shaunae Miller was missing.
• Errol Bodie Junior Male Athlete - Cliff Resias, Teray Smith, Blake Bartlett, Latario Collie-Minns, Lathone Collie-Minns, Ryan Ingraham and LaQuan Nairn.
• Bernard J. Nottage Junior Athlete - Anthonique Strachan, Carmiesha Cox, Devynne Charlton, Teshon Adderley, Danielle Gibson, Tamara Myers, Racquel Williams, Cliff Resias, Teray Smith, Blake Bartlett, Latario Collie-Minns, Lathone Collie-Minns, Ryan Ingraham and LaQuan Nairn. Shaunae Miller’s name was not included again.
• Collegiate Female Athlete - Ivanique Kemp, Amara Jones, Hughnique Rolle, Nivea Smith, Teshon Adderley, Tamara Myers and Kenya Culmer.
• Harrison Petty Collegiate Male Athlete - Warren Fraser, Nathan Arnett, Jeffrey Gibson, Shavez Hart, Trevorvano Mackey, Raymond Higgs, Douglas Palacious and Stephen Newbold.
• Sir Durward Knowles Family Island Athlete - Andre Colebrooke, Elroy McBride, Denzil Pratt and Shane Jones.
• Senior Female Athlete - Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie, Sheniqua Ferguson, Chandra Sturrup, Bianca Stuart and Ivanique Kemp.
• Thomas A. Robinson Senior Male Athlete - Chris Brown, Michael Mathieu, Demetrius Pinder and Leevan Sands. Missing is Ramon Miller.
• Charlie Major Senior Athlete of the Year - Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie, Sheniqua Ferguson, Chandra Sturrup, Bianca Stuart, Ivanique Kemp, Chris Brown. Michael Mathieu, Demetrius Pinder and Leevan Sands. Missing again is Ramon Miller.
Before the luncheon, Sands said members of the media, along with one or two other persons, will get a chance to vote on the final selection.
Dr Bernard Nottage will collect the ballots and present them to an accounting firm for the final selection to be announced on Sunday.
Harrison Petty, who serves the chairman of the organising committee, said what is so impressive about the performances turned in this year is the fact that 31 athletes represented the Family Islands, including five from Eleuthera and three from Moores Island.
Additionally, out of the 26 Olympians, six came from Grand Bahama and two of them were on the victorious men’s 4 x 400 relay team.
“This speaks volumes for the Family Island programme. However, it also tells us that we have only scratched the surface in our Family Island Athlete Development,” Petty said. “We had no athletes from Andros or the main land of Abaco, Exuma, Acklins and Crooked Island.
“There is so much more work for us to do that the federaion must now pay more attention to its priorities. What are we going to spend money on? One of our priorities is certainly the Athlete Talent Search Development. That is going to make a big development in our programme.”
Since the inception of the banquet for the past 13 years, Petty said they would not have been able to pull it off each year without the support of the public, which has provided the advertisements for the athletes, their platinum sponsor Mark Roberts from FYP Building, BTC, Scotiabank, Colina Insurance and Atlantis, who assisted them all year with their international meets this year.
Iram Lewis, the first vice president of the BAAA, said they are delighted to honour and recognise Kendal Nottage, the first minister of sports.
The ailing Nottage, in his capacity then, coined the phrase “Uno Numero” for the Bahamas’ success at the Carifta Games and he developed the sports power that was established in his ministry.
“We’ve come a long way and we look forward to the full participation from the public,” he said.
Tickets for the luncheon can be purchased at the BAAA office at the Thomas A Robinson Track and Field Stadium.