By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
WITH the athletes continuing to succeed, Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA) president Mike Sands said it's becoming more of a challenge to raise the necessary funding to send them off to compete.
The BAAA just saw the return of the team to the XIX Central American and Caribbean Junior Championships in San Salvador, El Salvador over the weekend where the Bahamas finished seventh in the medal hunt.
The team, the first of three to compete this month, accumulated a total of 28 medals, inclusive of five gold, 10 silver and 13 bronze.
Jamaica dominated the competition with 20 gold, 15 silver and nine bronze for a total of 44 medals, while Mexico was second with 19 medals, including 11 gold and Trinidad & Tobago came up with 23 medals, eight of which were gold.
But right on the heels of the return of the Junior CAC team, Sands noted that the BAAA is hard- pressed to find the funding for the team headed to the IAAF World Junior Championships this week in Barcelona, Spain, and the NACAC Under-23 team that is scheduled to leave at the end of the week.
"We're at a very critical stage because our resources have been tapped," Sands said. "We've become a victim of our own success. As you would know, the teams have been larger than usual this year.
"We have three trips going on simultaneously. Our Jr CAC is coming back, the Jr World team had some (athletes) already gone from El Salvador to Barcelona and several left today and the NACAC is going at the end of the week."
With those teams travelling, Sands said their resources have been more than depleted and so they're looking for some desperate funding to help us with the success that that they've been having.
"Hopefully with the graces of the banks and some of our other supporters, we hope that everything will go very well," Sands said. "We have to send the teams. But at the end of the day, we have to find the funding to take care of their expenses."
Right now, the BAAA is in an overdraft and Sands said if they can secure some $50,000, they will be in a much better financial position.
Having selected the largest World Junior team ever, made up of some 18-20 athletes, Sands said they needed about $135,000 alone to take care of the trip to Barcelona.
"We've been there and the success of the athletes has put us in a situation where we need the funding to take care of all of the trips," he said.
As the Jr CAC Championships came to a close on Sunday night, the team of Andre Colebrooke, Elroy McBride, Julian Munroe and Blake Bartlett clocked three minutes and 10.31 seconds for the silver. The gold went to Jamaica in 3:08.94.
Another silver medal Sunday night came from the A Girls 4 x 4 relay team of Devinn Cartwright, Kryshell Rolle, Rashan Brown and Teshon Adderley in 3:43.28. Jamaica took the gold in 3:37.21.
The B boys 4 x 4 team of Ashley Riley, D'Mitry Charlton, Janeko Cartwright and Kinard Rolle had to settle for fourth in 3:14.78. Trinidad & Tobago won in 23:11.66, followed by Barbados in 3:14.31 and Puerto Rico in 3:14.78.
The B Girls 4 x 4 team of Juannae Lewis, Mesha Newbold, Pedrya Seymour and Carlisa Russell got disqualified. Jamaica won the gold in 3:43.41, followed by Spain in 4:07.23 and Guatemala in 4:32.06.
Individually, Ashton Butler picked up a gold in the B boys triple jump with a leap of 15.06 meters. His nearest competitor was Justin Donawa of Bermuda with 14.49m.
Racquel Williams also struck gold when she threw the A Girls shot put 13.45m. She was joined on the dais by team-mate Cymone Hamilton with the silver with a toss of 11.94m.
Lathone Collie-Minns also picked up a silver in the A boys triple jump with a leap of 16.06 meters. Cuban Pedro Pablo Pichardo Peralta got the gold with 16.40m.
"I think the juniors are performing consistently," Sands said. "I think the momentum from Carifta is carrying over because the majority of the athletes were on that team.
"And when you view the fact that the competition has been expanded to include Central America with Cuba and Puerto Rico competing, our athletes are holding their own and we expect for their performances to continue to improve."
At least one Bahamian junior national record was achieved by the team of Teray Smith, Anthony Farrington, Shane Jones and Blake Bartlett in 39.80 with their silver medal performance in the A Boys' 4 x 1 relay.
The previous national record was 40.16 by the team of Jones, Bartlett, Johnathan Farquharson and Smith that was set here in June 16.
Jamaica, however, produced a CAC record of 39.39 to shatter the previous mark of 39.77 by Trinidad & Tobago in the Dominican Republic in 2010.