By RENALDO DORSETT
In just under 200 days (less than six months) the Bahamas will host the the region’s top junior athletics meet to debut the new Thomas A Robinson National Stadium to the world, and the local organising committee continues to seek a title sponsor for the event.
Basil Christie was announced as the chairman of the local organising committee during a press conference yesterday, charged with the responsibility of managing the logistics of the 41st edition of the Carifta Track and Field Championships.
“This is indeed an exciting time for us. Even though the public has not heard much about Carifta as yet, a lot of work has already been done and we are now ready to get the ball rolling. This Carifta in 2013 will be by far the best Carifta ever held. What we are really looking for is a title sponsor. Bahamas Business Solutions has come on board and created our logo, banners and paraphernalia that we will use in our marketing, but we are still in search of further major sponsorship,” he said.
“We are hoping that between now and April the 1st all you will hear on the streets is Carifta talk and promotion of the Caribbean spirit, and that is what the committee will try to implement. We want to appeal to the Bahamian at all levels to adopt Carifta 2013. We want the public to participate, lend financial support. We want people to say when they leave here it is really better in the Bahamas. The one Caribbean spirit from the Olympic movement, we would like to see that carried over here to our junior athletes.”
The 2013 Carifta Games is scheduled to be held March 28 to April 1, 2013. The Games will mark the seventh time in which the event was held in the Bahamas - the other years being 1976, 1978, 1981, 1984, 1992 and 2002.
“The Bahamas put forth itself for consideration for the 40th Carifta Games in Hamilton, Bermuda. This is now the 41st edition of what has been recognised by the IAAF president himself as the pre-eminent track and field event of its kind anywhere in the world. Today we will start in earnest with our preparation,” said BAAA president Mike Sands.
“Mr Christie comes eminently qualified having attended 39 of the last 40 Carifta Games. That in itself gives him a lot of institutional knowledge of what the Games are all about. The IAAF and other bodies of sport have taken the position that in order to host any international event, those member federations should have support of the central government. In our case we are fortunate to have the support of our central government and the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture.”
Minister of Youth Sports and Culture Dr Daniel Johnson admonished the Bahamian public to lend its support behind Team Bahamas and the promotion of athletics in the Caribbean at large.
“The young people of the Bahamas are excited, the federations are excited, all of your supporters are really, really excited and we think this will set the stage for major things to come. We know we have the IAAF World Championships coming here the year after, we know we have teams of young people getting ready for Brazil 2016 and we know Carifta 2013 can set the stage for some of the young talent you will see that we will be looking forward to seeing at the next Olympics,” he said.
“So I invite people to come out and see what you can expect. Come out and support the Bahamas, come out and support the Caribbean, come out and support sports power. The Caribbean is right now pound for pound the number one region in the world in athletics and we want people to see it displayed at the highest level right here in the Bahamas.”
At the 40th Carifta Games in Hamilton, Bermuda, the Bahamas captured 40 medals, including 14 gold medals, which placed the island nation in second position overall in the medal count.
Anthonique Strachan captured her second consecutive Austin Sealy award as the most outstanding athlete of the games for her repeat sprint double championship performance.
It was the Bahamas’ best finish since it won the 1984 edition of the meet with a total of 57 medals which included 19 gold, 22 silver and 16 bronze.