By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
THE Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations will be bringing the world to the new Thomas A Robinson Track and Field Stadium when it hosts the inaugural IAAF World Relays May 24-25.
But I was a little disappointed that with the world at our feet, neither the BAAA nor the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture took advantage of the opportunity to stage a Bahamas or Bahamian Day at the Luzhniki Grand Sports Complex or one of the massive hotels in Moscow, Russia.
A lot of my collegiates from the various media houses in some of the countries in attendance were wondering why there was no official promotion for the championship and the Bahamas itself.
Notwithstanding the fact that we are a touristic destination, having a press conference would have benefited us a whole lot more because it would have given more people a chance to prepare themselves to come, not just for the meet, but our beautiful sun, sand and sea.
Sports minister Dr Daniel Johnson and director Timothy Munnings, along with BAAA president Mike Sands and executives Philippa Arnett-Willie and Drumeco Archer, were all present along with Basil Christie of the local organising committee and Jeff Beckles from the National Sports Authority.
Imagine the kind of publicity that the Bahamas could have gained from having one press conference with executives from the IAAF to promote the championships.
To me, it was a missed opportunity that will not be experienced again.
Except for Alpheus ‘Hawk’ Finlayson, who provided some brochures for Marathon Bahamas, scheduled for January 18-19, 2014, there was no information available on the Relay Championships.
I’m sure that the IAAF, which has the event pegged at $1.4 million to host, will be in town very shortly to ascertain the level of preparation for the championships and will ensure that whatever is necessary will be done to get it off the ground.
As for the Bahamas’ participation, let’s hope that the BAAA ensures that our athletes are all fit and ready to compete.
Minister Johnson has already gone on record to say that the government will be providing a challenge for any country outside of our region that can win an event at the championships.
I’m sure he was not talking about any of the events over the 4x400 metres because it’s obvious that the Bahamas or any country in our region will not be able to contend for the title in any of those events.
I would think that the challenge for the Bahamas and our region will be in events like the 4 x 100, 4 x 200 and 4 x 400. At both the IAAF World Championships and the Olympic Games, the region has shown its dominance.
I think by bringing the relay championships here, the Bahamas in particular can put more of the spotlight on our distance runners, who have complained about not getting the kind of attention that they deserve.
With so much attention being placed on our sprinters, the distance runners can now get themselves geared up to prove that they have what it takes to be a contender on the world stage.
Let’s get ready to bring on the world in our backyard next year.