By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
IN the past two weeks that I took a break from the sports desk, there have been some significant developments on both the local and international scene that warrant some critiquing at this time.
In the words of one observer, who wishes not to be identified, it’s just another day in the world of sports.
THE Bahamas Volleyball Federation is scheduled to send its junior boys national team off to the 9th Junior Caribbean Volleyball Championships in Guadeloupe July 21-29 and the Bahamas will be matched up against teams from Barbados, Martinique, the United States Virgin Islands, Curacao, Trinidad & Tobago and Guadeloupe.
But on the eve of the team’s departure on Sunday, head coach DeVince Smith said they are still seeking financial assistance to pay for all of the players to make the trip. Unbelievable.
This is 2013 and our national team players still have to resort to going on the street to hold a dollar day to help raise the necessary funding.
By the way, congratulations to newly elected president Joseph ‘Joe Mo’ Smith, who was inducted as the new pastor of the Independence Drive Church of God. Smith has his hands full as he also serves as a newly vice president of the Bahamas Olympic Committee.
Prior to his latest promotions, Smith has taken the federation through some turbulent times as they try to secure funding to send a number of teams off in the past. I’m sure it’s not going to get any easier now, considering what the junior national team is going through.
Just this week, businessman Peter Nygard provided a cheque for $10,000 to King Eric Gibson to assist with the staging of the Acklins Regatta that will be held over the August holiday weekend in Spring Point where the site will be named after the legendary sailor.
Nygard, who has been a big supporter of the federation’s senior men’s national indoor and beach volleyball teams, has noted that while he continues to assist, there has to be a better mechanism to provide funding for sports, rather than just giving whenever the need arises.
For the record, contrary to the comments made by Minister V Alfred Gray about the need for more wealthy Bahamians to make a contribution, there are a lot of others in Lyford Cay who have assisted, albeit without the fanfare of Nygard, who has for the majority of times, hosted a number of press conferences at his unique home to distribute his funding.
The late Betty Kelly Kenning was a generous donor to the Bahamas Swimming Federation. In fact, she provided the funding for the construction of the national swim complex at the Queen Elizabeth Sports Center. The federation, in turn, named the complex after her.
The Dassler sisters are another contributor that comes to mind. Through their German-based company Adidas, they have provided the uniforms and shoes for a number of our national teams that have competed at the Olympics, the World Championships and the regional CARIFTA Games and other sporting events.
The Bahamas, however, has since terminated its contract with Adidas and is now being sponsored by Puma.
There’s been a number of others, whose philanthropy efforts have not been highlighted. A number of them have been silent donors individually and corporately through the Lyford Cay Foundation, of which countless Bahamians have benefited through a wide range of areas, including education and sports.
The problem is there have been so many persons and sporting organisations that have in one way or the other received some financial assistance from wealthy Bahamians behind the iron gate.
A lot of their contributions have not been accounted for, as they’ve been publicised by Nygard.
I agree with Nygard. There has to be some type of fund set up specifically for sports where these wealthy citizens can make a contribution to assist with the funding of our national teams. We certainly don’t want to see our athletes back on the streets begging for assistance.
I’m not an advocate for gambling, but I would think that it would have been more effective if the government would begin legislation for the implementation of a National Sports Lottery, which could help to alleviate a lot of the problems that currently exist.
Just like the government introduced the National Sports Authority to operate the day to day operation of the sporting facilities at the QESC, there is no reason why the National Sports Lottery can’t be on the agenda. It can certainly go a long way in eradicating the need for our national team athletes to subject themselves to seeking assistance to represent the country.
DRUGS IN SPORTS
Having just watched her compete here at the inaugural Chris Brown Bahamas Invitational in April, it was shocking to hear about the suspension of Jamaican sprinting sensation Veronica Campbell-Brown. Still trying to digest that news, came the positive testing of Jamaicans Asafa Powell and Sherone Simpson, along with American Tyson Gay.
The timing couldn’t have been worse, considering that the IAAF World Championships is just a few weeks away in Moscow, Russia.
You never want to hear about any athletes getting caught, whether deliberate or not, because you want to see them all compete on an even playing field. But when it comes so close to home, we get a little jittery because we as a country have athletes out there competing as well.
For athletes competing today, it’s just so much pressure to perform, much less try to keep track of everything that they put into their mouth. Have you had a chance to look at the latest list of banned substances? It’s like they need to take more time to scrutinise their intake than they do their output.
I just feel sorry for these athletes. But then I guess one would say that’s the price they have to pay for competing in the sport.
Having read so many comments, especially from parents of the athletes, the only advice one can give to our athletes is just continue to be extra careful in staying on the straight and narrow path. Drugs does not pay, whether you willingly or unwillingly consume it.
You just don’t know whose name will be called next on the radar.
I wish to take this opportunity to offer my deepest sympathy, on behalf of my own family as well as The Tribune Sports Department, to the families of a number of people.
Firstly to Shannon Thompson on the passing of her husband, Larry Thompson - both from the softball park.
Secondly to the Seymour brothers - Ronald ‘Big Boy’, Arthur ‘Baldy’, Perry and Winston ‘Wincy’ - from the softball/baseball parks on the passing of your father, Ronald Seymour Sr.
Thirdly, to the family of former basketball standout Kenneth ‘Father Boy’ Rolle.
Fourthly, to softball players Hosea and Janette Hilton on the passing of their mother, Carol Mae Hilton.
May the souls of all the departed rest in peace.