By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
RAIN rain go away. Come back another day.
Remember the nursery rhyme by Hooplakidz. I think it’s appropriate to repeat right now: Rain rain go away, come back another day, sporting organisations want to play, rain rain go away.
Not that I’m not grateful to the Almighty God for showering us with the rain, but after more than a week of the inclement weather, if you’re like me, you might just want to enjoy the sunshine again.
We’ve seen the impact the weather had on the inaugural Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic that drenched the Ocean Club Golf Course on Paradise, watering the 72-hole four-day competition down to 36-holes over three days, but interestingly, the exhibition match between the Tottenham Hotspur and the Jamaican national team, “Reggae Boyz,” wasn’t affected at all.
While it was good to see the two teams clash in an historic event that christened the new Thomas A Robinson National Stadium with the first major international event outside of the track and field arena, there was just as much fanfare for the 144 competitors that competed in the first LPGA to be staged in the Caribbean.
Although there was no indication of any such further exhibition matches to take place in the future, the National Sports Authority’s chairman Leroy Archer said they have already had inquiries from a number of other England-based soccer teams interested in coming to the Bahamas to train as a result of the visit by the Premier League’s Tottenham.
And even though everybody, including host Atlantis crew, the Bahamas Government and organisers, all chipped in to salvage what was left of the rain-soaked course, tournament director Matt Truax said they are definitely looking at bringing the second version of the classic, which ended up exceeding the $1.9 million budget, back to Paradise Island in 2014.
The re-configuration of the tournament may have been a blessing in disguise for Ilhee Lee, a petite third-year professional on the LPGA Tour, who held steady while her challengers were blown away by the strong winds and claimed a two-stroke victory over Irene Cho for her first win as an LPGA professional.
Both players indicated that there was no way that they were going to let the weather dampen their spirits as they pocketed $195,000 and $120,353 respectively out of the $1,300,000 prize money offered.
Lee said it was tough to play under the conditions, but it was worth it all being crowned the champion.
“I live in Dallas and the weather is always like this,” said the native of Seoul, South Korea. “So I just went out and played my best.”
For Cho, a resident of La Habra, California, there was just one word to sum up her success - patient.
“It was tough out there, but I just had to be patient,” said the former figure skater who also had her best showing on the circuit. “I knew I had the ability to play under the conditions. I think Ilhee Lee also deserves a lot of credit because she played extremely well too.”
The two events came on the heels of the first Chris Brown Bahamas Invitational that brought a large number of international track and field athletes to our shores in a prelude of the IAAF World Championships in Athletics in Moscow, Russia, in August.
It’s just a pity that this year, the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA), which is embroiled in an executive board dispute, will be taking their National Open Track and Field Championships back to the Grand Bahama Sports Complex June 21-22.
With the new stadium now in full operation, I’m sure those athletes that didn’t get a chance to compete in the CBBI would have liked to have been afforded the opportunity to compete there in the Nationals.
But even that may not have been realistic as the BAAA has opted not to compete in the new facility because of the fees being imposed by the NSA.
Instead, the BAAA has remained in the original TAR Stadium where they will be holding their Age Group Championships and trials this weekend for the Central American and Caribbean Age Group Championships in Curacao, June 29-30.
Instead of staging the event on Friday and Saturday, they have changed the dates to Saturday and Sunday because of the inclement weather.
This weekend, the New Providence Softball Association is also hoping to get back into full swing when they will resume play in their regular season after being forced to postpone a series of games because of the rain and wind. The league has a double header scheduled for 7pm Saturday.
So instead of saying weather permitting, the nursery rhyme: Rain rain go away, come back another day, might just be more appropriate for our local sporting scene.
On behalf of The Tribune Sports Department, I wish to offer our deepest condolences to the family of the late Steven Dillet. I personally met him when he came from Grand Bahama with a contingent of players to participate in the Bahamas Lawn Tennis Association’s junior tournament at the National Tennis Center. Included on the team were Dillet’s daughter Shari and son, Vijay. They both made their impact and as was the case with many parents who accompanied their children, Dillet was right there rooting for them.
More importantly, Dillet served as the voice for the Grand Bahama players, having served as a past president of the Grand Bahama Tennis Association. He would have normally been seen around the NTC agitating for those players who couldn’t speak for themselves. Dillet, a hard- working executive and father figure for the sport, will be sorely missed. May his soul rest in peace.