By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
THE Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations is still looking for more athletes to sign up to compete in the final trials for the CARIFTA Games, especially in the newly created under-20 girls’ division.
According to BAAA president Mike Sands, registration for the trials this weekend has been extended to 3pm today so as to give those athletes who have not yet signed up to do so, especially in the under-20 girls’ division where there is only 20 athletes entered.
The orginisers of CARIFTA have adjusted their requirements for participation in the region’s biggest junior track and field championship to confine with the governing International Amateur Athletic Federation (IAAF).
No longer will there be the under-27 and under-19 divisions, which was the norm for Carifta since its inception. Instead, athletes will have to move up to compete in the under-18 and under-20 divisions.
Athletes still wishing to register can submit their forms to either Sands or Trevor Moss at the new Thomas A Robinson National Stadium by 3pm today.
The trials is slated to get started 5pm Friday and continue 1pm Saturday. Immediately following the trials, the BAAA will hold its ratification meeting on Sunday before the team is officially announced.
In a letter to the coaches, Sands expressed his grave concern over the ‘limited’ number of athletes that have registered for the upcoming Carifta trials which stands at 325.
“Of particular concern to me is the U-20 girls division which stands at a mere 20 total registered athletes,” Sands said. “Whilst we are all acutely aware that our U-20 girls’ division has been the traditionally weak area, this concern comes against the backdrop of the U-20 girls’ participation in recently held club meets which saw a range from 27-50 U-20 girls participating in those meets for a combined average of 41 U-20 girls per meet.”
Additionally, Sands said the combined number of U-20 girls at the Anglican Festival, the Bahamas Association of Independent Secondary Schools (BAISS) and the Government Secondary Schools Sports Association (GSSSA) had a total of 217 U-20 girls participants ranging from 45-104 U-20 girls participating in those meets for a combined average of 72 U-20 girls per meet.
“Please note however that these numbers do not necessarily reflect the true picture in that there have been instances thus far this season where several U-18 girls competed in the U-20 division,” Sands said.
“I am aware that participation in the Carifta trials is based on individual registration and as such it is very easy to acknowledge that it is not (my) your responsibility as was so unfortunately stated by a member of the coaching fraternity.
“Notwithstanding however, I believe we will all no doubt agree that the vast majority of our junior athletes aspire to be selected to a Carifta team and as such we as coaches and administrators should make every effort to encourage and support their participation to have such an opportunity.”
In concurrence with the meet management and technical/meet director, it was agreed to extend the entry deadline until 3pm today at the new national stadium to either Sands or Trevor Moss.
Further, it was agreed that in addition to the airfare reimbursement for any Family Island and Grand Bahama athletes selected to the team, the registration fee of $20 will be reimbursed to all athletes that are selected to the Carifta team.
“It should be noted that whilst this position being taken in no way condones the acceptance of late or extended registration, but rather is based entirely on the extenuating circumstances we presently face,” Sands said.
“I therefore, on behalf of your/our athletes, respectfully urge all of you to take advantage of this opportunity and ensure that all eligible athletes that comes under your tutelage, particularly as it relates to our U-20 girls, register by the extended deadline.”