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Youth And Experience To Make Up World Relays Team

By BRENT STUBBS

Senior Sports Reporter

bstubbs@tribunemedia.net

A mixture of veteran and youthful athletes will comprise of the pools for Team Bahamas men and women’s 4x100, 4x200 and 4x400 metres for the International Amateur Athletic Federation’s inaugural World Relays.

Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA) president Mike Sands announced the list of athletes who will be selected for the final selection of six in each event by Monday’s official deadline for all teams participating in the May 24-25 global meet at the new Thomas A Robinson National Stadium.

Sands made the announcement on Thursday at Arawak Cay where a pep rally was held following a motorcade through the streets of New Providence. While none of the athletes named were available, there were athletes representing some of the teams that will compete in the High School Relays this weekend as the BAAA holds a “Test Run” meet at the stadium.

The “Test Run” is slated to get started 6pm tonight and continue 3pm Saturday as athletes from the various high schools around the Bahamas will be vying for spots in the finals of the boys and girls 4x100, 4x200, 4x400 metres and sprint medley relays that will be ran just before the start of the World Relays.

“You are allowed a maximum of six persons per team and so what we have done is we have identified all of our athletes,” Sands said. “To ensure that we give everyone the best opportunity to select our best team, we have decided to look at the athletes available for our team.

“Bear in mind, we have some young persons who are ready to take up the mantle and continue the tradition that was started by the ‘Golden Girls’ and the ‘Golden Knights.

With athletes competing in a meet in Guadeloupe this weekend, Sands said the IAAF has given the countries until Monday to submit the names of their teams, so as to allow them a chance to take a further look at the athletes before their final selection is made.

As for Team Bahamas, Sands said Rupert Gardiner and Fritz Grant, who have been selected as the coaches for the teams, will get a chance to meet with the athletes.

Both Gardiner and Grant were present and they indicated that they are looking forward to working with the athletes. The BAAA is looking at hosting the athletes in a training camp, either here in New Providence or in Grand Bahama. That decision will also be made by the end of the weekend.

“The team will be well put together,” said Gardiner, who is coming off an appearance at the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Sopot, Poland, where Chris Brown won a silver medal and Shaunae Miller got a bronze in the 400 metres.

“We have some experienced coaches who have been together before. We won the CAC Relays back-to-back when it was held here. So when we put this team together, it’s going to be very strong. Since we are home, the public will see a very good performance from all of our teams. The team is going to be good.”

Grant, on the other hand, said it’s a great opportunity for him to work with Gardiner at the World Relays.

“I feel very privileged and I know that we will put together a great team for the upcoming World Relays,” he said. “We expect to put together the best possible team in both the men and women because based on the individual performances that our athletes have turned in so far, the speed component is there.

“A lot of the younger sprinters have been performing very well. I’ve been tracking their performances in the season so far. So the team is to get the team chemistry together and to make sure that the team is executing in all phrases of the races, especially with the exchange zones. Once you come together and gel together, we will be alright.”

Grant said Team Bahamas will have the home court advantage, so they are really looking forward to the Bahamian people coming out and showing them their support and hopefully that will help them to get over the hump. The key, according to Grant, is to make the final and once they do, anyrthing is possible.

The master of ceremonies for the pep rally was Demetrius, the Karaoke King. The event got started with a performance form the St John’s College dancers. Then ‘Golden Girl’ Pauline Davis-Thompson, the IAAF council woman, gave a spirited speech encouraging the Bahamian people to come out in their Bahamian colours to show their support for Team Bahamas.

Daniel Johnson, Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, did the final speech as he charged Team Bahamas and the Bahamian public to get ready to take on the world.

• HERE’S a look at the athletes that are being considered for Team Bahamas for the IAAF’s inaugural World Relays, scheduled for May 24-25 at the new Thomas A Robinson National Stadium.

The final selection will be made over the weekend before the team is submitted to the IAAF by Monday’s deadline.

As for Team Bahamas, Sands said Rupert Gardiner and Fritz Grant, who have been selected as the coaches for the teams, will get a chance to meet with the athletes.

Athletes for women’s 4 x 100 and 4 x 200 metres pools:

Sheniqua ‘Q’ Ferguson, Shaunae Miller, Cache Armbrister, Anthonique Strachan, V’Alonee Robinson, Tynia Gaitor, Tayla Carter, Nivea Smith, Kianna Albury, Debbie Ferguson, Lanece Clarke and Rashan Brown.

Athletes women’s 4 x 400 metres pool:

Shaunae Miller, Katrina Seymour, Rashan Brown, Miriam Byfield, Amara Jones, Shekeitha Henfield. Cortrell Martin, Shaquania Dorsett and Christine Amertil.

Athletes men’s 4 x 100 and 4 x 200 metres relay pools:

Warren Fraser, Adrian Griffith, Derrick Atkins, Blake Bartlett, Jamial Rolle, Johnathon Farquharson, Stephen ‘Dirty’ Newbold, Steven Gardiner, Alonzo Russell, Shavez Hart, Kendrick Hanna and Trevorvano Mackey.

Athletes for men’s 4 x 400 metre relay pool:

Chris ‘Fireman’ Brown, Demetrius Pinder, Ramon Miller, Michael Mathieu, LaToy Williams, Wesley Neymour, Andretti Bain and Jeffery Gibson.

Coaches: Rupert Gardiner and Fritz Grant.

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