CARIFTA: More concerted effort needed with local track coaches


Brent Stubbs

IT’S not how you start, nor how you get there. Most importantly, it’s how you finish.

• The Finish Line, a weekly column, seeks to comment on the state of affairs in the local sports scene, highlighting the highs and the lows, the thrills and the spills and the successes and failures.




I’m not sure whether the announcement that Usain Bolt is coming to town or the success at the CARIFTA Games was the biggest news this past week.

But over the Easter holiday weekend, Team Bahamas had a splendid showing in Barbados and St Kitts and Nevis.

Coming from the 30th version of the games in Barbados, the swimmers splashed their way to another championship feat as Team Bahamas repeated as champions by more than 100 points ahead of their nearest rivals, host Barbados. The final results had the Bahamas ahead 756.50, followed by Barbados with 642.50.

In the medal haul, Team Bahamas accumulated 54 medals, including 29 gold, 17 silver and eight bronze. Barbados, however, edged out the Bahamas in the gold rush with 30 as they added to 12 silver and 10 bronze for their total of 52.

The 36-member team’s performance was slightly better than Team Bahamas’ initial victory in Savaneta, Aruba where they amassed 736.50 points with 55 medals, inclusive of 23 gold, 22 silver and 10 bronze.

Joanna Evans, the Grand Bahamian sensation, missed out on duplicating her nine gold medal feat from last year when she captured six gold and two silver, inking her name in the record book in the 200m freestyle and the 400m IM. If that wasn’t enough, she was named the high point winner in the girls 15-17 division, joined by Lilly Higgs in the 13-14 division after she picked up five gold and a silver with  CARIFTA record in the 100m breaststroke.

Putting the icing on the cake, Evans also captured the gold in the 5-kilometre Open Water swim. She was joined in the extra event by William Russell with a silver in the boys 13-14 division.

There were a number of other outstanding performances to mention with names like Albury Higgs, Izaak Bastin, Devante Carey, N’Nhyn Fernander, Cecily Bowe and Ian Pinder all making their presence felt.

It’s still early, but with the way the swimmers are performing and the support the Bahamas Swimming Federation is getting from corporate sponsors, Team Bahamas could be developing a dynasty in the region.

Meanwhile at the Silver Jubilee CARIFTA track and field meet in St Kitts and Nevis, Team Bahamas redeemed itself by surging back into second place to end the four-day meet with 31 medals, inclusive of 8 gold, 13 silver and 10 bronze. It was vast improvement from last year’s dismal showing in Martinique where Team Bahamas only had 19 medals, including one gold, for seventh place.

The Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations’ decision to only take those athletes who attained the qualifying standards paid off big dividends. There was a lot more concentration on the field events in the lead up to the games and it resulted in 11 medals with two of the four gold coming from Charisma Taylor in the under-18 girls division.

Tamar Green and Deondre Rutherford were welcome surprises with their gold in the under-18 boys triple jump and discus respectively.

BAAA president Mike Sands said they are convinced that their selection process is the best way to go and in moving forward, they will have to concentrate on events where they didn’t have any participation in, highlighting the distance programme where the lone medal in an event over 400m came from Justin Pinder in the under-20 boys 800m with a silver.

So what was the difference in the one-year span to move from seventh place all the way back to second place? And what will it take for the Bahamas to close the gap on Jamaica, whose 41 gold medals almost double the 21 collected by the Bahamas, Trinidad & Tobago and Barbados, the next three powerhouses? A lot of work.

In the case of the Bahamas, I still feel that a more concerted effort is needed with the local coaches. Rather than concerning themselves about who has which athlete, maybe the focus should be placed on allowing the athletes to work with coaches who specialise in the various areas.

When it comes down to its national team, the Jamaican coaches are much more unified and they have been getting the results from their athletes. We probably have to take a page out of their book and make the necessary adjustment to what we are doing so that we can put a dent in their dominance.

It may take a little more to dethrone Jamaica, but after watching the swimmers surge to the front of the pack two years ago, anything is possible.



If you haven’t gotten your ticket yet, I would advise you to go on-line or visit the box office at the new Thomas A Robinson National Stadium to ensure that you won’t miss the excitement for the Bahamazing IAAF/BTC World Relays Bahamas 2015.

Usain Bolt, the fastest man in the world, is coming to compete in the event over the weekend of May 2-3 for Team Jamaica.

The 28-year-old Bolt said he heard about the exciting initial meet last year and he’s eager to come to town to help Jamaica continue their long and successful tradition in relays.

Bolt’s announcement is definitely a feather in the cap for the Local Organising Committee and the IAAF because you always want to provide the best possible match-ups for the public when they come out to patronise your event. I’m sure that those who attend will get their money’s worth.

Bolt has rejuvenated the sport since the era of Carl Lewis and Michael Johnson and he will definitely go down in history as one of the greatest humans to have ever competed in the sport. So it’s good to know that the Bahamas will have a place in his résumé when his career is completely done.



All season long the focus was on Buddy Hield, but it was Lourawls ‘Tum Tum’ Nairn Jr who had the best showing in the NCAA March Madness.

The 5-foot, 10-inch forward led the Michigan State Spartans to the Final Four, including a stunning 76-70 triumph over the Louisville Cardinals and Hield in the ‘Sweet 16’ round at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, New York. However, Nairn’s run was stopped by the Duke Blue Devils, who went on to pull off the championship title over the Wisconsin Badgers with a 68-63 decision.

Despite the loss, Nairn can take solace in the fact that he made the Final Four and he will be remembered for having the best nickname in the league.


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