By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
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.
It’s time to pull the curtain down on 2015 and usher in 2016.
My how time flies.
As we flip back the pages of the past 12 months, we remember some of the more notable achievements like the repeat championship performance of our CARIFTA swim team, the improvement of the CARIFTA track team, the return of the IAAF World Relays for the second consecutive year, the cancellation of the Chris Brown Invitational, the Pan American Games with the dominating performance of Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace and the return of Leevan ‘Superman’ Sands as well as the IAAF World Championships and the stellar feat by Shaunae Miller and Jeffery Gibson, just to name a few and the triumph of our bodybuilders at the CAC Championships.
Over the past year, we’ve seen a shift in the administration of some of our sporting bodies like Joel Stubbs replacing Danny Sumner as president of the Bahamas Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation. And Teddy Sweeting moving up from secretary general to take over from Craig ‘Salty’ Kemp as president of the Bahamas Baseball Federation and most notably, former treasurer Rosamunde Carey - the first female elected as president of the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations - removing Mike Sands from office.
And we will not close out 2015 without saying farewell to some of our sports men and women who left us like Reno Brown, Collins ‘Troppy’ Knowles, Sean Neville, De’Yanza Burrows, Tamaz Thompson, Anthony Fisher, Keith Reid, Roscoe Hall, Gonzalo Caine, Bernard Livingstone Bostwick, Rev Enoch Backford II, Arlington Stuart and most recently DeVince Smith.
There have been quite a number of significant accomplishments, both locally and internationally, on and off the field of play.
Of course, stacked in our faces as we leave the past accomplishments, failures, triumphs and disappointments behind us, is the allegation of the Bahamas being cited as a venue for the supply of illegal drugs to sporting personalities, as told by former American world 100 metre record holder Tim Montgomery in an Al Jazeera’s Investigation Unit broadcast on Sunday in a report entitled “The Dark Side - Secrets Of The Sports Dopers.”
Whether or not all or none of the allegations are true, the truth of the matter is it’s going to call for some turbulence as we get set to venture into the unexpected in 2016.
This is one of those occurrences where we just have to wait and see what comes out of the final investigation before we can cast any judgement. I’m not defending the doctors nor the athletes, but they have a right to tell their sides of the story and I’m sure in due time, the muddy picture will be cleared up for all to see.
I predict that the Bahamas will regain its integrity as it heads into the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Before we get to the world’s biggest sporting spectacular in August, I predict that Tureano ‘Reno’ Johnson will get himself a world title shot in professional boxing. And Antoan Richardson will recover properly from his surgery and return to Major League Baseball.
In addition, Grand Bahamians Buddy Hield and Jonquel Jones will come though with some pretty decent accolades at the end of their collegiate careers and will be highly drafted into the National Basketball Association and the Women’s National Basketball Association respectively.
Once again, the Bahamas will be graced with a number of international stars competing here, starting with the Pure Silk Ladies Professional Golf Tournament at the end of January at the Ocean Golf Club on Paradise and including the Chris Brown Bahamas Invitational that is scheduled to take place in May at the new Thomas A Robinson National Stadium.
I predict that the Bahamas Olympic Committee, headed by Wellington Miller, will be kept busy as they prepare to secure berths for a number of athletes representing swimming, boxing and athletics in Rio. It’s a pity that we still won’t have a team sport included, but look for both the men and women’s national basketball teams as well as the volleyball teams to make some inroads.
It’s still early, but I predict that the Bahamas national anthem will be played at the Olympic Games and the Bahamas will once again win the battle of “per capita,” based on the amount of medals that will be collected. I won’t, however, make any predictions just yet on who exactly will be on the dais to receive their medals and in which sporting discipline.
Before we blink, we will be in 2016, so let’s get ready for another banner year for the Bahamas. Happy New Year.