By RENALDO DORSETT
THE Bahamas will field a 36-member roster, representing five disciplines, at the 17th Pan American Games in Toronto, Canada, July 10-26.
The “BTC Pan Am Games team” was revealed yesterday by the Bahamas Olympic Committee and its various member federations.
Wellington Miller, president of the BOC, said expectations loom large for the team.
“The team that is going to Toronto, we believe that this is a good team. Looking at the competition, times from other athletes and their performances, we believe the Bahamas will surely be represented well. The benefits will be shown from all the hard work of the coaches and athletes of the various federations who have been preparing,” he said. “Toronto is a great city, the living accommodations are excellent and the fields of play are up to par. For persons going for the first time they can look forward to a very organised event.”
The Bahamas will compete in core sports - athletics, swimming, boxing, tennis and a new addition, gymnastics.
“We are very proud that a new discipline has been added to these sports going off to represent the Bahamas. Sometime ago the BOC decided to put its weight behind the smaller sports which may not get as much attention,” Miller said. “Today is a reality and it is a proud day for us to have a gymnast on this team. That is very important to us and I give my congratulations to the president of the federation and the executives, because we know the long road it took to get to this point. It shows that sports are growing in the Bahamas and we in the BOC are prepared to go into the inner cities and get these athletes. In the coming games we will be adding more sports, more disciplines as we find more ways for young people to contribute.”
Barbara Thompson, president of the Bahamas Gymnastics Federation, said it will be a proud moment for the federation and the country when Kianna Dean competes. “She will represent the Bahamas with great pride and accomplishment. We are very proud of Kianna Dean and also Simone Hall, the other gymnast that was recently injured,” Thompson said.
“We appreciate this opportunity and I think it will really raise the sport of gymnastics in the country, which is something we are trying to get more children to do to get involved and raise the awareness and activity.”
The boxing team will field a “feel-good” story of its own, both with the fighters in the ring and their coaching staff in the corner.
The three-member team of Carl Hield, Rashield Williams and Kieshno Major will be coached by Andre Seymour and assisted by former elite pro boxer Valentino Knowles, the last Bahamian to win a boxing medal at the Pan Am Games.
“This is a great opportunity with three boxers. At the last Pan Am Games we only had one. Believe me, we are ready. We are not just going to compete, we are going down there to win medals,” Seymour said. “Right after the Pan Am Games we shift to Venezuela to focus on qualification for the World Championships and the Continental Championships.”
Knowles, who won silver at the 2011 Pan Am Games in Guadalajara, Mexico, suffered a near fatal shooting incident that sidelined him last year.
Now he is making his contribution as a coach. “I’m excited and glad to be a part of this after being a part of the last games in Guadalajara,” he said. “I have recently returned from my incident and now I am working with the fighters at the gym. They are doing really well and I look forward to taking them into this games and looking for them to at least get a silver or higher, take them as far as I have been.”
The swimming corps will be lead by Olympian Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace and junior sensation Joanna Evans.
Swimming team manager Kathryn Dillete said the team projects Vanderpool-Wallace to medal, but also for other swimmers to achieve qualifying standards for further events this year.
“They all had to obtain the ‘A’ qualifying times. The qualifying time procedure was very rigid and we are hoping that we will see our first individual podium this summer,” she said. “Following Pan Am we have three swimmers qualified for the FINA World Championships and we are hoping that some of the Pan Am swims can qualify for that. There is also the FINA Youth World Championships and the Commonwealth Youth Games. So we are looking forward to a very busy summer and we are expecting some great results.”
Athletics will comprise the largest segment of the team with its 26 members, coached by Rudy Ferguson.
“This team is a very strong team,” he said. “We have established an athletics brand in the world and we intend to maintain that standard as we go to Toronto. We are very strong and we expect an exceptional performance at these games.”
The team will be led by a number of national champions, including sprint double champion Shavez Hart, Anthonique Strachan, newly minted 100m hurdles record holder and Adanaca Brown.
Approximately 6,135 athletes from 41 nations are expected to participate in 36 sports. The 2015 Pan American Games will become the third Pan American Games hosted by Canada and the first by the province of Ontario. Previously, Canada hosted the 1967 Pan American Games and the 1999 Pan American Games, both in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
The Bahamas won a total of three medals at the 2011 Pan Am Games in Guadalajara - Donald Thomas with a gold in the high jump, Knowles’ aforementioned silver in light welterweight boxing and Ramon Miller with bronze in the men’s 400m. Miller will be the only member of the trio to compete at this year’s event.
BTC Pan AM Games Team
Shavez Hart (100m, 200m, 4x100m)
Jonathan Farquharson (100m, 4x100m)
Elroy McBride (200m, 4x100m)
LaToy Williams (400m, 4x400m)
Michael Mathieu 400m, 4x400m)
Jeffrey Gibson (400mH, 4x400m)
Ryan Ingraham (High Jump)
Teray Smith (4x100m)
Warren Fraser (4x100m)
Ramon Miller (4x400m)
Alonzo Russell (4x400m)
Andretti Bain (4x400m)
Adanaca Brown (100m, 100mH, 4x100m)
Anthonique Strachan 200m 4x100m)
Sheniqua Ferguson 200m (4x100m)
Lanece Clarke (400m, 4x400m)
Bianca Stuart (Long Jump)
Anthonique Strachan (4x100m)
Devynne Charlton (4x100m)
Tayla Carter (4x100m)
Carmeisha Cox (4x100m)
Christine Amertil (4x400m)
Katrina Seymour (4x400m)
Shakeitha Henfield (4x400m)
Miriam Byfield (4x400m)
Raymond Higgs (Long Jump)
Latario Collie (Triple Jump)
Trevor Barry (High Jump)
Tamara Myers (Triple Jump)
Coach: Rudy Ferguson
Assistant Coach/Relay Coordinator: Rupert Gardiner
Manager: Ralph McKinney
Head Coach: Andre Seymour
Assistant Coach: Valentino Knowles
Head Coach: Trevor Ramsey
Head Coach: Andrew Loveitt
Manager: Kathryn Dillete
Head Coach: Ricardo Demeritte
Chef de Mission - Robert Butler
Deputy Chef - Clarence Rolle
Team Manager - Cora Hepburn
Dr. Ricky Davis
Dr. Jennifer Davis
Dr. Philip Claussen,