THE FINISH LINE: Bahamas ‘sporting destination’ of the Caribbean


Brent Stubbs


IT IS 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 local sports, highlighting the highs and the lows, the thrills and the spills and the successes and failures.


Welcome the world to what is fast becoming the “Sporting Destination” of the Caribbean - the Bahamas.

From the east where the Star Sailors League Finals is being held on Montagu Bay to Albany Golf Course out west where the Hero World Classic is being staged, there’s a whole heap of international athletes in town this week.

They’re here on the heels of a couple of major collegiate and high school basketball games played at both the Kendal Isaacs Gymnasium and in the makeshift gymnasium in the Atlantis ballroom where some of our rising national players were featured.

In addition to the international events, we pause to take a look at the Best of the Best Regatta that is being staged in Montagu Bay this week.

It’s the first venture of its kind by the Ministry of Agriculture and Local Government, under whose jurisdiction regattas fall under. The ministry must be commended for first hosting the event which has given all of the local sloops that won the various regattas this year to compete against each other in the A, B and C classes.

If you traverse the popular eastern foreshore, you would feel as if you are in a regatta site at one of the Family Islands as they have transformed the area in a festive setting.

Not only have they provided more space for tents and for spectators to move around onshore, which maybe due to some of the destruction left behind by Hurricane Matthew, but they have also provided some bleacher seats on the beach to enable persons to comfortably sit down and enjoy the action.

If that’s not enough, there’s two large television screens mounted overlooking the sea where the competition is shown up close and live by drones operated by a local Bahamian company.

It’s another first that has pushed the Best of the Best Regatta off to an impressive start to the long weekend.

If you haven’t had a chance to go to a Family Island for a regatta or a homecoming where the sailing boats compete, this is a prime opportunity for you to check out Montagu Bay.

There’s also a lot of good food to satisfy those who are hungry.

At the same time in Montagu, even though they are quite a distance away, you can get a glimpse of the final of the Star Sailors League. It’s a similar format as the Best of the Best Regatta where 50 of the world’s top sailors, representing 17 different countries, battle it out in a knock-out series where the winner will take away the lion-share of the $200,000 prize pot.

Sailors such as Diego Negri, Robert Scheidt, Mateusz, Augie Diaz, Eric Monnin, Jochen Schuemann and Tom Burton are just some that come to mind to think about when watching the action.

It’s a field of the best of the best Olympic and world champions competing until Saturday where they will join the local sailors on Sunday in a classic showdown as they combine to compete in the local sloops.

If the waters are not your fancy, Tiger Woods has assembled some of the top golfers in the world to join in his Hero World Challenge as he makes his return to professional golf after a 15-month hiatus because of an injury.

The journey to Albany Resort might be a little far fetched, but it’s worth the trip if you know or want to see players like Bubba Watson, Zack Johnson, Jordan Spieth, Dustin Johnson or Hideki Matsuyama - just to name a few - compete.

It’s a rare occasion that you will get to see so much talent in one place at the same time.

The Bahamas has certainly put itself in a brand of its own, similar to when we used the “sun, sand and sea” logo to attract tourists to our shores.

And with the new Andre Rodgers Baseball Stadium coming on stream next year along with the construction of the new beach facility at the foot of the Sidney Poitier Bridge on East Bay Street, there will be even more exciting things to come in the line of sports in the future.

Don’t forget to mark the date down - Friday, December 23 when the Popeyes Bahamas Bowl returns for another high-powered collegiate football game.

A press conference is being held today at Atlantis to introduce the visiting coaches from Eastern Michigan – Chris Creighton and Old Dominion – Bobby Wilder, who have been afforded the trip here to compete.

What a way to kick off the long Christmas holiday weekend.


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