By 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 local sports, highlighting the highs and the lows, the thrills and the spills and the successes and failures.
THE WEEK THAT WAS
THE Blue Marlin Track Classic on Independence Day served as the last chance for the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations to get all of its relay teams positioned to get a lane for the 2016 Olympic Games.
At the end of Sunday’s meet in the Thomas A Robinson National Stadium, only the women’s 4 x 400m team was able to close in joining the men's 4 x 400m team on the trip to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to compete in the games from August 5-21.
They earned the 16th and final spot after only eight places were left because the top eight spots in all of the relays went to the finalists of the second IAAF World Relays here at the Thomas A Robinson Stadium last year.
The IAAF, the governing body of the sport, released their list of top performances in the relay on Wednesday and although they are under suspension for a doping violation by various athletes from their country, Russia is occupying the 10th spot.
They are awaiting a decision by the Court of Arbitration to determine whether or not their suspension will be lifted before a final decision is made on the fate of the women’s relay team.
Let me just say for the record, there’s no need for any other media house to refute any reports posted in The Tribune. I think we are capable of doing that.
In the case of the women’s 4 x 400m relay and reports that the women’s 4 x 400m relay team had not qualified, based on their finish on Sunday and their performance at the IAAF World Championships in Beijing, China, the Bahamas has accumulated an aggregated time to move into the 16th spot.
The Russians are sitting on the list with an asterisk behind their name, indicating that they were entered without prejudice, conditional on CAS ruling.
That means that Russia could not make the trek to Rio and the Bahamas will be in, just as Japan could clinch their berth in the men’s 4 x 400m where Russia is listed at No.11.
So rather than saying that they have not qualified, I think we should wait until the proceedings are complete. In the meantime, I think the ladies should be commended for the gallant effort in getting to the position that they achieved.
When one considers that there were numerous opportunities for the Bahamas to qualify, not just the women’s 4 x 400m, but both the men and women 4 x 100m, I think the last minute push on Sunday was not sufficient.
I commend the BAAA and the coaching staff for putting the relay camp together over the few days leading up to the meet. Imagine if a more concerted effort was done after the teams failed to qualify at the World Relays.
Normally, the Bahamas send teams to compete in the Penn Relays in Philadelphia to participate in the showdown dubbed: the USA versus the World. That didn’t happen.
There were at least two meets in Jamaica where I’m sure if more emphasis was placed on it, the relays could have been included with the possibility of some other countries joining in.
I just wish to reiterate for the record that I still felt that if the United States of America could come to the Bahamas fully loaded with all of their teams to qualify at the World Relays, why didn’t we ensure that we put together the best teams possible to qualify as well.
I know there are some personal issues, injuries and collegiate obligations that prevented that from happening. But there’s no excuse when the meet is in your backyard that a more concerted effort is not made from all parties concerned.
There’s no reason why, with all of the talent that have been exhibited and the amount of athletes on subvention by the Bahamas Government, we should not have qualified these teams for Rio, like the men's 4 x 400m that earned their berth with a second place finish behind the USA at the World Relays.
THE WEEK AHEAD
It’s going to be an interesting week as the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture and the National Sports Authority unveils the new look inside the Kendal GL Isaacs Gymnasium on Sunday when a gospel concert will take place at 5pm.
Over the last few months, the first phase of the renovation of the stadium was taking place with the old floor being replaced and other cosmetic work that took place.
The first sporting event, however, is expected to be staged next weekend when the 29th Jeff Rodgers Summer Basketball Camp hosts some of the top players from the National Basketball Association, including Grand Bahamian Chavanno ‘Buddy’ Hield, the sixth pick in the recent draft by the New Orleans Pelicans.
Also next week, it’s expected that the BOC will officially name its team heading to Rio for the Olympics. There are a lot of speculations and some uneasiness over the long wait.
Hopefully, it will be worth the wait.