THE FINISH LINE: ‘We wish all of the boxers the very best’ on their quest for Olympic qualification


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.

The Week That Was

THE Amateur Boxing Association of the Bahamas made a move that was anticipated for quite some time. Two additional boxers were added to the national programme as the Strikers Boxing Club and their coach Ronn Rodgers is starting to get the recognition they deserve.

Rodgers, a former amateur boxer turned coach, has been named to the national team as an assistant to head coach Andre Seymour. They will be joined by Valentino Knowles as they lead the team to the first Olympic qualifier in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Additionally, Israel Johnson, a 19-year-old light heavyweight and Davon Hamilton, a 18-year-old heavyweight, have been named to the team that will include bantamweight Ronald Woodside (19), light welterweight Rashield Williams (26), welterweight Carl Hield (29) and super heavyweight Kieshno Major (31).

Since their formation, Rodgers and his wife Arlene have been pushing their boxers from the Strikers Boxing Club to the limit. They have even gotten them some international exposure competing in the United States and the Caribbean. But the Strikers Boxing Club were agitating for their boxers to get a chance to test their skills at the highest level.

They can’t get any higher than this in the amateur ranks. The trip to Argentina will be critical for the club as Rodgers will have a chance to prove to the critics that he has the ability to develop some top notch competitors to compete for the Bahamas at the international events.

It’s a quality team, including the majority of the top amateur boxers in the country. So we wish all of the boxers the very best and we hope that they will get a chance to qualify for the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in August. Only time will tell if all of the hard work and persistence pays off for the Strikers Boxing Club.

National High School Championships

The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology announced this week that the inaugural Bahamas National High School Basketball Championships will be held in Grand Bahama this weekend.

The five-day double elimination tournament was expected to begin yesterday and will wrap up on Monday with three divisions, inclusive of the Division 1 for the elite high school senior boys’ teams, the division II for the Family Island teams as well as the girls’ division.

I agree with coordinator Evon Wisdom that the event is long overdue and coming right on the heels of the prestigious Huge Campbell Basketball Classic. The tournament provides an opportunity for the teams to compete for a true national title. The Hugh Campbell should have been established that way and, in some cases, it was considered the national championship.

But it was an invitational tournament and, as such, not all of the top teams participated.

With the way the Bahamas National Tournament is set, it allows for the top teams, including the championship teams from the Grand Bahama Secondary School Athletic Association, the Bahamas Association of Independent Secondary Schools and the Government Secondary School Sports Association as well as the Family Islands to compete for the national title.

While the majority of the teams were making the trek to Grand Bahama, it’s not certain exactly who is there until the action gets underway.

However, looking at the list, notably absent is the St Augustine’s College Big Red Machine from the senior girls’ division. The Big Red Machine are the BAISS champions and should have been included in the field that is made up of the Doris Johnson Mystic Marlins, CR Walker Knights, Harbour Island, CV Bethel Stingrays, Bishop Michael Eldon Warriors and Tabernacle Falcons.

At least all of the top teams have been named in the senior boys group 1 that includes the Jack Hayward Wildcats, Sunland Stingers, Tabernacle Falcons, Anatol Rodgers Timberwolves, CI Gibson Rattlers, Doris Johnson Mystic Marlins, Queen’s College Comets, RM Bailey Pacers, CR Walker Knights, Jordan Prince William Falcons, Teleos Cherubims and CC Sweeting Cobras.

And unlike the Hugh Campbell set up, the Family Island teams from Central Abaco, Bimini, Exuma, Cat Island and San Salvador are all being placed in the division II where they will get a chance to compete on an even par with their respective teams.

It’s good to see that the organisers are putting the emphasis in the right direction by splitting the boys into two divisions to determine the champions. It would not be fair for the Family Island teams to be matched against the teams from New Providence and Grand Bahama, who have both the competition and the facilities in which to compete in on a regular basis. The Family Islands only get that type of competition whenever they come to New Providence to compete.

So if the tournament comes off and if all of the teams show up, the tournament could turn out to be a true representation of a national one.

It will be interesting to see how all of the champions will fear against each other and those teams who felt they should have been crowned champions, but fell short in the previous tournaments. 

While the tournament is just in its infancy stages, there is already some criticism about how it is set up. But before we get into all of the finger pointing and name calling, let’s give the organisers the opportunity to get the tournament off the ground first. It’s a bold initiative by Evon Wisdom, the sports officer in the Ministry of Education, but it’s one that can definitely become a major showcase on the local sporting calendar.  

It’s not at the stage of the Hugh Campbell Basketball Classic, but if it’s done properly, the national tournament could eventually get there. This could eventually become the Bahamas’ March Madness as both the boys and girls teams will be in the spotlight. 

The Week Ahead

While basketball will take focus in Grand Bahama, track and field will take centre stage here in New Providence as the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations hosts its final CARIFTA Trials at the Thomas A Robinson Track and Field Stadium. 

The trials will get underway 5pm today and wrap up after Saturday’s session which starts at noon. Following the trials, the BAAA will select, ratify and announce the team that will travel to Grenada over the Easter holiday weekend. The BAAA is hoping that the team will be able to improve on their 31 medals, including eight gold, that they accumulated last year in St Kitts and Nevis.

There are just under 20 athletes - the majority of whom are field competitors - who have already attained the qualifying standards. But in order to be selected to the team, the athletes will have to compete in the trials this weekend, unless they get an exemption in the case of those who are off to school and can’t get the time to come home.

The BAAA set a precedent last year when they only selected athletes who qualified to compete in individual events. The newly elected board, headed by president Rosamunde Carey, has indicated that they are going to stick to that policy. Athletes, however, will be selected to fill the spots wherever it is necessary to fill the spots on the relay team. 

That policy should make the decision an easy one for the BAAA as they look to field a quality and not quantity team to represent the country at the most prestigious junior track and field competition in the region. 

Let’s hope that the athletes show up and put their best foot forward to qualify for the team.


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