By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
THE deadline for inclusion on Team Bahamas for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in August is fast approaching.
The Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations is scheduled to hold its final trials during their National Track and Field Championships, scheduled for the weekend of June 24-25 at Thomas A Robinson Track and Field Stadium. However, the final submission by the Bahamas Olympic Committee to the International Amateur Athletic Federation and the International Olympic Committee for Team Bahamas is July 11.
One of the disciplines many are keeping their eyes on is the men’s high jump. For the first time, three competitors have already done the qualifying standard and another is knocking on the door. Only three spots will be available for the Bahamas, so it will come down to the final trials and who wants it the most when the event takes the spotlight at the Thomas A Robinson Track and Field Stadium.
Grand Bahamian Donald Thomas leads the pack. He posted 2.34 metres or 7-feet, 8-inches last year, but he posted a season’s best of 2.31m May 14 in Baie Mahault to place himself in a three-way tie for fifth place on the IAAF world leading performances.
Not too far behind is Jamal Wilson, who soared 2.30m (7-6 1/2) here at home on January 9 to qualify for his first World Indoor Championships. He is now sitting in eighth place as he continues his breakout year on the senior international scene.
And Trevor Barry is tied with 12 other competitors at 2.25m (7-4 1/2) after his leap in May 14 as well in Baie Mahault.
Last week, I incorrectly listed the late Ian Thompson for Barry in an article. But it should be noted that the two competitors reminded me so much of their demeanor that it was so hard not to think about the other when looking at their performances. I do apologise to the family of Thompson and even to Barry for making that mistake, but I could only picture the two when I look at the way they performed and the manner in which they conducted themselves on and off the field.
I know veteran coach Keith Parker has a lot to say when reflecting on the two competitors, whom he incidentally coached during their heydays at CC Sweeting Secondary High.
All I can humbly say is may Thompson rest in peace. Thanks so much for the memories.
As for the current crop of jumpers, Thomas is also the most decorated, following national record holder Troy Kemp. His mark of 2.38m (7-9 1/4), set in Nice, France on July 12, 1995 is still one of the most sought after records on the local scene.
Thomas, 2007 World champion in Daegu, South Korea, has come close with his 2.35m (7-8 1/2) in Salamanca, Spain on July 4, 2007, just ahead of Barry, who has a personal best of 2.32m (7-7 1/4) that he did in Daegu, South Korea on August 1, 2011 for the bronze at the World Championships.
Steven Wray, a representative at the IAAF World Championships in Helsinki, Finland in 1983, rounds out the top four with his PR of 2.31m (7-7) for his silver medal at the Commonwealth Games in Brisbane, Australia on October 7, 1982.
Although he has yet to soar over the Olympic qualifying height, Ryan Ingraham should not be counted out. The youngest member of the field at age 22 is off to a slow start, but coach James Rolle is confident that he will be ready for the trials.
Ingraham, the 2012 World Junior Championship bronze and the 2011 Pan American Junior Championship silver medallist, has a lifetime best of 2.30m (7-6 1/2) that he did in Edmonton, Canada in 2013. So only time will tell how well he will be prepared to compete with his arch-rivals when the showdown gets underway at the nationals.
Last year, Ingraham clinched the national title with Thomas second and Barry third, all clearing 2.28m (7-5 3/4). Wilson was fourth with 2.22m (7-3 1/4).
In the past, the focus at the nationals has been around the track with the field events taking a back seat. But this time around, the the high jump will definitely turn out to be the marquee event as there are only three spots available for the trip to Rio. Who will be the trio to represent the Bahamas? It will come down to who wants it more than the others as none of the high jumpers want to be left at home when the team travels at the end of July.
• The Tribune is following Team Bahamas in the build up to the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro and will be reporting from Brazil this summer. The ‘242 on the Road to Rio series’ will appear every Monday and Thursday. Comments and responses to firstname.lastname@example.org