By RENALDO DORSETT
TRACK and field season is approximately a month away and, as customary, the season will open with the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations’ Odd Distance Meet.
All set to be hosted on December 17 at the original Thomas A Robinson Stadium, the meet features a noon start time with an admission fee of $15 for adults and $7 for children.
Bahamian track and field athletes will begin their trek toward qualification in meets such as the CARIFTA Games in Curacao in April to the IAAF World Championships in London this August.
The Odd Distance Meet was introduced over 30 years ago and is now a staple in the BAAA programme with some significant performances.
In the Odd Distance meet, athletes are able to start their competitive season while participating in events which are unusual and different than their usual competitions.
Instead of competing in the traditional distances like the 100m or 200m, athletes will compete in either the 75m, 150m or 300m.
Instead of competing in the 400m or 800m athletes can participate in the 300m or 600m.
In the field events, athletes have to take limited approaches while concentrating on their styles.
Coaches take this opportunity to teach the proper techniques of the events and, in some cases, allow athletes to test and stretch their limits by running over-distance.
The meet is always exciting with numerous athletes participating. With some junior athletes moving to the senior ranks, it is a time when some of the Under-17 move up to the Under-20 Division and test themselves.
Many of the top junior athletes from last year will still be eligible for junior competition this year and the public looks forward to seeing them open their competitive season.
The meet is highly anticipated because it is the first competition on the track after months of preparation.
For both the coaches and athletes, it’s used as a measuring stick to see how their off-season has progressed and sets the tone for the remainder of the year.
More than 400 athletes registered to compete in last year’s meet, which also included athletes from the Family Islands.