By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
WHEN the third edition of the IAAF/BTC World Relays Bahamas 2017 comes to the Thomas A Robinson National Stadium later this month, the Bahamas will assemble a 31-member team, focusing primarily on the men and women 4 x 100 and 4 x 400 metre relays.
BAAAs president Rosamunde Carey said they originally had a list of more than 40 competitors who had expressed an interest in competing, but they had to reduce the numbers after some were committed to their colleges and universities in the United States.
“We do believe that we will have a good team,” Carey summed up.
The goal, according to team manager Philippa Willie, is to ensure that the Bahamas puts itself in the best position before the home crowd at Thomas A Robinson National Stadium to qualify for the IAAF World Championships in August in London, England.
Willie, however, is not ruling out the possibility of the Bahamas fielding teams in the 4 x 200m. She also noted that the Bahamas would certainly contest the newly implemented mixed 4 x 400m relay that will close out this year’s two-day programme.
“We have ratified a team of 31 athletes. Those team members will comprise the 4 x 1, 4 x 4 and we might have a 4 x 2. But the majority of the members will comprise the men and women 4 x 100 and 4 x 400m relays,” Willie said.
Named to the women’s team are the following:
Devine Parker, Jamicka McBride, V’Alonee Robinson, Wendira Moss, Rashan Brown, Brianna Bethel, Christine Amertil, TyNia Gaither, Shaunae Miller, Lanece Clarke, Kayla Carter, Anthonique Strachan and Tamara Myers.
Named to the men’s team are:
Andretti Bain, Chris Brown, Warren Fraser, Steven Gardiner, Adrian Griffith, Shavez Hart, Michael Mathieu, Ramon Miller, Blake Bartlett, Samson Colebrooke, Javan Martin, Ian Kerr, Robert Johnson, Demetrius Pinder, Stephen Newbold, Ashley Riley, Andre Colebrooke and Elroy McBridge.
“I’m excited about the team,” Willie said. “For the most part, I think we will have a successful 4 x 1 and 4 x 4. The 4 x 1 and the 4 x 4 are qualifiers for the World Championships in London.”
Fritz Grant will be the head coach of the team, assisted by Sidney Cartwright, Wendall Collie, John Ingraham, Rudolph Ferguson, Ravanno Ferguson and Cherishe Hollingsworth.
According to Willie, the BAAA intend to hold a relay camp that will begin on April 12 here at the stadium and she confirmed that the majority of the athletes have confirmed their participation.
BAAA’s president Rosamunde Carey said that while they have named Grand Bahamian Javon Martin, the top high school sprinter, to the team, he’s still nursing an injury sustained during the Test Run last month.
“He has to prove fitness next Saturday,” said Carey, who noted that he was exempted from competing in the final Carifta trials this weekend, but was named to the team heading to Curacao over the Ester holiday weekend after qualifying in the under-20 boys 100 and 200m.
“He just wanted to rest, but he will show fitness at 10 o’clock on Saturday in Freeport.”
Based on the performances turned in at the World Relays, Carey said the BAAA would be selecting a team that will represent the Bahamas at the Penn Relays Carnival, scheduled for the end of April. The team will be competing in the USA against the World 4 x 400m relays for men and women.
“We are hoping that we will be in the top eight here at the World Relays,” Carey said. “That same team will go to the Penn Relays with coach Grant and coach Cartwright and our understudy coach Ravanno Ferguson.”
The IAAF/BTC World Relays Bahamas 2017 is set for April 22-23 at the TAR National Stadium. The United States of America are the two-time defending champions of the Golden Baton, the award presented to the winning country.
In 2015 when the second addition was held, only the Bahamas men’s 4 x 400m team advanced to the final where they qualified for the Olympic Games in Rio de Janerio, Brazil. The women’s 4 x 400m had to wait for a last chance meet and the ban on Russia to get in.
Both the men and women 4 x 100m relay teams failed to get into the final in 2015 and missed out on the opportunity to qualify in any other events to go to Rio de Janeiro to compete.
The BAAA is hoping that the teams selected this year will advance to the finals and book their tickets to London.