By BRENT STUBBS
IT IS 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
I don’t want to make it seem as if I have a personal vendetta against the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations as they are the focus of my attention for the second consecutive week.
But again, I have to give them their props for another decision that was made, this time in their announcement that the focus for Team Bahamas at the third edition of the IAAF/BTC World Relays Bahamas 2017 will be the men and women 4 x 100 and 4 x 400 metre relays.
In selecting a 31-member team to represent the country at the Thomas A Robinson National Stadium April 22-23, the BAAA confirmed that they have gotten the commitment from the athletes to compete in those four events, which serves as the qualifier for the IAAF World Championships in London, England in August. It seems as if the BAAA has learned its lesson from the second edition in 2015 when only the men’s 4 x 400m was able to get into the final and booked their ticket to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The team went on to win a bronze medal behind the United States and Jamaica.
At the same time, it was disheartening that the Bahamas failed to advance the other three relay teams to the final to join the men in 2015.
It came down to a last minute ditch by the women’s 4 x 400m team, coupled with the banning of Russia, to clinch the last of the 16 spots in Brazil where they missed making the final, but produced a national record in the semi-final.
This year, the BAAA indicated that they will only contest the 4 x 100 and 4 x 400m relays. But in announcing the team, officials said there is a possibility that they could submit a 4 x 200m team.
There was no argument over the latter, but already there are some who have expressed their desire for the Bahamas to contest the newly implemented mixed 4 x 400m relay.
It seems as if there may be some contention in the relay camp that is set to start on April 14. But I think all of the athletes should understand the nature of what is at stake. We should be more concerned about qualifying the teams for the World Championships before they can concentrate on the fun event in the mixed relay that will close out the two-day competition.
No doubt it will probably be the only time that they get to compete in such an event, as it’s not a relay that is normally contested in the major competition.
But the country should come first and that should mean that the focus should be on advancing the teams to the World Championships where we could end up giving more athletes the opportunity to compete on the sport’s biggest stage outside of the Olympics, the ultimate sporting experience.
THE WEEK AHEAD
The Carifta fever is finally here. Let the games begin.
After months of preparation, the Bahamas Judo Federation and the Bahamas Swimming Federation can now have a sigh of relief as the two organisations will be in the spotlight as their respective junior Caribbean competition gets underway this weekend.
While the BAAA will not be taking their 65-member team to Curacao until Thursday for their track and field competition over the Easter holiday weekend, the BJF and the BSF will be looking for the support of the Bahamian public as they host their regional counterparts.
The Queen Elizabeth Sports Centre will be buzzing with activities as the water polo segment of the BTC Carifta Swimming Championships splash in the Betty Kelly Kenning Swim Complex today and at the same time at the Kendal Isaacs Gymnasium, the judo competition will commence.
Both organisations are hoping that the home crowd will be the determining factor in their bid to become this year’s champions. But they both admit that it’s not going to be easy, hence they have to put their best foot forward.
It’s the first time that the Bahamas will host both the water polo and judo competitions and the two organisations feel it will be a feather in their cap if they can pull off their respective victories.
For swimming, the water polo comes one week before their 36-member team will be in the pool over the Easter holiday in their quest to regain the title that they lost last year to Guadeloupe in Fort-de-France, Martinique.
It’s going to be a tall order, but the BSF is confident that they can accomplish the feat. And ask any of the swimmers and they will tell you that is their goal. They want to taste that thrill of victory as they did for two consecutive years in 2014 in Savaneta, Aruba and 2015 in Bridgetown, Barbados.
The only disappointment for the swimmers is the fact that the federation will not afford them the luxury of having their team bond together in the hotel with the other countries as the New Providence-based swimmers have to remain at home because of insufficient funding.
Only those Bahamian athletes coming from the Family Islands take advantage of the hotel accommodations.
I think it takes away the sting from the local swimmers, but it might just be the motivation that will make the difference in their bid to prove that they can do it even if they are in their home away from home.
I still don’t know how the federation didn’t secure the adequate funding to ensure that the swimmers are afforded the same type of amenities as their visitors for the games, considering the level of success the sport has achieved in recent times.
Let’s just hope that the same won’t be the situation for the Carifta track team in 2018 when they host the top regional track and field competition.