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
The Bahamas Lawn Tennis Association completed its selection process for the men’s team that will represent the Bahamas at the first round of the American Zone II Davis Cup tie against Venezuela next month in Miami, Florida.
The last addition to the team was Justin Lunn, who along with Philip Major Jr have been named to replace collegians Baker Newman and Kevin Major Jr, who both are not available because of school commitments.
They join Spencer Newman and player/captain Marvin Rolle, who automatically made the team at the end of the Giorgio Baldacci National Open Challenge held in December at the National Tennis Centre.
Based on the list of players who tried out for the team, Major and Lunn are two capable replacements, depending on what role veteran Rolle wants them to fulfill when they play at the Doral Country Club from February 3-5.
This will be the second appearance on the team for both Newman and Major Jr and the first for Lunn. Despite his handicap, Lunn has defied the odds and has performed exceptionally well. He deserves an opportunity to represent the Bahamas at this high level of competition.
Whether or not he gets to play will probably depend on the performances of the other players in their best-of-five matches. But I’m sure that Lunn will be just as prepared to get on the court and help out, if given the opportunity, as he would supporting the others on the sidelines.
Things are starting to take shape for the construction of the new beach soccer facility at the foot of the Sir Sidney Poitier Bridge.
The Bahamas Football Association, headed by president Anton Sealey and the Local Organising Committee, headed by Jeff Beckles, took the media on a tour of the facilities to provide an update of work being done.
Cavalier Construction and the work crew have done a tremendous job so far on the $2.5 million facility that is being overseen by IBS Engineering.
There are some who argue that a portion of the 2,500 seating area has totally blocked the view of the scenic view of the water between the facility and the Atlantis resort on Paradise Island.
But there is nothing wrong with the facility. Persons who are sitting on the northern end and even those on both the eastern and western ends will also have a view of the water.
The facility is much needed considering the magnitude of what the BBF and FIFA intend to put on in May with the Beach Soccer World Cup coming to our shores. There will be a test run with the CONCACAF Qualifier next month.
The facility, which is expected to have an entrance coming from the Betty Cole Park, should be another magnificent facility to behold in the country. It has already been dubbed the most impressive in the region.
The test run will definitely prove the Bahamas’ capability of staging such a huge event when 16 teams from the Caribbean Football Union (CFU), including Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Guadeloupe, Guyana, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos Islands, US Virgin Islands; North America, comprising of Canada, Mexico, United States and Central American Football Union (UNCAF), featuring Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador and Panama are all expected to participate in the CONCACAF tournament.
RETURN OF WORLD
This is the year for some big things in the Bahamas and on the heels of that visit, the Local Organising Committee, headed by Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations’ president Rosamunde Carey and Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Dr Daniel Johnson, unveiled plans for the hosting of the third IAAF World Relays.
The event will take place in between the two beach soccer events and will be staged at the Thomas A Robinson National Stadium April 22-23.
Already there is a lot of hype in the air for the event, which will once again allow both the men and women finalists in the 4 x 100 and 4 x 400m relays to qualify for the IAAF World Championships to be held in August in London, England.
Hopefully, the BAAA will ensure that the Bahamas is just as prepared as the reigning champions United States of America, who came to the previous two relays with their A teams and qualified for the 2015 World Championships in Beijing, China and the Olympic Games last year in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
There’s no reason why, with the games being held here at home, we can’t assemble our best athletes to compete in those specialised events to book our ticket to London, rather than waiting for any last chance meet to get in.
We saw the effects of that last year when only the women’s 4 x 400m relay team got in from a last chance meet, coupled with the fact that the Russian Athletic Federation was serving a suspension for a widespread doping violation. The men’s 4 x 400m relay team was the only Bahamian team to qualify from the World Relays.
There is some additional excitement with the IAAF introducing a mixed 4 x 400m relay to the programme. The event will close out the two-day programme instead of the regular 4 x 400m relays.
It will be quite interesting to see how the BAAA fields their team for the relay with their new dimension to the programme.
USE OF THE NEW
The National Sports Authority, in preparation for the IAAF World Relays, has closed the original Thomas A Robinson National Stadium to repair the infield.
As a result, the NSA moved all of the activities, including the training sessions and all competitions at the Thomas A Robinson National Stadium.
In the process, the NSA has closed the infield to all activities in their bid to allow the new surface to be placed down.
The NSA moved all of the throwing events to the University of the Bahamas playing field where some throwing events have been held in the past and produced some outstanding results.
There’s a big argument among the coaches, especially those who are responsible for the throwers, as to why they can’t be allowed to use the infield for throwing events that they feel will not have any drastic effect.
But if Saturday’s T-Bird Flyers Track Classic was any indication, you could probably understand why the NSA has taken such a stance.
Athletes were busy walking up and down on the pavement even when they were not competing.
Let’s hope that there is a little more supervision of the athletes this weekend when the Road Runners Track Classic is staged.
It will be a pity if the NSA has to put in some more restrictions on the athletes for the use of the stadium. This is indeed the national stadium and some law and order has to be established in order to properly take care of the facility.
Note: There is a video recording making the rounds on social media of a fight at the stadium reportedly between a coach and a NSA employee. Efforts to ascertain exactly what happened proved fruitless, but obviously this type of behaviour should not be tolorated, especially as the incident happened in plain view of athletes and parents.
This is the national stadium so we really don’t need this type of behaviour because it could have an effect on the use of the facility moving forward.