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 third version of the IAAF World Relays is fast approaching and already a stern warning has gone out to the top athletes to either come home and prepare for the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations’ training camp or turn in their Bahamas team uniform.
“If you have some athletes second guessing and wondering if they need to come, then don’t come,” said Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Dr Daniel Johnson during a press conference on Friday.
“Just give me back my uniform. Everyone must show up to play because we don’t have time for anything else. If you don’t want to represent the Bahamas, just give the uniform back.”
Johnson was making reference to a question poised during the press conference about what measures are being taken to ensure that the Bahamas has its best team assembled for the relays.
The relays are not just being staged in the Bahamas for the third time since its inception, but it provides an opportunity for the top eight teams in both the men and women 4 x 100 and 4 x400 metre relay teams to automatically qualify for the IAAF World Championships in London, England in August.
Johnson’s statement should be one that all athletes, with the exception of those that are in college and universities, should consider highly because there’s no better feeling than having the opportunity to compete at home against some high-level competition.
It’s not every day that the Bahamian public will get to see these athletes in person compete in what is more a fun event as there’s not as much pressure as competing in an individual event.
The world is coming and the majority of the countries have already indicated that they are coming with their best. The United States of America has won the Golden Baton - the award presented to the winning team - for the first two editions in 2014 and again in 2015.
The World Relays were not held in 2016 because of the Olympic year.
But if the Bahamas wants to seriously contest to make the World Relays a permanent home in the Bahamas, one of the things that will work in our favour is for the best that we have to compete.
At the same token, Johnson has indicated that they are looking forward to having the best coaching staff assembled to coach Team Bahamas, even if it means bringing in one of the Bahamian coaches, who are currently a part of the collegiate coaching chores in the United States.
Let’s just hope that it won’t be a difficult process in determining who will take up the mantle and make their contribution to the success of the team as we prepare for the trek towards London.
WHEN WILL WALK
OF FAME BE
Have you noticed that since the passing of Hurricane Matthew, the Walk of Fame at the entrance of the Thomas A Robinson National Stadium has not been repaired?
It’s so disheartening to pass and see so many of the photos of our sporting celebrities still not replaced since they were damaged in October when one considers the elaborate fanfare that the Bahamas government went through to mount the portraits.
As one passes, you can see some of the portraits still intact while there are just the frames standing for the others that are missing.
This certainly doesn’t look good for the country as we welcome hundreds of visitors via the taxi drivers and tour bus operators, who make the sporting facilities one of their stops.
Next month we will be bringing the world for the IAAF World Relays. Let’s not wait until the 11th hour before we address this issue.
Either we correct it now or take it down because we are doing an injustice to those athletes and the families of those who are deceased, considering that so much resources, time and energy was spent putting it together.
This is the time that all eyes are glued to the tubes to watch who will emerge as the champions of America’s collegiate basketball championships in both the men and women divisions.
But right here at home, we have our own version of the March Madness as the New Providence Basketball Association hosts their playoffs to determine who will represent the island in the Bahamas Basketball Federation’s National Championships.
If you haven’t been to the AF Adderley Gymnasium, you are missing some exciting competition between some very good teams vying for the top spot.
Games are being played Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays and have been keenly contested so far. If what was witnessed so far in the first round is any indication, the semi-finals between the top teams to come out of the John Archer and Vince Ferguson Divisions should be a humdinger.
So far the John Archer is set after the pennant winning Commonwealth Bank Giants and the Mr Ship It Freight Regulators lived up to their advanced billing and will be contending for the top spot.
The Vince Ferguson is still open with the Mail Boat Cybots and the Shockers taking 1-0 leads into game two of their respective series against the University of the Bahamas Mingoes and Rockets.
Come out and support your favourite teams. I promise you, it will be worth your while because you will get to see some of the top players in the country in action.