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
TWO fledgling sporting bodies in the country took the spotlight as they reflected on the latest developments in their organisations.
Let’s digest a little bit of what occurred and the impact it should have on their organisations moving forward.
Kudos to president Rosamunde Carey and her executives for ratifying a new constitution that vice president Tonique Williams feels will govern the sport properly for another 50-plus years.
That’s a bit far-fetched but, coming into office, one of their mandates was the constitution reform and so one can only imagine the jubilation on the faces of Carey, Williams and the committee members, headed by chairman Carl Oliver.
We’re not prone to changes and so there were some who were continuous during the voting procedure. I’m told that there were some who abstained because they opposed certain aspects in the constitution.
I wasn’t privy to the points of contention, but I believe that as the governing body for the most effective sporting body in the country, the move is one that will put the organisation in the right perspective.
Three things that stood out for me were the appointment of a paid chief executive officer, who would be in charge of the day-to-day operations of the federation, the restructuring of the executive board with specific portfolios towards sharing the demanding responsibilities of managing the federation activities and the introduction of regional associations towards decentralising athletics by enabling focused development in more Family Islands.
Not only track and field, but all of our sporting bodies tend to figure that the focus of their sporting activities should be limited just to New Providence, much to the detriment of the Family Islands.
This new structure in the BAAA seems to mimic the concept of the BFA where they have a paid administrator who has a specific job to do other than the executive board, headed by Anton Sealey.
I believe that gone are the days when officers are elected on a voluntary basis in our core sports like athletics (track and field), swimming, soccer, baseball, basketball, volleyball and softball.
In athletics, more specifically in this scenario, if our elite athletes are given a subvention and coaches are being paid to operate their respective clubs, why can’t the same be done for an administrator?
The new constitution is definitely a step in the right direction and it would be left to be seen if some of the other sporting bodies would adopt the same to maximise their efforts to take their organisations to the next level.
From April 27 to May 7, the Bahamas Football Association will embark on its biggest venture when they host the 2017 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup.
From all indications, the BBF and the Local Organising Committee seem set to have the newly constructed stadium at the Malcolm Park Beach Soccer facility fully completed.
Bruce LaFleur, who oversees the construction project by Cavalier, said they are about 93 per cent near completion of the infrastructure that they didn’t have in place when the BFA hosted the CONCACAF Qualifier last month.
We know that Bahamians are good at coming through at the 11th hour in getting our facilities ready, but with less than a month to go, the BFA and the LOC, headed by Anton Sealey and Jeffrey Beckles respectively, seem as if they will change the status quo.
A total of 15 of the world’s best teams will be coming to compete and with them will be their media companies and sporting fans. We won’t want to have them here and we’re not ready as we’ve indicated.
A prime example was when we last hosted the Carifta Games at the Thomas A Robinson National Stadium in 2013 and members of the Caribbean press berated our state of readiness for the top junior track and field meet in the region.
“We’ve had a great collaboration with government and all of the agencies have been putting fourth their best and helping us out as we make this last sprint to the finish line,” LaFleur assured the public.
“We have 30 days to go to put on the best Beach Soccer World Cup that the world has ever seen.”
There is still some groundwork to be completely with some cable wiring to ensure that the fans can take advantage of the internet connections that will be provided by BTC.
“We are just trying to get those last pieces of infrastructure put in place,” he said. “Everybody is working hard as far as construction is concerned. Again, it’s going to be a different experience.”
If the CONCACAF Qualifier was any indication, we can certainly look forward to the World Cup as fans will have a newly designed entrance from Malcolm Park where a Fan Zone is being constructed with two 18-20 feet jumbotrons being set up for an additional 3,000 seats to be erected, if they can’t get into the 3,500-seat arena.
THE WEEK AHEAD
This weekend, in what is being dubbed ‘the survival of the fittest,’ the BAAA will select its team to represent the Bahamas at the Carifta Games over the Easter holiday weekend that will travel to Curacao.
There are a number of qualifiers so far, but they have to perform again this weekend, unless exempted from the trials tonight and tomorrow at the Thomas A Robinson National Stadium.
BTC has already provided the sponsorship for the BAAA to carry the team, so it’s now up to the athletes to secure their seats in their bid to improve on the six gold, 15 silver and 13 bronze collected in their 34 medal package achieved last year in Grenada.
Based on some of the performances turned in so far this year, the BAAA should be able to assemble a solid team to represent the country.
While their trip is still a couple of weeks away, the Bahamas Lawn Tennis Association is sending the same team of player/captain Marvin Rolle, Spencer Newman, Phillip Major and Justin Lunn to Santa Cruz, Bolivia for their American Zone II Davis Cup playoffs.
The quartet put up a good showing at the Doral Park Country Club in Doral, Florida February 3-5, but ended up getting swept 5-0 by Venezuela.
The loss dropped the Bahamas to playoffs from April 7-9 in Bolivia where the quartet will have to win to remain in Zone II for 2018. Another loss and the Bahamas will be relegated to Zone III.
Having gotten acclimatised to playing five-set matches instead of three against Venezuela, the team should be in a much better position to take on Bolivia - who is coming off a 3-2 lost to El Salvador - over the same weekend of April 3-5.