By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
WHEN the IAAF World Indoor Championships gets underway next week in Birmingham, Great Britain, the Bahamas will be represented by a five-member team.
Although only four athletes have outright qualified to compete in the championships, scheduled for March 1-4, three others have been invited by the IAAF.
However, one of the qualifiers and one of the invitees opted not to travel with the team that will leave on Sunday and should arrive on Monday, even though the Games Village will not be open until Wednesday.
Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations’ secretary general Drumeco Archer has confirmed that women’s 60 metre hurdler Devynne Charlton, men’s 60m sprinter Warren Fraser, men’s 400m runner Alonzo Russell (all automatic qualifiers) along with men’s high jumpers Donald Thomas and Jamal Wilson, who received invitations, will all carry the flag for the island nation.
Sandra Laing will serve as the team manager with Ronald Cartwright as the head coach. BAAA president Rosamunde Carey and Archer will both accompany the team.
Shaunae Miller-Uibo, who tied the World indoor 300m record last month, made an application to contest the heptathlon, but the IAAF denied the request as they had already met their quota and she was invited to contest the 60m.
Miller-Uibo, according to Archer, has decided not to contest the 60m and will not be attending the championships.
Likewise, Archer said Pedrya Seymour also qualified for the women’s 60m hurdles, but she too decided to skip the trip as she has to compete in the NCAA Indoor Championships for the Texas Longhorns the following weekend in Texas. Despite the small size of the team, Archer said he’s confident that the Bahamas will be well represented in Birmingham.
“I think it’s a very lean team, but I think that we should reap some returns from it,” Archer said. “It’s not the strongest team that we’ve had in the past.
“Obviously, we are missing the men’s 4 x 400m, but the reality is that our athletes, in spite of their protest, they’ve not posted any competitive times for us to believe that we will have a competitive relay and our two most outstanding athletes, Stevie Gardiner and Shaunae are too tall and so they have decided not to compete in the 400m.”
Archer said it’s unfortunate that the men’s relay team is not apart of the field because the BAAA felt that with the exception of Russell, none of the other quarter-milers ran any times that would have allowed for the team to be included.
As for the individual competitors, Archer said Fraser got a chance to run against American Coleman when he broke the world indoor record, so they are eager to see how he matches up with the rest of the field.
He added that Charlton is having an outstanding season and he’s convinced that she will be able to perform very well in the women’s 60m hurdles.
Both Thomas and Wilson will compete in a straight final in the men’s high jump on day one on Thursday, March 1. Russell will contest the heats of the men’s 400m in the morning session of day two on Friday, March 2, while Charlton will be entered in the heats of the women’s 60m hurdles in the evening session.
Fraser will run the heats of the men’s 60m in the morning session of day three on Saturday, March 3 with the semifinal and final in the evening. The final of the men’s 400m will also be contested in the evening session.
Without any relay team, the Bahamas will not compete on the final day on Sunday, March 4.