By RENALDO DORSETT
Tribune Sports Reporter
For the eighth time, the Bahamas is set to host the region's premier junior athletics talent at the Flow CARIFTA Track and Field Championships.
Under the theme "Faster Further, Higher", the North America, Central America and Caribbean Athletics Associations (NACAC) will stage the 47th edition of the meet, March 30 to April 2 in honour of the late Dr Bernard Nottage. BAAA President and CEO of Flow CARIFTA Bahamas 2018, Rosamunde Carey, CEO Carifta 2018, said the Bahamas will again make history as they welcome the region to the Thomas A Robinson Stadium.
"In hosting this edition, the Bahamas has once again made history in that we would be the country to host the most CARIFTA games to date. Barbados and Jamaica have each hosted seven games.
"NACAC and the IAAF has recognised that we Bahamians possess the experience, skillset, knowledge and yes a bit of insanity needed to strategise, organise and successfully execute the most prestigious junior championships in the Caribbean and indeed the world," she said. "It was an easy sell as Dr Nottage is heralded in the region for his indelible prints on the growth of our sport in the Bahamas, the region and indeed the world. I wish to also note that the organising committee of the Games are undertaking steps to re-establish the CARIFTA Ball which was first organised under Dr Nottage under his tenure as president of the BAAAs."
The meet is expected to host 26 countries, 500 athletes, 400 volunteers and some 150 local and international officials.
"In less than 90 days the stadium will explode into action. The expectation and excitement is building," Carey said. "I encourage you to get your tickets early and not wait until the last mad rush because this event will be like none other ever experienced in the Bahamas so make sure you are accounted for when you see our athletes going further, faster, higher because pride runs deep in the 242.
In her capacity as a NACAC area representative, Pauline Davis-Thompson delivered an address on behalf of NACAC Area President, Victor Lopez. "I convey a big thank you to the government and people of the Bahamas for once again hosting the top junior track and field championships in the world. For a small nation the Bahamas stands like a giant among nations because of the superb organisation of sporting events, not to take away front he fact that they produce some of the top athletes in the world," she said, "We always enjoy coming to the Bahamas because of the warmth of the Bahamian people and we have no doubt that the rhythm and soul of the Bahamas will be on display for another amazing CARIFTA games."
The Bahamas last hosted the meet in 2002 and has claimed the title four times - 1980, 1981, 1983 and 1984.
Davis-Thomspon is one of six Bahamians to win the Austin Sealey Award, given to the meet's top performer and was a member of the last Bahamian team to take the title.
"I was a member of that teams that won in 1983 and '84. Back then the athletes had a lot of Bahamian pride. In '82 all you heard in the stadium was '1 and 2 Jamaica' and said to my teammates right there it would not happen again. We trained very hard and we came back the following year and we won by one gold medal in the 4x400m relay that I anchored and I think it propelled the remainder of my career," she said, "The athletes today they need to understand they are home and pride runs deep in the 242. They are to represent us to the best of their ability. We do expect that Bahamians are going come out in droves and it is time that we now take back the CARIFTA title from the Jamaicans."
Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, the Hon. Michael Pintard, said this particular edition of the games will celebrate the country's history in the field of competition and at the administrative level, held in Dr. Nottage's honour.
"We wish to invite the entire Bahamian public to support our athletes and our compatriots throughout the region. Athletics have played an extremely important role in the development in a number of territories in the region. CARIFTA is a wonderful feeder system for our senior programe," he said, "We have had a stellar history in athletics, not merely on the track of the field but also in administration so I believe it is fitting we are honoring Dr Bernad Nottage, who was not only an outstanding athlete but he was really and incredible charasmatic leader in sports administration who played a pivotal role as activist long before politics in making sure that the sporting world respected the power of each individual participating country and he lobbied for one vote per country and became entrenched in international athletics."
Tickets for the event are currently on sale ranging from gold - $20, silver - $15, bronze - $10 and general tickets $5. To purchase or reserve tickets, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call /WhatsApp the LOC at (242) 427-2580. For more information, you can also log on to cariftabahamas2018.com.
Flow has partnered with NACAC for the third year to host CARIFTA. As the official broadcast partner of the event, the meet will receive substantive viewership across the region.