By BRENT STUBBS
MICHAEL Pintard, the Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture made two announcements this week in the House of Assembly that grabbed my attention.
One was what to do with the new national baseball stadium and the other was about a facility for water polo.
As it pertains to the former, I think the best bet is to just scrap the stadium built up to its foundation and relocate to the original site and location where the facility should have been built in the first place.
In its present form, if the Bahamas Government goes on and completes the current facility, it would cost more than it would to produce the original stadium, which would have included additional smaller facilities for practices and games.
I don’t have the exact figures because they continue to change every time it’s mentioned in the House of Assembly.
So I would think the logical thing to do is to produce a facility that will cost less and provide more in terms of its usage.
The problem with building these massive facilities that costs millions of dollars is that if they are not used on a consistent basis, they become a big white elephant just sitting there.
There’s no doubt that we need to have a major baseball stadium constructed, considering the fact that since the old Andre Rodgers Baseball Stadium was dismantled to make room for the new Thomas A Robinson Baseball Stadium, we have seen the demise of senior baseball in the country.
And now with more than two dozen players coming out of the vibrant junior programmes, there is no suitable venue for them to either train or participate in when they come home.
We owe it to our players to provide them with a proper facility to compete in.
So Minister Pintard, I’m sure if a meeting is held with the executives in the sport, I’m sure the Bahamas Baseball Association and those who are now becoming affiliated, would agree that they just want to see a facility completed.
As for the latter, the announcement on the return of the victorious water polo team, winning three gold medals in all three categories at the CARIFTA Games in Kingston, Jamaica, was met with rousing applause.
Since they started, coach Laszlo Borbely has really transformed these competitors, many of whom came from a swimming background, into champions.
On any given day at the Betty Kelly Kenning Swim Complex, Borbely would have to wait until the swimmers were done before their practices could commence. It’s the same scenario at a swim meet on a Saturday.
But despite the fact that they have had to spend considerable time waiting to get into the water to train, the water polo competitors have proven that they are a force to reckon with in the Caribbean.
Now, as Pintard so rightfully stated, they deserve their own facility to train in and the government will be working with the federation in ensuring that one is provided.
It’s another major undertaking, but with success comes the demands and the water polo competitors have certainly made a case for a facility of their own to train in.
Grand Bahama, which has played a key role in the success of swimming over the years, is not going to be left out as they are also scheduled to get a new swim complex, as mentioned by Pintard.
There’s no reason why, with our archipelago surrounded by water, we are not producing more international swimmers and water polo competitors. I even venture to say that I don’t see why we shouldn’t be testing the waters in diving as well. We wait to see what success will come from the swimmers when they head to Jamaica next week to defend their title at the CARIFTA Swim Championships. The BSF had a spectacular showing here last year and are looking to duplicate that feat over the Easter holiday weekend.
All eyes will be on the 80-member team that will carry the island nation’s banner at Flow CARIFTA Games at the Thomas A Robinson Track and Field Stadium over the weekend.
The Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations is taking advantage of the home turf by naming a full team for the biggest junior regional competition as we seek to match perennial champions Jamaica. The final trials produced some performances that were expected in some of the previous meets held as athletes stepped up and came into true form in the nick of time. Hopefully the athletes will be at peak to compete at the games, even though there were some concerns with so many of the top meets like the BAISS, GSSSA and Nationals coming one behind the other before the final trials.
The games are just a week away and the BAAA and the management staff are confident that Team Bahamas will be ready to take on the visiting 26 countries, including Jamaica, when the games start on March 31. Last year in Curacao, the Bahamas was third in the gold rush that declares the top spots in track and field competition with six, one less than Trinidad & Tobago, but was second with total medals with 31. Trinidad had 22.
Jamaica, in another dominant performance, had 39 gold and a total of 86 medals.
The last time the Bahamas topped the field was here at home in 1984 with its second back-to-back feat, winning in 1983 in Martinique before it triumphed for the first time in 1980 in Bermuda and again in 1981 at home. Other than those four times, the only other time Jamaica didn’t win the title was in 1975 when Bermuda won it at home. Jamaica, on a consecutive 33-year winning streak, has held the reign as the Caribbean’s best for 41 times since the meet got started in Barbados in 1972.
Let’s go Team Bahamas.