THE North and Central Andros team finally snapped the Temple Christian Academy Suns’ three-year reign as champions of the Frank ‘Pancho’ Rahming National Primary Schools Track and Field Championships.
The three-day meet came to a close on Friday at the Thomas A Robinson Track and Field Stadium with Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Lanisha Rolle presenting the championship trophy to North and Central Andros.
They scored a total of 246.50 points, compared to Temple Christian’s 181.50. Finishing in third place was Central Abaco, who came up with 155, one more than Cleveland Eneas. Hugh Campbell was fifth with 110.
“We came back to redeem ourselves,” said Felicia Cartwright, coach of North and Central Andros, who had to settle for second place last year. “We worked hard in practice and we came out here and performed.”
Cartwright said the competition this year was very fierce, but their squad stepped it up and performed very well. “We’re coming back for a repeat,” said Cartwright as they look ahead to 2020. Alvin Marshall, who participated in the 400 and 800 metre races, as well as a part of the 4 x 100 and 4 x 400m relays and the long jump, led the charge for North and Central Andros.
After falling short of clinching their fourth straight title, Temple Christian congratulated North and Central Andros for their outstanding performance.
“We wanted to go for our fourth straight, but it didn’t happen,” said Keno Demeritte, one of Temple Christian’s coaches. “North and Central Andros did a very good job. They came down and performed very well.We brought a small team here, but we really put up a fight. Our kids really performed. They stepped up to the plate and we knew we were down going into the final day and tried to get back on top.”
Alena Pinder, according to Demeritte, was their surprise athlete of the meet in the C girls division and Anthony Sweeting was their top performer in the A boys.
Patron Frank Rahming, a long time national coach and former assistant director in the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, said he was quite thrilled that the meet continued in his honour.
“This is where the young athletes begin, so it’s real good,” he said. “They have a long way to go when you talk about the development of athletes, but this is what you really want to get the primary school athletes involved.”
On hand was Minister Rolle, whose Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture organised the meet. She hosted a press conference to inform the media about the operation of the meet that attracted more than 30 teams from throughout the country.
She noted that the event provided an opportunity for the country to come together. Not just the athletes, but she said the parents, coaches and other organisations like the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations and the Bahamas Olympic Committee, all chipped in to make the event a success.
So she said they will continue to host the meet to show the importance of discipline and commitment through sports in the country.
During the meet, athletes got a treat as Olympic and world champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo presented tennis shoes, spikes and caps through sponsor Adidas to deserving athletes.
While Miller-Uibo was not present, her parents, Shaun, the president of the Bahamas Coaches Association and May, the CEO of the BAAA, made the presentation.
Rolle said it’s very important for the elite athletes to not only give back, but to stay in touch with the children because they were once there.
“So the children will continue to dream, they will continue to aspire and they will know that they can reach those goals as well, so we have to keep in touch with them,” she said.
“I would say Shaunae is keeping her fingers on the pulse with the children and the pulse on sports, so it’s a very great initiative and so I’m sure that the children are grateful.”
Making an appearance at the meet was men’s double 200/400m national record holder Steven Gardiner.
As they look forward to next year, Rolle said she’s very encouraged because sports is always electrifying and it binds people together from all walks of life.
“This is a good thing for us,” said Rolle, about watching people come together and actually taking the time out to mix and mingle with each other.
“I am certain that the ministry will continue to invest in our children, especially in this particular sport.”