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Sands Outlines Plans For Nacac, New Office

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Mike Sands, new NACAC president and IAAF Area Representative.

By BRENT STUBBS

Senior Sports Reporter

bstubbs@tribunemedia.net

With his new role as the president of the North American, Central American and Caribbean (NACAC) region comes a new location for the office.

Having taken over the responsibility for some 36 countries in the region, including the United States, Canada and Mexico, from Victor Lopez last year, Sands will have the office relocated from Puerto Rico to the Thomas A Robinson National Stadium.

The new office will be christened and officially opened at 10am on Tuesday, January 14 in a ceremony that will be attended by International Amateur Athletic Federation or now the World Athletics president Lord Sebastian Coe, IAAF council members, including Willie Banks, the World Athletics' council member from the United States and executives of NACAC as well as local government officials.

Voted in as the new president in June during the elections held in Queretaro, Mexico, Sands officially took over the reigns in the chair following the completion of the IAAF Congress in Doha, Qatar, in October.

According to Sands, a number of activities are being planned for the opening, including a courtesy call on Governor-General Cornelius Alvin Smith.

"We will also convene our first official NACAC Congress meeting on Monday afternoon when we will address a number of issues," Sands said. "There are a number of events on the calendar for 2020, including the International Continental Circuit, which is a pilot project that is being undertaken by the IAAF or World Athletics.

"It is intended to bring more events into the area, so it's going to be a very exciting year for us in that regard."

Coe, a British former middle-distance runner who went on to win four Olympic medals, is expected to arrive in town on Sunday and will depart on Wednesday.

During his visit, Coe will also engage in a trackside chat with executives of the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations, as well as coaches and athletes.

"He will get a chance to mix and mingle with the athletes of the Bahamas during his visit," Sands said.

"Of course, we will have a welcome reception for him and some dinners, which will be working sessions.

"So I'm very excited to be able to start this new chapter in my athletic administrative career and I'm just looking forward to the support of the Bahamian public."

Sands, a former national 200/400 metre Olympian who went on to become the public relations officer and president of the BAAA and a former vice president of the Bahamas Olympic Committee, thanked all those who helped to make the office opening possible.

They include the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture and Minister Lanisha Rolle, the National Sports Authority, which is making two offices available for NACAC, one for administration and the other for operations of NACAC.

"There's a lot of work to be done, putting together all of the programmes, so the work has really begun in earnest," Sands said. "We've been doing a lot of work behind the scenes and we look forward to it all unfolding on January 14.

"So I look forward to welcoming all of my collegiates and friends to the Bahamas for the opening of the NACAC area office that will be established here in Nassau."

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