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Olympics Are Done, Time To Focus On Panam

By BRENT STUBBS

Senior Sports Reporter

bstubbs@tribunemedia.net

WITH the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games over and done with, the4 Bahamas Olympic Committee is now concentrating on putting together the team to represent the Bahamas at the inaugural Junior Pan American Games.

While Clarence Rolle, one of the vice presidents of the BOC has been selected as the chef de mission, president Romell Knowles said they are still looking at the makeup of Team Bahamas for the Jr Panam games, scheduled for November 25 to December 5 in Cali, Columbia.

The games are geared for athletes aged 17-22 years from more than 32 countries, who will get to compete in at least 25 sports. However, for Team, Bahamas, Knowles said the BOC is definitely looking at competitors from athletics (track and field) and swimming.

“We have even extended an invite to most of our sporting federations,” Knowles said. “We know they need to speak to their international federations to see if they can get an invite, so we’re not quite there yet. We’re still accumulating the long list.”

Based on their estimation, Knowles said the Bahamas should be able to field at least a 30-member team.

“The challenge for us right now is that the Pan Am Games is suggesting that all of the athletes must be fully vaccinated,” Knowles revealed. “So we’re waiting for the federations to get back to us to tell us who of their athletes are fully vaccinated and then we will take it from there.” He said. “Right now, we’re still in the long list stage. We’re still collecting data on who will be available to compete in which sports before we select the team.”

The BOC is hoping to get athletes to compete in such sports as aquatics (swimming), athletics (track and field), 3x3 basketball, bowling, boxing, cycling, gymnastics, judo, sailing, tennis, triathlon and volleyball. Other sports to be contested are archery, badminton, canoeing, fencing, gymnastics, handball, roller sports, rowing, shooting, squash, taekwondo, weightlifting and wrestling.

The Panam Organizing Committee have confirmed that unlike the Tokyo Olympics from July 23 to August 8, fans will have access to the facilities to view the competition.

It will be the first multi-sport event in the world that, after the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic more than a year and a half ago, have been open to receive fans in the stands.

Panam Sports President Neven Linc confirmed in a statement on the games website that they decided together with the authorities of Columbia to have a capacity of 50 percent in the sports venue.

“However, those who enter must comply with a series of biosecurity measures such as vaccination certificates, mandatory use of masks, distancing, handwashing, among other things,” she said.

The Panam Organizing Committee also confirmed that they expect to have several Tokyo 2020 Olympic medalists, in addition to under-23 world champions, in several of the disciplines, competing in the games.

Knowles said the BOC is eagerly looking forward to participating in the games.

“The first games, obviously, we are encouraging the young athletes to compete for the social exchange and the competition,” he said. “But these games are really in preparation for the senior games.

“So this is just to prepare the athletes to get a taste of the competition before they venture into the Senior Pan Am Games. It’s expected to be a very exciting game because it’s the first. Everybody looks forward to the inaugural one, so we are encouraging our federations and athletes to get ready to compete.”

The XIX Pan American Games are scheduled for Santiago, Chile from October 20 to November 5, 2023.

The BOC is also preparing for the selection of Team Bahamas to compete in the XXII Commonwealth Games, scheduled for Birmingham, England from July 28 to August 8, 2022.

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