By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
FREEPORT, Grand Bahama — It turned out to be an historic event, not just for the Bahamas, but the North American, Central American and Caribbean region at the 2022 Anita Doherty Open Championships.
And even though he spent the majority of his time recuperating in the Rand Memorial Hospital, NACAC president Mike Sands said he was still pleased how the event was staged in Grand Bahama, despite complaints by some of the countries about the living conditions in the games village at Our Lucaya Resort.
As the fourth edition of the three-day event came to a close on Sunday night at the Grand Bahama Sports Complex, Team Bahamas produced its largest medal total ever with seven, including the gold medal from Shaunae Miller-Uibo in a championship record in the women’s 400 metres.
Team Bahamas, managed by Renee ‘Sunshine’ Davis with Ronald Cartwright as the head coach, assisted by Tito Moss, Robert Ayton, Jason Larimore and Corrington Maycock, also collected two silver from Tynia Gaither in the women’s 200m and the women’s 4 x 100m team of Printassia Johnson, Anthonique Strachan, Devynne Charlton and Gaither.
The team also produced four bronze from Charlton in the women’s 100m hurdles, Donald Thomas in the men’s high jump, Rhema Otabor in the women’s javelin, and the men’s 4 x 400m relay team of Kinard Rolle, Alonzo Russell, Shakeem Smith and Wendell Miller. The Bahamas didn’t participate in the initial championships in El Salvador in 2007, but made its debut in 2015 in Costa Rica, bringing home two silver and three bronze before going to Toronto, Canada in 2018 where the Bahamas collected two bronze.
At the end of the meet, a total of 22 championship records were broken, one shy of the most ever posted in Toronto where the record stands at 23.
The United States of America, in a dominating fashion that included a sweep of all five relays contested, including the mixed 4 x 400m and both the men and women 4 x 100 and 4 x 400m relays, carted off a total of 63 medals with 29 gold, 22 silver and 12 bronze.
Jamaica came second with six gold, nine silver and nine bronze for their total of 24, while Canada got third with 14 medals, including two gold, three silver and nine bronze. Cuba and Guatemala both got two gold to beat out the Bahamas in the gold rush for fourth and fifth, but only had six and three medals in total respectively.
As he stood in the VIP stands watching the final day of competition on Sunday, Sands is still of the opinion that hosting the event in Grand Bahama was the right decision by NACAC.
“I think we made the right decision. We got the support that we needed and I’m very, very pleased with the results,” Sands said.
“We saw a number of championship records broken and that is a testimony of the calibre of event we had and as testimony to the facility at this track and its surface.
“I’m just thankful for all of the support that we received from the member associations, who all came and participated, not withstanding the support of the Bahamas Government, the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, the Ministry of Grand Bahama and our many partners and sponsors.”
Despite the bump in the road, as it pertains to the accommodations at Our Lucaya, Sands said they were able to iron out and correct the deficiencies and it ended up being a great championship.
“It’s not how you start, but how you finish,” he said.
Shortly after making his remarks during the opening ceremonies on Friday at the Grand Bahama Sports Complex, Sands returned to the VIP stand where he had a dizzy spell. He was treated on site and then taken to the Rand Memorial Hospital where it was determined he will be kept in for a few days for observation.
“I’m thankful for the support during my down time,” he said.
“I had the best of care from the doctors, nurses and personnel at the Rand and the support from the Minister of Grand Bahama, Ginger Moxey. It was 24-7 care. I’m very happy with that.
“I was able to watch the live stream from my bed and so I was very happy with what I saw. But I’m very happy that I was able to come out here for the closing of the championships. I’m still not 100 percent, but I’m in a better place right now.”
While everybody was making their way out of Grand Bahama on Monday, Sands will remain for a few more days to complete his evaluation before he is given the green light to travel. But he said he is optimistic that once the results are completed, he will be able to return home.
Sands, however, said he is grateful that despite being hospitalised, he was able to watch as everybody stepped in and made sure that the championships turned out to be one that everybody will remember.
The championships, which has not been given a location for the fifth edition as yet, was held in honour of the late Anita Doherty, a prominent sportswoman, educator, administrator and philanthropist who passed away on March 28.