By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
AHEAD of the national championships for track and field and swimming, the Bahamas Olympic Committee has announced a 28-member team of athletes and seven coaches to represent the Bahamas at the Commonwealth Games.
The games are scheduled for July 29 to August 7 and according to BOC president Romell Knowles, every so often, they are forced to name the team prior to the national championships.
The Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations’ National Championships is scheduled for this month and the Bahamas Aquatics’ Nationals will take place from July 7-10, but athletes from both disciplines, along with cycling, triathlon, wrestling, judo and boxing have already been selected to the team.
“We could no longer wait until the national championships because this list is almost etched in stone. All of the accreditations, the processing have been done and the system is closed,” Knowles said.
“Even if we wanted to add someone, it’s going to be a pain in the butt to try and get Birmingham to open up the system to allow us to make amendments. That’s not prohibited. We could do it on the executive side or the coach’s side, but the athletes, they see it as tampering or cheating.”
Having met their quota of 28 athletes, Knowles said in order to replace an athlete, the BOC would have to fill out a form indicating that the athlete is either injured or not able to travel before they can replace anyone.
However, in the case of the team selection, Knowles said double Olympic 400m champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo is still contemplating making the trip to Birmingham. If her and her camp decides to go, they have conveyed her interest to the local organising committee in Birmingham to have added to the team.
Named by chef de mission Roy Colebrooke as members of the Commonwealth Games team are the following:
Athletics - Devynne Charlton (women’s 100m hurdles); Anthonique Strachan (women’s 100/200m); Steven Gardiner (men’s 400m); LaQuan Nairn (men’s long jump); Jahmaal Wilson (men’s 110m hurdles); Terrence Jones (men’s 110m); Tynia Gaither (women’s 100/200m); Ken Mullings (men’s decathlon); Shaun Miller Jr (men’s high jump); Kendrick Thompson (men’s decathlon) and Charisma Taylor (women’s triple jump/100m hurdles).
No coach has been selected as yet.
Swimming - Izaak Bastian (men’s 50/100/200m breaststroke); Devante Carey (men’s 50/100m free, 50/100m/200m back and 50/100m fly); Lamar Taylor (men’s 50/100m free, 50/100/200m back and 50/100m fly); Luke Kennedy Thompson (men’s 50/100m breaststroke, 200/400/800m free and 200m IM); Lilly Higgs (50/100/200m breaststroke and 200m IM); Katelyn Cabral (women’s 50/100m butterfly, 50m free and 50/200m backstroke); Zaylie-Elizabeth Thompson (women’s 100/200m freestyle, 200m IM and 200m breaststroke); Rhanishka Gibbs (women’s 50/100m freestyle and 50/100m breaststroke).
The coaches for the team are Andrew Loveitt and Travano McPhee.
Cycling - Felix Neely Jr and Lorin Sawyer.
Kenton Roker will be the team’s coach.
Triathlon - Armando Moss (men’s sprint).
Cameron Roach will be the coach.
Wrestling - Rashji Mackey (freestyle 92 kilogram) and Thorn Demeritte (freestyle 74 kilogram).
The coach will be Clinton Burke.
Judo - Cynthia Rahming (women’s 57 kilogram) and Andrew Munnings (men’s 73 kilogram).
Willard McKenzie Jr will be selected as the coach.
Boxing - Carl Hield (junior middleweight); Rashield Williams (junior welterweight).
The coach will be Vincent Strachan.
With over 55,000 athletes expected to participate in the games, in addition to the coaches and officials, which should push the amount to over 75,000, Knowles said it will be very costly and that is one of the reasons why the Bahamas, like every other country, has been presented with a quota to meet.
Knowles said they don’t have a qualifying standard for the games and while they are still working on a criteria, they are expected about the team selected, based on the recommendations from the national federations, to represent the Bahamas.
And with athletes like Gardiner, Strachan and Charlton heading the list for Team Bahamas, Musgrove said it’s good when the calendars don’t clash and the elite athletes can compete for their country.
“We are elated to have this quality and high calibre of athletes competing for the Bahamas for the games this time around,” Musgrove said.
Musgrove, who has served as chef de mission for a number of national teams in the past, noted that these games will be like no other due to the COVID-19 restrictions with the Games Village for the athletes divided into three venues, for the athletes with the boxers at the NEC Hotel Campus, swimming and track and field at the University of Birmingham and the University of Warwick for cycling, triathlon, wrestling and judo.
“These games are very, very complex and, as a result of that, the management of these teams will have to pull their weight,” Musgrove said.
“Myself and the other management team will be spread very thin ensuring that Team Bahamas has the best possible opportunities in each and every sport to do what they need to do.
“We want to create an environment as the management team whereas the coaches and athletes won’t have to worry about anything but to compete to the best of their abilities for the Bahamas over the three villages.”
It’s anticipated that it will cost the BOA about $200,000 to cover the expenses of the games for all of the athletes, coaches and officials, including their travel, accommodations, insurances and per diem in Birmingham.
“We have a responsibility for the athletes to showcase them in front of the world at no cost to their national federations,” Knowles said.
“Thanks to our sponsors, Puma, Olympic Solidarity, Pan Am Sports and the Government of the Bahamas.”
Due to the COVID-19, pandemic, Knowles said governments are finding it more difficult to sponsor events like this and so they will have to seek more support from corporate Bahamas to assist the national federations in carrying out their commitments to their athletes and coaches for their international events.