By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
With the box office now open, patrons are flocking to the Thomas A Robinson National Stadium to purchase their tickets for the 50th Independence CARIFTA Games.
Although the games are scheduled for April 7-10 at the stadium, many persons said they wanted to ensure that they get the “best seats” for their bucks as they threw their support behind the young people competing in the biggest junior regional competition in the world.
Kenderlyn Minnis, one of the patrons visiting the stadium yesterday, said she simply wants to make sure that her family has a “seat in the house.
“We are the host, 242, so we have to represent. I’m not an athlete, so the next best thing I can do is to be there to cheer on the black, gold and aquamarine,” said Minnis in pledging her support for Team Bahamas.
Minnis said they want to “see everything.”
She noted that too many times the spotlight is placed on the sprints, but at the end of the day, all of the events make up the track meet, so they want to “see it all.”
She said she purchased the three-day pass for her family, so they won’t miss any of the excitement.
Flo Rolle, a former versatile athlete who participated in track and field and was a top-notch softball player, said she wanted to make sure she got her “seat” and to make sure she can “sit” where she wants.
“I just love track and field and I have a granddaughter, Alexia Mason, who is involved in track and field, so every weekend when there is a track meet, I am here watching,” Rolle stated.
Local Organising Committee chief executive officer Lynden Maycock said words could not express his gratitude as he watched Bahamians line up to purchase their tickets so early. “We see the anticipation building up and now that the box office is open, we see Bahamians coming forth and purchasing their tickets, not only in person, but persons are purchasing their tickets online worldwide,” Maycock said.
“We know that the CARIFTA Games are going to be the best and the Bahamian people are coming out to support it. They want to support the young people of this nation,” stated Maycock.
Next week, Maycock said they will be providing the merchandise for the public to purchase as well so that they can be properly prepared for the games when they take on the visiting countries, including Jamaica.
Kirk Seymour, a former official when the first CARIFTA Games was staged here in 1976, said he came out to purchase 30 of the three-day packages for his family and friends. “We are going to be right at the finish line,” he said. “Before they announce who is the winner, I like to see it for myself. I watch Champs online, so I already know who is coming from Jamaica. So I want to make sure that I don’t miss any of the action.”
Pauline Davis-Thompson, the Dame of the Games, said she is overwhelmed to see so many people coming out to get their tickets early.
“It just really touches my heart,” said Davis-Thompson, who in 1984 when the games were held here, emerged as the Austin Sealy winner of the most outstanding athlete of those games. “It’s very touching to see that.”
Mary-Ann Higgs-Clarke, crowned the “Mother” of these games, was the first recipient of the Austin Sealy winner in 1978. Strongwoman Laverne Eve was the first overall back-to-back winner in 1982 and 1983 and was followed by Davis-Thompson in 1984. Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie captured the next title in 1995, while Anthonique Strachan was the second two-time winner in 2011 and 2012 before Shaunae Miller-Uibo became the final Bahamian champion in 2013.
While the Bahamas played host to the games for the first time with the fifth edition in 1976, the games returned here seven more times in 1978, 1981, 1984, 1992, 2002, 2013 and 2018. The Bahamas is the only country other than Jamaica to win the title. However, Jamaica, who has a stranglehold on their dominance of the games, has amassed a total of 770 gold, 532 silver and 338 bronze for a grand total of 1,640. The Bahamas trail with 17 gold, 229 silver and 263 bronze for a total of 663 medals.
Trinidad & Tobago sits in third with 166 gold, 210 silver and 225 bronze for their total of 601.
Tickets for this year’s games are priced daily on the western side for $50 VIP, $25 for gold seats, $20 for silver and $15 for bronze. Three-day packages for all of the sessions are priced at $130 VIP, $70 gold, $55 silver and $40 bronze.
The eastern grandstand is priced at $10 for adults and $5 for children 4-12 years old. People with disability will have access at $5 for the eastern grandstand and $10 for the western grandstand. Interested persons can visit the box office at the stadium or go online at www.carifta50.com to make their purchases.
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