By RENALDO DORSETT
Tribune Sports Reporter
A LACK of funding and subsequent travel issues are once again prohibiting some of the top junior athletes in the country from participating against international competition.
Team Bahamas, expected to compete at the 20th edition of the Pan Am Under-20 Athletics Championships in San Jose, Costa Rica, July 19-21, may not be able to travel and would be forced to withdraw from the competition.
The team should have travelled Monday but to date, the BAAA is well short of the goal of the approximate $45,000 budget needed for the team to cover all necessary expenses.
BAAA President Drumeco Archer said that while no particular entity is to blame, a full effort from all aspects of Bahamian society is needed to sustain the standard of excellence the BAAA has set on the international stage.
“We have received help from the government, they have given us $25,000 but that still does not take us where we need to be and so while we appreciate that the government cannot carry the burden alone, it is a shared responsibility that we are trying to impress upon the country that we cannot do it on our own,” he said. “The burden still rests with the federation to ensure that athletes get the trips, and if we don’t then we are the bad people. I am not casting blame on anyone, the only point that I make is that we need help and the help should come from all sources.”
Team Bahamas’ roster includes -
Men: Adrian Curry (100m - 10.44); Rico Moultrie (100m - 10.50; 200m - 20.98); Terrance Jones (200m - 20.77; 400m - 46.29); Denvaughn Whymns (110m hurdles - 13.73); Shaun Miller (high jump - 2.16m); Travis Joseph (high jump - 2.11m); Matthew Thompson (400m hurdles (51.62); Gabriel Curtis (5,000m - 15:23.15); Tarjh Hudson (discus - 53.64m); Ken Mullings (decathlon - 7,102 points); Kendrick Thompson (decathlon - 7,144 points).
Women - Anthaya Charlton (100m - 11.50; long jump - 5.81m); Jaida Knowles (100m - 11.68; 200m - 24.06); Kayvon Stubbs (200m - 23.62); Doneisha Anderson (400m - 52.15); Megan Moss (400m - 53.05); Jasmine Knowles (800m - 2:09.49).
The head coach is Dereck Wells, assisted by Claudell McNabb, Ronald Cartwright and Antonio Saunders. The team manager is Kim Hanna and the assistant manager is Emmitt Higgins.
Dr Rodean Wallace is the team doctor, Shakeitha Henfield is the physiotherapist and Mae Miller is the women’s delegate.
At the last championships at the Mansiche Sports Complex in Trujillo, Peru in 2017, Holland Martin secured the lone medal for the Bahamas with a bronze in the men’s long jump with a leap of 7.66 metres or 25-feet, 1 3/4-inches. That placed the Bahamas 16th on the medal chart that was dominated by the United States with 54 medals, including 22 gold, 14 silver and 18 bronze.
The initial championships were held in Sudbury, Canada, in 1980 and was known as the Pan American Junior Athletics Championships until they changed the current name for the 2017 edition.
The Bahamas hosted the third edition of the championships in 1984.
At the 16th edition in Miramar, Florida, Anthonique Strachan posted the women’s 200m record of 22.70 seconds that is still on the books.
In June, Archer revealed the desperate financial straits the BAAA was under once his administration took office in November 2018.
At the time, the BAAA owed the IAAF $7,000, the Bahamas Association of Certified Officials $3,000 and Tek Team $4,736. In addition, there were monthly administrative expenses and the balance sheet showed that the BAAA was left in the red.
In January, Archer said they immediately were faced with having to raise funds while operating track and field meets, paying the NSA an average of $3,000 for stadium usage, BACO, Tek Team, concessions, and associated fees which average $12,000 per meet. Simultaneously, they were still left with the mandate to facilitate athletes’ travel and preparedness.
“You, the members, along with the entire nation, demand that we give our best, while there is no regard for the full-time job that goes into running this federation,” he said.
“The work is unrelenting and the work is left in the hands of so very few, in spite of our plea for assistance from our members, the Government of The Bahamas as well as corporate Bahamas. With no salaries accounted for with the exception of our office manager, the BAAA budget conservatively is $850,000.
“The fact of the matter is that this is an unsustainable model and without your assistance, we might as well advise our athletes to unpack their bags if we can’t get more assistance from the country,” Archer said.
“This is a voluntary job that has corporate-level financial demands and skillsets. In the end, the success of our work directly benefits the country through a growing sporting dynasty while providing scholarship opportunities to an average of 100 athletes a year, an average of $4 million dollars a year. I, therefore, ask that you do your best in assisting the federation by directing companies to us for sponsorship opportunities. Do it for Team Bahamas.”