Wednesday, May 24, 2023
By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
With the 2023 Central American and Caribbean Games all set for June 23 to July 8 in San Salvador, El Salvador, the Bahamas Olympic Committee is still looking at putting together the pieces for Team Bahamas’ participation.
The games is the first of the four major international events that the BOC is responsible for. It’s also the start of the ladder that leads to the Olympic Games. Following the CAC Games, the BOC will prepare for the Pan American Games, scheduled for October 20 to November 5 in Santiago, Chile.
The other games under the BOC’s jurisdiction is the Commonwealth Games. The last games were held in 2022 in Birmingham, England.
The next games will not take place until 2026 in Victoria, Australia.
BOC president Romell Knowles said all emphasis will be placed on this year’s CAC and Pan American Games as they serve as qualifiers for the next Olympic Games in Paris, France, in 2024.
“From the executives’ standpoint, we want to make sure that we have the best team to represent the country and to allow them to go and represent the country at the best of their abilities,” he said, noting that the BOC is still going through the selection process as they wait on the organisers from Argentina to provide them with the complete list of invites, based on rankings, to participate in the games.
He noted that over the past few days, the list was submitted for track and field and swimming and the list is being analysed to determine the number of athletes that will get to travel.
“It’s common for the organisers to send us a quote and then we work our way through it with the national federations, but that doesn’t seem to be the case with these games,” Knowles said.
“We only received invites for athletics and swimming this week, but we don’t know what is implied for the other sports. Every multi-sporting event has its unique circumstances and it’s something that we have to work through.”
Both the Bahamas Softball Federation and the Bahamas Basketball Federation have received invites for their men’s national teams to travel to the games to compete, but both are not expected to make the trip.
BBF president Eugene Horton has made it emphatically clear that with funding as a major issue, their priority has shifted to the qualification process for the Paris Olympics rather than a minor event like the CAC Games.
“It’s the same old thing over and over. It’s funding. We have the pre-Olympic qualifying coming up from August 12-20 in Argentina and if we qualify from that, we are one step closer to moving on towards the Olympics,” Horton said.
“It’s just a matter of funding. All this summer, we will try to get our finances in order because with elections coming up this year, if I decide not to run, I don’t want to leave the federation in shambles. But we have to prioritise where we go and what is more important because of funding.”
As for softball, BSF president Jenny Isaacs-Dotson said the executives made the decision not to send the team because the players were not as dedicated as they should have been with regards to practice.
“We’ve invited some players to come out to practice and based on the report we’ve gotten, the response has not been good,” said Isaacs-Dotson, the first female elected to the BSF presidency.
“We made the decision not to send the team because it didn’t make sense to take a team if they are not properly prepared.
“We just have to look at the structure of our national programme because we need to get these players coming out consistently and getting into tournaments so that they can be ready to compete in these games when they come around,” she explained.
So, along with athletics and swimming, who’s expected to represent the Bahamas at the games?
Knowles revealed that they anticipate that Team Bahamas will include athletes for triathlon, water polo, beach soccer, boxing and equestrian will join athletics and swimming.
“We are just waiting to find out if we will get a quota or we will get invites,” Knowles said.
“So far, beach soccer and water polo have received invites and they are expected to be a part of the games,”
Bishop Joseph ‘Joe Mo’ Smith, one of the vice presidents of the BOC, has been selected to travel as the chef de mission.
However, Knowles said the rest of the team personnel will be determined by which disciplines are travelling to compete in the Games.
“It’s depressing, but we will work through it.”