‘The Race to Paris’: New Life Invitational set for Father’s Day


Tribune Sports Reporter


The North American, Central American and Caribbean Athletic Association (NACAC) New Life Invitational, under the theme ‘The Race to Paris Continues’, will make its third appearance in The Bahamas on Father’s Day (June 16) at the original Thomas A Robinson Stadium.

One of the most prestigious events to take place on the NACAC calendar for 2024 will be hosted in New Providence for the first time and provide athletes within the NACAC region with one of the last few chances to qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games, set for July 26 to August 11.

Athletes from over 18 countries will have the chance to take home some extra dollars as the total prize purse for the event is $76,000. 

For individual events, gold medal winners earn $2,000, silver medallists earn $1,000, bronze medallists earn $500, fourth place is awarded $300 and fifth place is awarded $200. 

Mike Sands, president of NACAC, spoke on the importance of the one-day meet which is also a part of the World Athletics Continental Tour (WACT) Silver Label series.

“We are here today to discuss an event that is very important for our athletes and our NACAC Athletics family as well as The Bahamas. This event is not just an athletic event as it serves as a qualifier for the ‘Road to Paris’

“It presents yet another incredible opportunity for our area athletes in particular to improve their ranking. 

“We are urging the Bahamian public to come out and give our visitors and our own Bahamian athletes a ‘Bahamazing’ experience like the way we did at the World Relays,” Sands said. 

With this being the third consecutive hosting of the major event in The Bahamas, the NACAC president insisted that the over 170 athletes set to compete are looking forward to the Bahamian experience.

“I can tell you that the NACAC area athletes look forward to coming to The Bahamas and to competing in The Bahamas because of the fan engagement in particular, the warm hospitality and of course the accommodations and everything else that goes along with it,” he said.

The event is scheduled to begin at 6pm on Father’s Day and the schedule includes the men and women’s short and long hurdles, 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m, 4x100m relay, 4x400m relay, 4x400m mixed relay events along with field events.

Drumeco Archer, president of the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA), is expecting more Bahamians to make the Olympic cut at the New Life Invitational, particularly the relay teams.

“I think this is a wonderful opportunity for many of our Bahamians to fine tune in time for our nationals. We are expecting Anthaya Charlton. I am advised tentatively that Devynne Charlton will also be competing for the women’s 4x100m team together with Camille Rutherford as well as Denisha Cartwright. I think that is perhaps the best ensemble of the women’s 4x100m team we have seen since 2000. We are expecting great performances on the women’s side,” he said.

The Bahamas’ women’s 4x100m relay team has a good shot at nabbing one of the two final relay spots to land them in Paris, France for the Olympics with the new quartet. Additionally, the BAAA president is looking forward to big performances for the men’s side as well.

“We should expect high performances on the men’s side as well with the complement of Terrence Jones together with Antoine Andrews, who has been running really well, with the fastest Bahamian for the year Wanya McCoy. None of those athletes competed at the World Relays so for them to be on the track we can expect an amazing opportunity to qualify,” he said.

On behalf of the BAAA, Archer noted that it is an honour to be able to facilitate an event of this magnitude.

And he said the federation is proud to be a part of the opportunity and will be looking forward to “exceptional performances”.

Although there will be a number of top Bahamian athletes competing on the track, the NACAC president dropped a few big names who are expected to compete, including world champion Trayvon Bromell, World Continent Cup champion Tyquendo Tracey, Olympian Megan Tapper and top hurdler Masai Russell. 

Bahamian veteran high jumper Donald Thomas is also expected to compete as well as Shakeem Hall-Smith, who is on the cusp of an Olympic qualification.

Cyndonie Mothersill, vice president of NACAC Athletics and member of the World Athletics Council, gave special credit to the Bahamian government for the role they have played in supporting the New Life Invitational.

“The support from the Bahamian government both last year and this year has been exceptional and highly commendable. 

“Without such government backing, events of this scale would not be possible. Therefore, I extend our heartfelt gratitude to the Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture and his team as well as the Bahamian government as a whole for their steadfast support of NACAC Athletics. The NACAC Athletics Council deeply appreciates this commitment,” Mothersill said.

Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Mario Bowleg said the government is proud to partner with NACAC Athletics to provide yet another opportunity for athletes to book a trip to Paris, France.

“The Government of The Bahamas and by extension the MOYSC is proud to partner with NACAC and the BAAA to host the New Life Invitational here in New Providence. The government is proud to provide this opportunity for more Bahamian athletes to qualify for this year’s Paris Olympics. Offering more opportunities for our track and field athletes to compete is essential for development and success on the world stage. 

“This third edition where The Bahamas has hosted NACAC meets before solidifies our reputation as a premier destination for athletes in the region. 

“Hosting events like this New Life Invitational, allows our neighbours to visit The Bahamas, compete and experience our hospitality. These international events cement The Bahamas’ position as a top-tier nation when it comes to hosting international competition,” Bowleg said.

The gates will open for the event at 5pm and it will start at 6pm sharp. 

Tickets are priced from $10 to $50 and can be purchased online at https://nacacparis.com

The event will also be livestreamed on the Puma, FloTrack and American Track League Youtube Channels.

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