It was noted in this space previously, the intent of The Bahamas Government through the Minister for Sports, to seek an arrangement with the International Association of Athletics (IAAF) for this country to be the annual host of the latest top brand competition in the sport, the World Relays.
We have made great strides. Having hosted the first two events (2014,2015) and set to do the same again this year, it stands to reason, if everything falls in place, The Bahamas will indeed be the home of the IAAF World Relays every two years.
More than any other aspect, the view here is that the presence of our grand lady of athletics, Pauline Davis-Thompson, on the IAAF Council speaks volumes for our chances. Davis-Thompson is one of the most respected members of the world track and field fraternity. Her devotion for the sport, a driving personality that is charismatic, reasoned and determined, enables her to be that element the IAAF would lean heavily on in making the ultimate decision about the continued hosting of the World Relays.
Davis-Thompson is able to hit the right notes that her international colleagues appreciate.
For instance, in the height of the euphoria of the official announcement this past Wednesday of the latest edition of the World Relays, scheduled here April 22-23, Davis-Thompson presented a very sober perspective.
She pointed out that “hospitality,” our ability to provide quality and enticing service is significant.
“I used to think that it was the sun, sand and sea that attracted people to The Bahamas, but when I really thought about it, all of the other Caribbean countries can offer the same thing. What separates us is the people. They (visitors) always rave about the hospitality they come across when they are here. The IAAF Council is eager to return to The Bahamas and see what will come with this year’s event,” Davis-Thompson was quoted.
It definitely is important for The Bahamas Government, the Local Organizing Committee and all and sundry connected to the World Relays, volunteers, etc. focus on being as hospitable as is possible.
My understanding is that an agreement for The Bahamas to become the documented annual host county for the World Relays is almost a “done deal” indeed. It is good that the bickering that took place earlier on behind the scenes was wiped out, as calmer heads eventually prevailed. There no doubt was some concern at the IAAF level, but all is well that ends well.
Now, a nation is on the world athletics center stage once again, to be judged regarding its capacity to host.
The hope there is that all involved be watchful to ensure that our host reputation is enhanced, not damaged.
(To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at email@example.com).
Published Friday, January 20, 2017