Coach Bastian: The Search is on for the next 'Golden Girls' and 'Golden Knights'
The year was 1999 when anchor Debbie Ferguson raced across the finish line at the 1999 IAAF World Championships in Seville, Spain to capture The Bahamas first gold medal.
This was a crowning moment in Bahamian track history.
The members of that team that set The Bahamas' national record of 41.92 seconds were Sevatheda Fynes, Chandra Sturrup, Pauline Davis, and Debbie Ferguson. Eldece Clarke ran in the heats.
One year later in 2000 at the Sidney Olympics, Debbie Ferguson again brought the Bahamas across the line for the country's first ever Olympic Games track and field gold medal and thus the "Golden Girls were born" Jamaica was second in this race and the USA got the bronze medal.
The members of that history-making Golden Girls team were Sevatheda Fynes, Chandra Sturrup, Pauline Davis and Debbie Ferguson.
"The Golden Girls they were great and they had their time but everybody has its time and season," said Head Coach Frederick Bastian of the Kenyan Knights.
"Their season was 12 years ago but at the recent Olympics we had to scrap for a team. We appeared not to have any system in place in regards to the team selection."
In London at the 2012 Olympics in August, the team of former golden girl 40-year-old Chandra Sturrup, Christine Amertil, Sheniqua Ferguson and Anthonique Strachan finished ninth overall in the 4x100 meters missing out on the finals in a time of 43.07.
Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie, who will be 40 in the next Olympics didn't participate in the 4x100 meter relay.
The Bahamas Women's relay teams have failed to advance to the finals in the past two Olympics after winning the silver in 1996, the gold in 2000 and finishing fourth in the 2004.
"We dwell on it and dwell on it; three Olympics later, the rest of the world caught up with us but yet we still taking about the golden girls of the small nation like The Bahamas," said Bastian.
Bastian believes that too many times coaches just hand-pick athletes from private clubs either from Grand Bahama and Nassau and believes the government needs to place more emphasis on the family Island development of athletes.
"I would like to respectfully remind Prime Minister Perry Christie of the promise he made to Moore's Islands that they will get a track for Moore's Island because every Island needs a track for their untapped talent to develop," said Bastian, who also emphasizes that Chris Brown is from Eleuthera and Troy McIntosh from Abaco.
"There are great athletes not only In Nassau and Grand Bahama.'"
Bastian is beginning a new program to develop Hurdlers, long and high jumpers.
"I am targeting kids from 6 -16 year olds and I will teach them the basic fundamentals of these events," said Bastian, who will place special emphasis on the teenage female athlete.
"The emphasis will be placed on females because the males are going to come because at the primary school sports, we have over 42 girls, that's two from each school competed in the long distance races like the 800 and the 1500," said Bastian.
"But somewhere between the seventh grade and the twelve grades in high school, we lose them down the line."
Bastian believes parents need to play a more active role.
"What went wrong here?
They may make the excuse that the training is hard but what in life is not hard," said Bastian.
"We know they are at the puberty and changes in hormones but now we need to still reach high school especially grades 10-12 because they are not active anymore and my plea is for parents to get them involved and have an open communication, ask them why don't they want to run no more?"
Coach Bastian is in search of hurdlers, long jumpers and high jumpers looking to land the next golden girls or golden knights ... the search begins.
Note: Frederick Bastian and The Kenyan Knights meet every weekday from 3:00-5:00 p.m. at the Mary Star track and on Saturdays from 3:00-5:00 p.m.
© 2012 The Freeport News