November 29, 2021

Bahamas becoming sports host paradise

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fred-sturrupBy Fred Sturrup, Sports Scope – From Grand Bahamas The Freeport News

No other country in the Caribbean region is at the level of The Bahamas when it comes to hosting mega sports events. Once in bygone decades, Jamaica was the country in the West Indies area that played host to the top regional and international sporting events.

In fact, Jamaica set the stage for what has become magical for The Bahamas. Today, without a doubt, with the Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Sports maximizing their Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to promote and market the country’s sports tourism package, The Commonwealth of The Bahamas has become a sports paradise.

A spectacular list of high level sporting events include innovative initiatives in connection with the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), the National Football League (NFL), Major League Baseball (MLB), the International Federation of American Football (IFAF), the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), and Popeyes Football and National Basketball Association NBA) teams.

Such a lineup puts The Bahamas head and shoulders above its sister Caribbean nations and makes the nation comparable to some of the world’s major countries with populations in the multi millions.

The aforementioned collective sports tourism program is giving The Bahamas a sports mecca reputation. Tourism and Sports Ministers Obie Wilchcombe and Dr. Daniel Johnson respectively, are driving the collective effort. To a great degree, they are providing the positive balance for a government under siege in many other aspects of Bahamian life.

Indeed, other than the major international activities like the IAAF World Relays, the World Flag Football Championships, World Beach Soccer Championships and the possible NFL Pro Bowl extravaganza, through Wilchcombe, The Bahamas might soon be the regular home for NBA exhibition games and MLB spring training competitions.

There is certainly a lot on the table.

It’s a pleasure to point out here that the Ministry of Sports has revitalized the National Sports Academy program. According to Youth, Sports and Culture Minister Johnson, he is finalizing the official national structure for the academy, inclusive of particular focus on the North and Central Bahamas, with the base of operation being in New Providence.

Beginning January, 2016, with strategic partners, the sports academy will be officially launched.

This is excellent and encouraging news for the national sports fraternity, going into 2016. The government ministers are encouraged to expand their joint efforts to include those stakeholders who have the mindset for hard work and proper structuring of the various segments of the academy program.

Once this happens, The Bahamas for the first time in its history will have a formal national sports development program.

Best wishes to Ministers Wilchcombe and Johnson with their plans.

IMAGE: Fred Sturrup FN General Manager/Managing Editor

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