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Bermuda is a sports haven for amateur athletes

THERE may once have been an argument to justify the 'little to do in Bermuda' whinge.Take away the sea and the sand what's left?Perhaps there was some validity to such a debate. But that's changed in recent years.The argument was finally quashed when columnist, Clarie Hattie, began documenting the week's activities. Seems there's a lot more to do than we thought.Anybody taking the time to look will find there are social, musical and artistic events to meet most people's taste.But to complete that list, one would have to add sport.While Bermuda rarely hosts professional events, from an amateur perspective the Island could be accurately described as a sports haven.The upcoming NatWest Island Games will feature 18 sports alone. Double that figure and you might come close to the sports which are played here on a weekly basis.This weekend is exceptional but not rare.Consider the competitive events alone over this long weekend, Monday being National Hero’s Day:Starting today, there's the first round of golf's Bermuda Amateur Strokeplay Championships at Port Royal. It continues over the next four days, encompassing the Seniors tournament over the final three days.Later today, the National Track and Field Championships get underway at the National Sports Centre. They continue throughout tomorrow afternoon.And also tomorrow afternoon, Clearwater Beach in St David's will be invaded by hordes of children, some as young as four, to take part in the annual Capital G Ironkids triathlon.In the evening arguably the best squash player ever to have played the game, Peter Nicol, will display his skills in an exhibition game against another great, John White. Nicol held the word’s top ranking for 60 weeks.Another exhibition at the Bermuda Squash Racquets Association courts in Devonshire will feature female pros Kacey Brown and Aisling Blake. That all coincides with the final matches of the AXIS Challenge.On Sunday many of the Ironman mums will be heading to the other end of the Island where Somerset's roads will be trampled on by runners in the all-female 'You Go Girl' relay.Over a further distance, Bermuda Bicylce Association will stage their annual Road Racing Championships.Six cricket grounds will host six 12 teams in Premier League matches.As is tradition, June's national holiday will be highlighted by the annual Long Distance Comet Race from Somerset to St George's, no doubt followed by a flotilla of boats.And while all of that's going on, a fleet of some 35 boats will be making their way to Bermuda in the biennial Marion/Bermuda ocean race.At a rough guess, that's well over a thousand competitive sportsman/women in action in a matter of days.As for those engaged in recreational sports, you can probably add another thousand more.The variation astonishing.Sport plays a significant role in many people's lives. That's well known but perhaps not always appreciated by Bermudians or those who live here.Win or lose — and there are some who want to win at all cost — participation overrides everything else.With the additional of the recently opened Aquatic Centre, there aren't too many who could complain about a lack of facilities.For a tiny speck in the middle of nowhere, Bermuda certainly packs in an awful lot.* * * *IT’S interesting that Matt Kuchar, the fourth ranked golfer in the world, would choose Bermuda to complete his preparations for this week's US Open after the Merion course became almost unplayable following days of rain.Some of the players simply retired to the clubhouse, taking advantage of a break in the weather to play a few holes. Phil Mickelson hopped on a plane and flew back to California, others returned to the drier climes of Florida.Kuchar's choice may have had something to do with the fact that Merion, one of the shortest courses to host a major tournament, has some similarities to Mid Ocean.What it lacks in length it tries to make up with deceptive, undulating greens.When last here, former Masters winner Ben Crenshaw, one of the best putters in the game, believed the contours of the greens provided Mid Ocean with a formidable defence.Maybe playing those greens will give Kuchar an edge when he picks up his putter this morning.