Top names absent from National Championships due to BNAA finances
Bermuda’s top overseas athletes will not return for the Track and Field National Championships due to the financial constraints of the sport’s governing body.
The Championships, to be held at the National Sports Centre on Friday and Saturday, will be a more low key affair than last year’s spectacle when Olympic long jumper Tyrone Smith, 800 metres runner Aaron Evans and heptathlete Shianne Smith headed home to compete.
Last year’s annual two-day festival also saw 18 US athletes, many of who had competed in Olympic trials for London 2012, take on Bermuda’s best.
In absence of those top names, Bermuda National Athletics Association president Donna Watson said she would be looking for the Island’s youngsters to provide the entertainment.
“Due to finances we’re not bringing in any (overseas) athletes this year,” she said.
“We have had several requests from the (US) athletes who came here last year wanting to come again but we can't afford it this year.
“Unfortunately this year is going to be a little more low key than last year.
“We will be looking at our Carifta Games medallists such as Kyrah Scraders, Sakari Famous and Juma Mouchette to perform well and show Bermuda the talent that saw them medal in the Bahamas a few months ago.
“We will also be looking at good performances from Shaquille Dill, Dage Minors and Tre Houston.”
BNAA head coach Troy Douglas said the Championships would help the Island’s promising youngsters prepare for upcoming international competitions like the World Youth Championships in the Ukraine next month.
“I’m excited about our junior athletes trying to prepare for the World Youth Championships,” said the four-time Olympian.
“We have all four of them (Scraders 800 and 1500 metres; Justin Donawa triple jump; Tahari Butterfield 100 and 200 metres, and Kidane Callender 100 and 200 metres) here right now.
“I’m also really looking forward to the boys’ 400 metres because I feel Antonio Bailey and Michiah Robinson have shown good improvement since the Carifta Games they have really grown.”
While admitting the BNAA were facing budget constraints, Douglas said it made sense for Bermuda’s top athletes to remain off-Island with many due to compete at overseas meets this weekend.
“To bring in the big names costs a lot of money and to be honest we don’t have the budget this year,” said Douglas, who confirmed that senior athletes Houston (100 and 200 metres) and middle distance runners Dill and Tamika Williams would compete at the Championships.
“Also, most of the athletes have competitions overseas (this weekend). Guys like Tyrone, Arantxa (King), Aaron and Shianne are doing well overseas and it makes sense to let them stay where they are.”
The Championships starts at 5pm on Friday and 3pm on Saturday.