BTFA Year in Review

November 1, 2010

[Written by Donna Watson, President of the Bermudas Track & Field Federation] I watched the movie “Invictus” this weekend and it made me think about the year we have had in track & field and also what we have on our plate for the next few years coming up and remember we had touched base on the subject. It truly inspired me and thought about how far track & field has come over the last 2 years and where we are going. Below are my thoughts.

This has been a very successful year in track & field beginning with the NACAC Cross country championships. This is the first time in several years that we sent a team to this event and we sent a young team that did us justice. Fortunately for us this team will be able to stay together and progress in this event over the next few years. We then sent a team of 23 athletes to the Carifta Games that were held in the Cayman Island and returned with 11 medals which is the most we have captured in several years. This team was made up of youth and experience therefore we have a great future in front of us. We then sent a team of 15 athletes to the CAC Jnr event and we returned home with 4 medals. In both of those events Carifta and CAC Jnr we had some true athlete hopefuls with Jeneko Place medaling in both events in the 100m & 200m, being selected for the first Youth Olympic Games and qualifying for the World Junior Championships. We had Shaquille Dill and Henry Stevens-Carty who medaled in Carifta and CAC Jnr and placing 1st and 2nd in the 800m at the CAC Jnr event. This again proving the strength of our middle distance runners in Bermuda.

Throughout the season we had our athletes in college/university kicking up a storm. Notably Aaron Evans who has a fantastic future in front of him if he continues on the path that he is currently on. The first time qualifying for the NCAA Championships and coming out with a 3rd place in the 800m and is now ranked 3rd overall in the NACAC region. He also broke the International record in the 800m which has stood for several years. Not to be outdone was Arantxa King who placed 2nd in the Long Jump at the NCAA championships. During the year we had Shianne Smith who broke the record in the Heptathlon and graduated from Cal State this year completing her 4 year degree while on a track scholarship.

We then moved on to the NAC U23 championships where Aaron Evans picked up another medal in that event. Tre Houston who received funding from the BOA in preparation for the Commonwealth Games set a PB in the 200m of 21.04 after training for 6 months with Tony Lester. The CAC Games came next with Tyrone Smith placing 1st in the Long Jump with a new Bermuda record of 8.22m. That was a great experience for me as I was asked to present the medals for the Men’s Long jump event.

We had Jeneko Place competing in the 1st World Youth Games and making it to the finals and placing 5th in the world in his age group to end his season. Unfoturtnately due to such a long season and the timing of the Commonwealth Games we were only able to send 2 athletes and they performed very well with Tre Houston finishing with a PB in the 100m and making it to the semi-finals in the 200m.

With us having such a successful season we have a few victories that have taken place. We have received $5000.00 from Samsung in Jamaica to send a few of our middle distance runners to compete in the Gibson relays which is a big event that takes place yearly in Jamaica to compete in their Invitational Mile. We have also received sponsorship from ASICS and they have custom designed our uniforms for our team for the World Outdoor Championships next year. We received partial sponsorship from them last year for our uniforms but will have our own custom uniforms following the world championships. So we are being recogized Internationally.

We have also had a few of our athletes who have gone off to college/university this year on track scholarships and competing in their schools track & field program. We still have Tre Houston training with Tony Lester and has also enrolled in college in the UK.

Now as we look forward to the next two years our focus is on the Carifta Games 2012 which will be held in Bermuda. Our slogan is “SPORTS BRINGS PEOPLE TOGETHER” and our logo is attached. We have our committee and have already begun meeting and planning this event with several areas already in place. One of the main areas we are focusing on is to start a drive to get more athletes on board, send a good size team to Carifta 2011 so that we can have a formidable and good size team in 2012 in front of our home crowd. We need to get the Bermuda public, Corporations pumped up and behind the team so as I saw in the “Invictus” movie we will have the stands full and everyone supporting and feeling pride when our athletes step on the track.

Also, while the preparation for the Carifta Games 2012 is being one of our main focus of course our other focus is the preparation of our athletes for London Olympics 2012. Again my hope is that we send a number of athletes, Tyrone, Arantxa, Aaron, Tre, Shianne and possibly others to these games but not just to compete but to be competitive.

On top of all of this we also have a very busy 2011 ahead of us with our calendar of events with junior to senior events. We will have the CAC Age Group event, World Junior Championships, World Championships and Pan Am Games as some of our highlights.

As you can see we have a lot on our plates over the next couple of years and as I always say we have enough to keep our Track & Field athletes out of trouble and on the track.

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