Bahamas Throws Coaches Upset Over Exclusion from National Stadium

By Drew Farmer

Twitter @DrewMFarmer

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After weeks of feeling neglected, the Bahamas throws coaches have taken a stand. The coaches’ are upset and it comes after the “disrespect” shown to them by the National Sports Authority.

The athletics season kicked off with the mandate that all track and field events would be held at the 15,000-seat plus Thomas A. Robinson Stadium. Despite the move of the events, the throwers were left out in the cold; unable to compete at the venue.

Prior to Christmas, the national stadium’s grass infield was renovated. Due to the renovations that took place, the throws teams have not been allowed to participate in the track and field events with the rest of their teams. It seems those in charge are afraid the turf would be damaged.

While runners and jumpers have enjoyed the luxury of competing in events at the Olympic and internationally certified national stadium, the throws athletes have been forced to compete at the University of Bahamas on an uncertified practice field. The step down in venue quality is enormous.  

While throws coaches have voiced their opinions, things have not changed. The rulings on whether throws events can take place have come off disorganised and have not yielded the decisions desired by coaches or athletes. 

The T-Bird Flyers Annual Track and Field Meet has also seen restrictions placed on it. The shot put was given permission to compete at the national stadium (although it was forced to the northern end) however, the javelin and discus were not allowed to compete at the national stadium and had to compete at the University of the Bahamas.  

In support of the unfair treatment of the other throwers, the shot put athletes opted not to compete at the national stadium, and competed also at the uncertified University of Bahamas field.  

Coaches are confused to why the decision was made to move the throws events and their confusion has now boiled over into anger. 

Part of the anger over the field is down to the stadium’s use during an American football game played on December 23. The Popeye’s Bahamas Bowl, contested by American universities Old Dominion and Eastern Michigan, may have showcased the sport to Bahamans, but it also showed that foreign athletes are more important than those that call the country home. 

The stadium’s new grass surface was laid in the track offseason before the Bahamas Bowl. And while Bahamas throwers have been unable to step foot on it, the turf was raved about by the American football teams that run across it in studded football shoes.

“It’s the best grass field I’ve ever been on,” Old Dominion offensive coordinator Brian Scott told the Virginian-Pilot newspaper. “It’s going to be like playing on a real nice golf course.”

The contradictions between American football players digging up the field with cleats and Bahaman throws competitors being unable to participate on their own turf is one that isn’t sitting well with some. Especially when the throwing devices used in shot put, javelin and discus cause far less damage to the natural grass surface than American football.

What started as just throws coaches being upset has no moved onto athletes and parents, who like coaches, want change from the national stadium.

In April, the stadium will host the 2017 IAAF World Relays. While there will be no throws events, the stadium will see plenty of publicity during the two-day competition.

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