Head coach of the Kenyan Knights Track Club, Freddy Bastian, is looking to play his hand in the sports tourism field.
Bastian told The Freeport News that he has already begun preparations to make his Annual Cross Country event an international affair.
Bastian says that he has been in talks, recently, with his track and field connections in the United States, Canada and Mexico, who he maintains have always been interested in taking part in track meets in The Bahamas.
He most recently paid a visit to Tampa and Orlando where he spoke with some of the coaches.
“For the past couple of years they have always asked me about putting on track meets where they can come over. We always network because we (Kenyan Knights) always go to two track meets, a year, in the United States,” he shared.
He went on to say that he brought the idea to the coaches a few years ago, but he never had the time or opportunity to bring it to fruition.
“There’s a lot of groundwork you would have to do. And at that time I was working at Mary Star, which made it difficult for me to do this. Now that I don’t have a regular job I can do the groundwork. So I decided to put it together and this is why I started the cross country event,”
He continued, “So I decided that once I hold it for the first year locally, then next year I would make it international and national, so Family Island athletes would be in as well and also international athletes.”
Bastian is taking advantage of the network he has.
He stated that over 100 track clubs would be at the track meets he and his track club would visit. This, he noted, sparked the idea for him to create something, potentially, special.
He added that athletes from Mexico are expected to be major players in his sports tourism venture.
“When I did my elite certification course in Mexico, I met a lot of the local coaches and the coaches in the schools. I also had the chance to work with a lot of the local kids after my classes,” he shared.
He recalled initially working with 30 kids during his time in Mexico, which grew to some 100 kids.
“So when they saw that the next day the coaches came out and asked me if I wanted to work with the kids in their clubs. Within four days I worked with 500 kids.”
Bastian recalled that he made it a point to bring them over to The Bahamas after he started his own program.
He added that after God gave him the vision to make the cross country event an international affair, he decided that he would use the link he has to Mexico.
“They met me over in Ft. Lauderdale and I gave them 150 flyers to take back. I just got a phone call last night from one of the coaches and they already started putting them into the schools and with the coaches.
“I also spoke with a coach over in Canada and we started to network together on some stuff we may do together one day.”
Bastian believes that sports is a tool that can make a significant impact, if you use in the right way.
“Like I say, sports or track and field is a tool and if you use it in the right way with the help of the good Lord you can change a nation.”
This year’s cross country event continues this Saturday, October 25, 2014 at the Ruby Golf Course beginning at 7:30 a.m.
You can register online at firstname.lastname@example.org or at the golf course. Fees apply.
Published Thursday, October 23, 2014