The Freeport News’ Sports Week in Review

Major plans are in the works for an amateur boxing event set to be staged in March 2019. The venture was announced this past Friday at the Castaways Resort and Suites, which will serve as the host hotel for the event.

Also, the Tabernalce Falcons received top honor as the top secondary school throughout The Bahamas last weekend. Principal Edward Johnson said the award was due to the school’s years of hard work and dedication.

Olympic champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo suffered her first defeat of the year, but it did not happen on the track. Following is this week’s edition of The Freeport News’ Sports Week In Review:

First annual Fred Sturrup: Amateur Boxing Showdown announced
Named after one of the sport’s biggest voices and contributors, in Fred Sturrup, retired boxer-turned promoter and Regional Director of the Pan American Caribbean Boxing Organization, Meacher Major, made the announcement this past Friday, December 7. He disclosed that Grand Bahama will serve as the host of the first annual Fred Sturrup Amateur Boxing Showdown.

The event is set to take place at the Wallace Groves Auditorium on March 16, 2019 and will feature some of the best and upcoming amateur talent from throughout the country.

Public Relations Director of the Meacher Major Grand Bahama Boxing Programme, Peter Adderley supplied the introductory remarks at the press conference at Castaways.

“We look forward to talented boxers from throughout the country converging in Grand Bahama for keen competition and to add to this resurgence. There will also be a professional exhibition on that night and we expect that young, talented boxers throughout the country will see this as an annual event where they sharpen their skills, get exposure and move on to the next level.”

In relation to the pre-springtime exhibition being named after the Bahamas Boxing Commission Chairman Sturrup, Adderley stated that this event should serve also to tell the story of Sturrup’s countless efforts in promoting the sport of boxing.

“Meacher has seen fit to make Grand Bahama the hub and we’re also satisfied that his research has found an icon in the sport of boxing and I dub him a Hall of Famer and a living legend. He, Sturrup, has contributed as a trainer, administrator and as a leader both locally and nationally and internationally, and we look forward to a great event here on Grand Bahama.”

Falcons recognized as top school in sports
Over the past 20 years Tabernacle Baptist Christian Academy has become one of the most prominent institutions on the island and now there is full recognition in the wider country.

That point was solidified this past Saturday when the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture (MYSC) recognized the Falcons as the National Secondary Athletic School of the Year at the Awards Gala held in New Providence, at SuperClubs Breezes.

The MYSC’s awards ceremony recognized the best of the best from around the nation and included awards such as the Prime Minister Female Athlete of the year, won by Shaunae Miller-Uibo; Federation of the Year, won by the Bahamas Basketball Federation; and Most Improved Athlete, won by Grand Bahamian and Connecticut Suns’ center Jonquel Jones.

It was quite the year for the Falcons who repeated as Hugh Campbell Basketball Tournament Champions and secured their first-ever National High School Basketball championship. They also made a strong appearance in the National High School Soccer Championships, as the senior boys placed fourth. The Falcons also continued their reign as the local high school champions of track and field, with notable performances put on at the National High School Track and Field meet and they had the most athletes named to the 2018 CARIFTA Team.

Also of note The Falcons, in winning the award, ended St. Augustine’s College (SAC) three-year reign as the top secondary school in athletics.

Despite not having the largest number of students Tabby has become synonymous in the athletics arena and also in the academics category in the country. Being given prestigious honor delighted current principal Edward Johnson.

The Freeport News caught up with Johnson this past Tuesday and he expressed what the award means for the institution.

“We see sports at the school, as not just putting teams together but at developing programmes and we develop those programmes for the long-run. If we have to make a difficult short-term decision for the long-run we’ll make that.

“And we see that the concept, our dedication; our attention to details in trying to find the best opportunities for our students at the next level; all that coming together at that awards ceremony really made it feel like all of our hard work really paid off. It was a very emotional experience, (winning the award), because I know the hard work everyone put in.

“We have to give God the credit because God has really been good to this school. And, then the students, the athletes we managed to get, have been really good. The coaches that we’ve managed to get have been really good, and the staff has co-operated, for sports at this school to take off. This is the greatest athletic award we’ve received to date,” he said.

Miller-Uibo not named IAAF Female Athlete of the Year
Olympic champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo had one of the most historic track and field years to date, which earned her a spot among the finalists for the 2018 International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) Female Athlete of the Year honor.

However, at the IAAF Athletic Awards held in Monaco yesterday evening, the result was disappointing for Miller-Uibo and The Bahamas. Columbia’s Caterine Ibarguen was announced as the recipient of the IAAF’s highest individual female honor, over the Diamond League champion Miller-Uibo and three others.

Both Ibarguen and Miller-Uibo registered magical years for themselves and their countries. The 2018 IAAF Female Athlete of the Year completed an historic long jump / triple jump at the Diamond League and Continental Cup, and ended the year with the triple jump world leading distance of 14.96m.

As for the Diamond Queen, Miller’s dominance in her events, the 200m and 400m was tough to argue against.

She went unbeaten across five events, inclusive of the Diamond League, in 15 races, including a 200m and 4x100m double at the IAAF Continental Cup.

She clocked a world-leading time and new Bahamian national record in the 400 meters with a time of 48.97 seconds on July 20 to eclipse the previous mark of 49.07 set by Tonique Williams back on September 12, 2004.

Miller-Uibo also added Commonwealth Games and IAAF Diamond League championships at 200 meters to her resumé and clocked world best times in the indoor 300m and 150m straight.

Hield bests Ayton in first regular season tilt
For the first time in Bahamian history two of the country’s prominent basketball players and NBA Draft lottery picks. The teams of Buddy Hield (Sacramento Kings) and DeAndre Ayton (Phoenix Suns) went head-to-head at Talking Stick Arena in Phoenix Arizona this past Tuesday night (December 4).

A white-hot start for the now 12-11 Kings helped them roll to a 122-105 victory over the 4-20 Suns.

Hield led all Kings’ scorers with 20 points (Seven-for-13 from the field) while he shot three-for-five from three-point range. The Eight Mile Rock native also corralled five rebounds and finished with one steal on the defensive end. His backcourt running mate, point guard De’Arron Fox added 16 points on five-for-11 shooting, all while dishing out seven assists.

Ayton, who averages a double-double for the season, nearly added another double-double to his rookie resumé. The number one draft pick mustered 10 points (five-for-eight shooting) and pulled down nine boards in the blow-out loss. De’Anthony Melton led all scorers with a game-high 21 points off the bench and dished out five assists.

High schools go X-Treme
Coming off a one-year hiatus the GB X-Treme Half Marathon made its return this past weekend and the Freeport Primary Conquerers were true to their name.

Once again staged at Pirate’s Cove, this past Saturday the marathon, designed to test the will and endurance of distance runners, took on a different approach.

Without any individual contestants registered, local schools here on Grand Bahama formed relay teams and were the ones to take on the challenge of the 13.2 mile trek. The course was designed to combine alternate terrains (beach and road) to give the runners the course challenge.

Sports Forecast
GBSSAA Softball Championships kick-off today (December, 8) at the GB Sports Complex beginning at 12:00 p.m.

Air It Out Four-on-Four Flag Football continues Sunday, December 9 at the Freeport Rugby and Football Club at 1:00 p.m.

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