The Grand Bahama Primary and Secondary School Athletic Associations (GBPSAA and GBSSAA) rounded up the most outstanding athletes from the 2018-2019 scholastic year to meet with Royal Bahamas Police Force Officials on the island this past June 5.
It has become tradition that executives of both Associations would arrange a date for the RBPF to congratulate, in person, top athletes throughout the year at the Police Headquarters. That Wednesday, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Samuel Butler, and other ranked officials along with Director of Education for the Ministry of Education, Marcellus Taylor, met and congratulated the most outstanding athletes for the 2019 primary and high school track and field athletes.
Also recognized during the ceremony that afternoon was the CARIFTA Swimming and Track and Field teams, the Bahamas National High School Basketball Champions, the St. George’s Jaguars, GBPSAA Primary School Boys’ Softball Champions, West End Primary School, and members of the Special Olympics Bahamas team that competed Abu Dhabi this past March.
While the CARIFTA Teams, the national senior boys’ basketball champions, Special Olympics athletes and primary school softball champions stood and received special recognition, the outstanding primary and secondary track and field athletes were presented with their special awards.
In the primary school division, the most outstanding boy and girl for each age category were honored. The most outstanding athletes among the primary school girls included: Under Seven - Symone Martin (Freeport Gospel Chapel School - FGCS), Under Nine - Keyzera Thomas (FGCS), Under 11 - Rispah Thompson (Freeport Primary School - FPS), and Under 13 girls - Alexis Smith (Tabernacle Baptist Christian Academy - TBCA).
The primary school boys list included: Under Seven - Lyonel Bradley (FPS), Under Nine - Zion Bradford (Sunland Baptist Academy - SBA), Under 11 - Joshua Williams (Maurice Moore Primary - MMP), and Under 13 - Ketrel Cooper (MMP).
The Sportsmanship Award went to East End Primary School’s Ratario Tate. The Most Outstanding Coaches were Hugh Campbell Primary’s Giselle Pinder and Giovanni Campbell.
The Most Outstanding senior girls’ athletes were inclusive of: Under 13 - Pheobe Thompson (Bishop Michael Eldon - BMES), Under 15 - Akaya Lightbourne (SBA), Under 17 - Lashae Smith (SBA), Under 20 - Deazure Nicholls (BMES).
The Most Outstanding senior boys’ included: Under 13 - Quinton Gordon Jr. (TBCA), Under 15 - Linden Johnson (TBCA), Under 17 - Mateo Smith (TBCA) and Taejaun Spence (Jack Hayward Junior High), and Clayton Henfield (TBCA).
The Most Outstanding Coaches were Nickito Johnson and Salaika Williams, both of TBCA.
Taylor was first to address the score of athletes convened in the RBPF Conference Room and shared how sport continues to steer young persons in a positive direction. He furthered that as athletes, sport is a great aid when it comes to sharpening mental focus, which he used to encourage the athletes as they strive for greater heights in their respective disciplines. He also connected that the same focus used in sports should prepare student-athletes for the classroom.
“One of the things you do in sport is set goals. And in setting goals you have to determine the strategy you will use in order to achieve those goals,” he shared, “So if you’re a swimmer you have to know what your personal best is and what you want it to be. Then you have to determine how you have to work to cut your time lower and lower until you get to that goal. The same goes for athletics (track and field).
“In softball, the strategy is a more team-oriented strategy, whereas a team, you have to determine how is it that we have to play together in order to achieve the success we want. So, all of that requires cognitive ability.
“The same discipline that you use in sport to achieve your goals in sports is the same discipline you need to achieve your goals in the classroom. So, sport helps you to prepare your mind.”
Taylor then added that sport also trains the body, physically, and strengthens the athletes spiritually.
“In sport you must obey the rules, you must be gracious in victory and defeat and you must have the camaraderie and the team work and team spirit that makes the whole endeavor worthwhile. So, I want the athletes to realize their success is not only in the gold medal they may have won or the swimming exercise or in the softball. But their real victory is when they constantly work on those things that will develop them holistically.”
It was then ACP Butler’s turn to extend congratulations to the athletes, where he expressed that in their success they have already shown their understanding of what it takes to make it far in life.
“We believe you are here because you already understand some things that take many of us a long time to understand. You’re not going to be able to excel unless you make good on preparation. I know your coaches and parents told you, you must prepare if you wish to continue on the trend of being an excellent athlete.
“You know about good rest and that’s all in the package of how you actually prepare yourself of being this athlete that we are proud of. Then, you have to practice. Practice is not always easy because you have to do some things and give up some things some of us are not prepared to give up.
“You’re well on your way for the time when the cameras, and lights, and parents and teachers are all there watching. So, when you’ve made your preparation and made your practice it makes it very easy for you to perform,” he concluded.