In this space, I have often lamented the dire position the national sports fraternity, in general, is in, regarding funding.
My point was cemented once again, when our young boys of water polo excellence had to settle for a bronze medal. It was confirmed that there was insufficient funding to allow them to remain in Christ Church Barbados, for the final of the Under-18 Central American and Caribbean Amateur Swimming Confederation (CCCAN) Water Polo Championships.
The situation has become a hot topic. The official Opposition Progressive Liberal Party has issued a statement, quite critical of the circumstances. This is to be expected as it is the nature of the political breed (all of them), to jump on issues they feel can give mileage. It has been established, also, that the bronze medal actually qualified The Bahamas for the Pan American Youth Water Polo Championships, next year. They had reportedly already qualified for the PanAm event this year, scheduled for Trinidad/Tobago August 14-24.
The organizations directly connected to the young water stars are the Bahamian water polo club, and the ultra-responsible Bahamas Aquatics Federation. I wish readers to understand the big picture in this situation regarding protocol. The Water Polo Club is fully under the jurisdiction of the BAF.
I have been told that participation in the CCCAN Water Polo Championship was essential to qualify for the 2020 Pan Am Youth affair. The water polo lads have progressed beyond the expectations of many, and are potentially the strongest element of the BAF, in my view.
There is an inside issue the BAF ought to address, because it should be clearly demonstrated that the water polo athletes are being given equal treatment. I don’t submit in his instance that this is not the case. It is alarming though, that under the auspices of the BAF, they have been allowed to travel with a cloud of financial uncertainty over their heads. The water polo parents are to be congratulated for stepping forward to whatever extent, financially.
At the end of the day though the BAF has to accept responsibility for the water polo competitors. It is actually the BAF that has to endorse their participation in regional and international competitions. That is my understanding.
The dilemma faced by the water polo lads is heart-wrenching. If the BAF saw fit to endorse participation, then a level of priority was attached to the endorsement. Once there, the water polo squad should have been empowered financially to stay the course. The BAF can’t escape having total responsibility, ultimately.
Yes indeed, I call on the BAF to please shed some more light on this situation.
Nevertheless, the water polo lads are to be applauded, as well as the parents who, were largely responsible for The Bahamas to be represented at CCCAN, a significant stepping-stone towards the Pan Am Youth Championships participation.
•To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at firstname.lastname@example.org or on WhatsApp at 727-6363.