IAAF World Relays 2019 time frame gets confirmed

DIONISIO D’AGULAR, Minister of Tourism

The Bahamas, from all appearances, definitely will bypass the wonderful opportunity to host the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) 2019 edition of the World Relays.

On the IAAF website home page over the weekend, splashed the headline: IAAF World Relays—(next event 223 days to go) 11 May-12 May 2019 (TO BE CONFIRMED). This means that the IAAF fully intends for there to be a 2019 World Relays, despite still shopping around for a host nation, it seems.

Several months ago, the Cabinet of The Bahamas made the decision that the $5 million price tag was too much and thus, this country’s face would be removed from one of the most prestigious sporting events in the world. There has been absolutely no indication of the slightest interest in our government, to revisit the discussion about hosting the 2019 World Relays.

This is ridiculous, and in my view, an indictment against the government.

Unable, obviously, to grasp the significance of being the only nation associated with the event since its inception in 2014, this government looks bad, totally out of it, regarding sports. This outlook clearly illustrates that this central administration does not fully appreciate the great impact of sports on the world.
I submit that $5 million would be a great bargain, to be able to bring to this country such an international product that would directly connect The Bahamas for the two-day duration, to the entire world.

As an example, I put into evidence, the IAAF web page that showcases the World Relays. It‘s actually a flashback, utilizing photos, inclusive of the exchange between Steven Gardiner and Shaunae Miller-Uibo before she passed the baton to Anthonique Strachan and then on to Michael Mathieu, who brought home the gold for The Bahamas.
This is free publicity for The Bahamas on a grand scale, my goodness!

The Ministry of Tourism routinely pays millions of dollars for that kind of marketing of The Bahamas.

The IAAF World Relays did that for us. It is simply mind-boggling that the Minister of Tourism and his colleagues at that place, which the taxpayers of this country depend so heavily upon to appropriately sell us to the world, seemingly do not see it fitting to go all out to convince the Cabinet to put the World Relays back on the table.
The IAAF world Relays product is an ideal tool, but this government thinks otherwise. Sadly, other than from this space, there has been no meaningful protest against this government’s decision. Yes, privately, and I’ve heard many irate comments, but my fellow sports leaders have not demonstrated the courage to go public with their strong views on the issue.

It’s small wonder that the respective central administrations are allowed to give sports peanuts from the national budget, annually, and get away with the injustice.

I challenge Minister of Tourism Dionisio D’Aguilar to get his experts together and come up with a dollar value for the marketing exposure given The Bahamas via the IAAF World Relays product and the graphics and scripts on the website.

In fact, wise heads would recognize the IAAF web page as a prime marketing vehicle.

It’s not too late. The IAAF is still shopping.

(To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred stirrup at sturrup1504@gmail.com on onWhatsApp at 727-6363).

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