When former Prime Minister Perry Christie put his idea of a National Sports Academy to a number of prominent sports leaders some five years ago, it was clear that that he wanted an umbrella entity that would go beyond training, conditioning and mentoring.
He desired a dimension to the national sports landscape that would marry education and dormitory life with the basic development of skill sets for the respective disciplines. I liked the concept a lot, so did all others around the table. It was one of the brilliant moments evolving out of Christie’s up-and-down national leadership tenures.
The then Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, Dr. Daniel Johnson was present, of course, and with his core group of sports leaders, took off for Cuba relatively soon thereafter to observe from close-up, the many facets of that island’s massive sports academy. In Cuba, the national program is much broader, inclusive of, actually several schools that operate within the system.
It was an enriching experience for me, and I’m sure, that was true for the others on the trip. Deacon D’Arcy Rahming was there. It was a teaching opportunity for all of us. Fast-forward to the present, and Rahming is the High Performance Director of the recently launched Bahamas Judo Sport Academy.
In Grand Bahama, the Grand Bahama Sports Promotion Association, that I head, along with Ambrose Gouthro is networking with Gladstone McPhee’s HOYTES program to establish an academy that would cater to multiple sports; golf, boxing and basketball, primarily.
In Moore’s Island, as mentioned in this space on a number of occasions, Coach, the Reverend Anthony Williams, has an ongoing sports academy. Throughout the country, there are programs that are either earmarked for individual mini-academy status or could easily be inculcated into the parent National Sports Academy, first proposed by Christie.
It is from such a backdrop, the present Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, Michael Pintard, is now able to function. He has much to feed off. His ministry does not have to bear the whole burden of structuring the National Sports Academy.
There are a number of helpmates, willing partners. The Judo Academy, headed by Rahming, who is also the sport’s national president, is another definite step, similar to that of Moore’s Island, that demonstrate the capacity of Bahamian sports leaders to drive such an important initiative.
Rahming and his associates are to be congratulated. I expect, if the Judo Academy gets the financial support it deserves Rahming will grow it into something quite significant.
It is possible that the World Junior Judo Championships might be hosted in this country this coming October. The coming on stream of the Judo Academy is timely. Judo is indeed poised to heighten its status in The Bahamas and beyond. The sport experienced a breakthrough internationally with two bronze medals at the Commonwealth Youth Games last year.
There certainly is the need for the National Sports Academy to become established, and thus to be in place, to bolster member associates such as the Bahamas Judo Sport Academy.
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