The Bahamas Commonwealth Youth Games 2017 will take place in short order.
In New Providence, July 18-23, competitive events in nine disciplines and fanfare activities will go on. Included in the overall program of the Sixth Commonwealth Youth Games is a royal tradition event called the Queen’s Baton Relay.
Based on the “schedule and logistic” of the Queen’s Baton Relay crafted by the Local Organizing Committee, pomp and pageantry will definitely be attached. However there is a particular link, that I wish to highlight today.
Historic reflection is an important component of Sports Scope and with the greatest sports spectacle ever hosted by The Bahamas, upon us, let’s remember Tommy Robinson. Yes, two of the facilities where Youth Games events will take place bear his name. There is though, another element that is most worthy of being mentioned.
The year 1958 (at the Commonwealth Games) was when the world got the real message that this little country, known at the time as the Islands of the Bahamas, could produce a track talent capable of matching the best and even at times, outdoing the finest from other much greater populated countries.
Robinson won the 220 yards dash and was second in the 100 yards dash. He was a one-man army who carried a nation to glory on his shoulders. I recall the conversations I had with the late, great patriot Robinson. He always spoke matter-of-factly about having to carry the flag, go to delegation meetings, attend to his pre-event training and all of his needs. He talked as though dealing with such a body of work was commonplace.
Robinson admitted though that much of what was going on around the actual competition was like a blur to him, because he was focused on running for his country. One of the happenings, he referred to was the Queen’s Baton Relay.
It was introduced at that same 1958 Commonwealth Games. The Bahamas was there, represented by Robinson. Indeed, Robinson has linked us to so much that is glorious about our history. Now, 59 years later, the Queen’s Baton Relay comes to The Bahamas.
Surely, Tommy is looking at us from that majestic place and smiling.
What is planned, indicates that the LOC appreciates the significance of the Queen’s Baton Relay to the Commonwealth Youth Games. On July 18, there will be courtesy calls on the Office of the Prime Minister and the Governor General following a press conference. Young athletes will engage in a relay ending at the Thomas A. Robinson National Sadium. Two of Robinson’s children will be included.
In the ensuing days, the Queen’s Baton will be introduced to other areas of New Providence with fanfare.
Without a doubt, the Queen’s Baton Relay is a special dimension that will greatly enhance the Commonwealth Youth Games in our land.
At the outset, the relay took place only in the United Kingdom and the particular host country of the games. Now though, the tour is through the Commonwealth of Nations.
This time, The Bahamas has center stage, all these many years since its emergence through Robinson as a nation of athletic prominence, coincided with the birth of the Queen’s Baton Relay.
(To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at sturrup15042gmail.com or on WhatsApp at 727-6363).