Continuing to add some international flavor to its track and field program, the Neymour’s Athletics Club is scheduled to feature a melting pot of local and international talent at the upcoming fourth annual Basil O. Neymour Memorial Track and Field Classic.
The one-day event, named after the deceased sports pioneer, gets underway this coming Saturday, February 13 starting at 11:00 a.m. at the Grand Bahama Sports Complex. Over the next few days head coach and president of NAC, Jerial Forbes, along with other organizers will continue to meet and greet the incoming international athletes.
On Monday, February 8, 200-meter and 400m specialist Julian Klenner out of Pennsylvania made his arrival into Freeport, Grand Bahama. This marks his second trip to the country, as the sprinter and quarter-miler competed at NAC’s Odd Distance Christmas Fiesta in December 2020.
Klenner said he certainly enjoyed his time on the island during that meet and is hoping to recreate that same magic on this trip.
“We just got done with some great training up in Pennsylvania. It’s been snowing the past couple of weeks, so it’s beautiful to make it back down to the island (Grand Bahama).
“I couldn’t wait to come out here and get some warm air on my legs and get a chance to run some fast times. I’ve been training really hard and I’m ready to do some good work out here.”
His coach, Rohan Grant shared that their first impression of the island’s hospitality, along with the connections made, was more than enough motivation to return. Even more, they wanted to continue supporting NAC’s mission of attracting international athletes to the island, he said.
“We were overwhelmed, really, with the reception that we got and the connection that we made to the island. Coming back here in the shadows of the hurricane that happened over a year ago, we’re here really to support what Neymour Athletics is trying to do in raising awareness for track and field and getting the community back to supporting the sport.”
Coach Forbes shared that hosting the event this year holds even more sentimental value. In the wake of the passing of Basil’s wife, Paula, Forbes said it was important to continue with the meet in honor of both their memories and their contributions to sports.
“It’s just in me as the president and head coach of NAC to continue doing what they would have done if they were here.
“We have teams coming in from the United States, clubs out of Kingston Jamaica again. We have a variety of athletes from the junior division to the pro division coming in. We anticipate this event to be a strong one.
“The Grand Bahama track and field coaches know of Mr. Neymour’s unselfish contributions and they have decided to come on board and have their athletes,” he stated.
In a broader perspective, the former competitor-turned coach wants to continue building a bridge between Grand Bahama and athletes around the world. Understanding the logistics and potential attracting power the island has, Forbes hopes to assist in having more eyes turned toward the island.
“Our goal is to continue networking with the international track and field community. The reason being is to ensure the world knows about Grand Bahama, the talent that’s here and how we can host quality meets and events.
“The international community has been so receptive to all of our invitations. They jump on board as soon as we send them out. We’re very grateful.
“These coaches with the youth athletes bring kids from all walks of life and they’re able to see the Bahamian culture. We have so much to offer and through track and field it is a gateway to boosting the economy of Grand Bahama.” Health and safety protocols will be strictly enforced according to Forbes and spectators will have to watch from their cars, which will be allowed to park around the perimeter of the Complex.