Local parent laments condition of high jump bed at Complex

TIME FOR CHANGE — Pictured is the high jump bed currently used for practices at the Grand Bahama Sports Complex. Illustrated are the erected makeshift beams and pole laying on the ground used by high jumpers during practices in the afternoon. (PHOTO: SHAYNE STUBBS)

It has been said for some time now that there has been a lack of attention, in certain areas, with regards to the Grand Bahama Sports Complex.

While the government and the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture has done its best to accommodate and ratify any concerns the public has lamented in the past, some persons still feel more can be done to enhance the local sporting facility.

The Freeport News was contacted by a deeply concerned father last week. Louis Missick, father of National Under 17 High Jump champion and record holder Tyler Missick, was the latest to express his outrage at some of the conditions at the Complex.
In particular, the father of the Tabernacle Falcons’ jumper is not pleased with the condition of the high jump bed that his son and other athletes, must use in their daily practices.

“It is a health risk and it’s just not safe. Psychologically it impairs his ability, because he knows when he lands, the microscopic fibers are going to go up over his head and into his nostrils. Inhaling it becomes a high possibility of contamination,” Missick expressed.

Upon the illustration of landing on the bed and seeing the particles disperse as a result, Missick does not feel this is something his son, a National High Jump champion, or any athlete here on Grand Bahama must have to settle with.
It was also Missick’s belief that the current beds at the Complex were “reject” beds sent from New Providence.

“I’ve brought it to the attention of the powers that be. They’ve said the matter has been fixed, but they sent another reject bed. This is the one they sent from Nassau for our athletes to train on ... It’s horrible. I had to send my son to Nassau to train with coach James Rolle, because of the conditions here in Grand Bahama.

“I’m appealing to the powers that be to address this matter so that we can send quality and healthy athletes to the CARIFTA Games and all the other sporting meets that’s held in The Bahamas.

“We’ve been mentally messed up as parents to know that our children have to practice in these conditions.”

For Missick, he felt the overall practice area for high jump was so bad that he had to construct his own beams and use a pole vault stick for the athletes to use for their jumps. In all, Missick is of the belieft that the Grand Bahama athletes are not being treated with the same respect as the ones in the Nation’s Capital. Missick also stated that he spoke with the Minister at some point and brought the matter to his attention.

“Grand Bahama puts out quality athletes but we’re not being respected and treated in this way. If the respect for our athletes’ health was there this condition would not have prevailed the way it has.”

As it stands the practice beds at the facility are without any protective covering from inclement weather.

Tyler’s head coach, Nickito Johnson issued his take on the overall manner of the Complex and felt enough has not been done to date with the advancement of the Complex.

“I think it’s ridiculous that in the last 10 years Grand Bahama’s stadium has been left in this manner. We’ve asked for a bed so the athletes in Grand Bahama could be treated fairly. The current condition of the bed is that it’s never covered, we don’t have uprights to practice, we don’t even have bars to practice.

“The one young man who is probably the best Under 17 high jumper in the country; look what he’s getting out of it. He has to jump over a pole vault and uprights made by his parents in order for their child to get some kind of practice in. And I think it’s a crying shame on any government we have in place.

“Right now we can’t even find practice discusses or shot puts in the stadium. Talent is here in Grand Bahama, but we need the support of the Government to do something about it.”

This daily caught up with the Complex’s manager, Gladstone “Moon” McPhee who disclosed that the Complex were recipients of four new jumping beds that were sent for the High School Track and Field Nationals last year. The only issue is that there is no protective covering for those mats, so they can’t have those beds exposed, which are currently stored at the Jack Hayward Gymnasium. The beds are mainly used for competition. And due to the lack of storage space at the Complex, subsequently the older beds get left out in the open.

“We have four new jumping mats. The problem is we don’t have any coverings for those mats so we can’t leave them out. This parent knows we have new mats but we don’t have any place to store them at the Complex.

“The old mats, they end up getting left in the rain and so on. We don’t advise anyone to use them. And in all honesty he shouldn’t be using that bed.

“We got beds they sent over for the Nationals but they didn’t send any covering for them. So we can’t leave them out there. But whenever we have meets we bring those beds out.”

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