It’s a new year and Fast Track Athletics (FTA) is expected to jump start the sporting calendar for 2021.
The Sixth Annual Fletcher J. Lewis Track and Field Invitational is slated to serve as the first sporting event for the new year, on January 30, at the Grand Bahama Sports Complex starting at 9:00 a.m.
With Fast Track celebrating nine years of existence, Head Coach and President Ravanno Ferguson shared with The Freeport News that clubs around the island are certainly excited and energetic about the upcoming meet.
Following health and safety protocols, the event will not have spectators in the arena. Clubs will be designated to their respective sections and each section is expected to be separated, 20-30 feet apart, with social distancing being strictly enforced.
First Vice President of the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA), Ferguson also informed that only four competitors will take to the track for each race. The meet is also set to be staggered from a time frame perspective. The primary school students (Under Seven, Under Nine, Under 10 and Under 11) are expected to compete between the hours of 9:00 a.m - 12:00 p.m.; while the junior and senior school athletes will compete within the 12:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. window.
“Obviously this year is going to be different because of the COVID-19 protocols. So, we’re planning to run four athletes at a time so there’s a space between each lane just due to protocols that’s been set in place, for us to have a track meet.
“The clubs are looking forward to a well-organized event. We’re looking to give some excitement back to track and field and we’re kicking that off with this invitational.”
Despite the CARIFTA qualifying standards being unknown at this point, the meet will have automatic timing in place. Once the standards are known, Ferguson noted that the meet will serve as a qualifying affair.
The former national team athlete also revealed that Fast Track along with the Grand Bahama Amateur Athletic Association (GBAAA) and several clubs are planning to host a series of track and field events in the near future.
“The kids are looking forward to having an event and we just want to put forth an event the kids can enjoy. We’re just doing this for them. Between us, the GBAAA, and several other clubs, we’re trying to put on a track and field series locally so we can keep the kids active,” said Ferguson.
Since sports came to a complete halt in the country back in March, 2020, associations have been seeking ways to ensure that athletes can safely compete and practice for their respective events. So far, track and field has been one of the only three disciplines to be active in the country from a competitive perspective.
Last month (December), both Neymour’s Athletics and the BAAAs hosted their Odd Distance meets. In swimming the Bahamas Aquatics Association hosted the End-of-Year Time Trials in New Providence last month as well. Also, in that month, the Grand Bahama Port Authority, Grand Bahama Power Company and iElite Sports Academy out of New Providence sponsored and aided in the hosting of the New Balance Future Stars Series at the EMERA Baseball Park.
Ferguson’ said that he believes firmly in the possibility of having a safe track and field season.
“I’m definitely looking forward to us having a season. In two days (January 9) the T-Bird Flyers Club will be hosting its event over in New Providence. That will be the first event for the year in Nassau,” he informed.