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Bahamas rested Chris Brown from relay and paid a price

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Senior Sports Reporter
The Tribune
Saturday, September 10, 2011

THE 13th IAAF World Championships is over, but the criticism continues. Many are still peeved over the performance of the men's 4 x 400 metre relay.

It was definitely a disappointing showing from the team of Ramon Miller, Avard Moncur, Andrea Williams and LaToy Williams.

The coaching staff, including Fritz Grant and Frank 'Pacho' Rahming, made the decision to rest both Chris 'Fireman' Brown and Demetrius Pinder with the view that the quartet would have been able to get the job done in the semifinal and qualify for the final.

For the record, the coaches made their decision, the quartet went out and they competed to the best of their ability.

But as Andrae Williams so aptly stated, the Bahamas should be grateful for the many years that the 4 x 4 team has remained a formidable force on the international scene.

It was disheartening that for the second consecutive year, the team didn't get a lane in the final. At the previous champinoships in Berlin, Germany in 2009, the Bahamas got disqualified for running out of the exchange zone on the first hand over between Miller and Moncur. Both competitors returned to their same spots in Daegu and ran well to put the Bahamas in contention.

But I have to admit, the final two legs run by Williams and Williams - no relation - didn't make up sufficient ground to give the Bahamas a chance to advance to the final. While the United States were vunerable, the Bahamas had a golden opportunity to surge right in for a medal.

So I was a little off my predictions of a minimum of two and a maximum of five medals from the nine days of competiton.

And while I have to admit that the relay was on one my list, I have to give credit to Trevor Barry, who defied all of the odds and emerged as the lone medalist with his bronze in the men's high jump. I don't think anybody expected the sub-par performance from Donald Thomas, the 2007 champion from Osaka, Japan, who had Barry's number for the last few years on both the local and international scene.

This was just Barry's chance to shine and he certainly took advantage of it. It couldn't happen to a more deserving athlete who paid his dues, perservered and managed to prevail at the right time and on the right stage.



BAAA coach digs deep hole with explanation
By Fred Sturrup
The Freeport News
Thursday, September 22, 2011

During the early 1970s when a young Fritz Grant trained every afternoon with Leslie Miller and Kevin Johnson, I got to know him. It was really a foursome on many occasions because I tagged along, running the Sonesta Beach (now Breezes SuperClub) golf course with the athletes.

We enjoyed some very pleasant chats and Fritz demonstrated an excellent character then. I have observed him through the years and my view of him remained the same.

Grant evolved into one of the high-profiled track and field mentors in the country and I felt good about the strides he made.

Last week, Grant was the key figure when the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations met with members of the media to seek to explain away the massive mistake made with the 1,600m relay team in Daegu, South Korea, during the International Association of Athletic Federations World Track and Field Championships.

Much of what Grant had to say in his defense and that of Coach Frank Rahming was out of character with the young lad I first met some four decades ago. In fact, he succeeded in digging a bigger hole.

I wonder whether there was a discussion about what would be said. There must not have been one because what unfolded during the interaction with the media was a cop-out.

Coach Grant as the head decision maker should deal with the issue squarely.

He and his assistants failed to fulfill the commitment, their responsibility to the 1,600 relay team.

The explanation was sad.

When he reportedly said that the quarter milers were asked their views and that the decision to run the three slowest runners in the first round was not "solely" his and Rahming's, was Grant attaching some of the blame to the athletes?

It sure sounds that way.

Then according to reports, he spoke to the "lack of team chemistry" and improper "evaluation."

How ridiculous is this?

Isn't it the job of the Head Coach to ensure that there is indeed team chemistry? That ought to be one of the priorities of any head coach.

Also, who has the top mandate to evaluate the athletes?

Then, the public through the media was reportedly told that "based on the field (at the IAAF Championships) we still feel (that) if the young men did the job, we would (have) moved through".

That's an incredible position to take.

Did Grant and Rahming think they were at a Central American and Caribbean Games?

For goodness sake, on the stage in Daegu were the best athletes in the world. How then, could a well-thinking coach put three runners who had done no better than 46.18 in the open 400 meters for the season, in the first round line-up and realistically hope to advance?

This is the clincher from Grant.

"Our athletes were not at the level at that point in time and were not sharp," the coach reportedly said.

Well of course, athletes running 46.18 are not at the "top" world level. You are not sharp when your 46 seconds clocking compares with others running 44 seconds. I have to say, in Daegu, it was coach Fritz Grant and yes the veteran mentor Rahming who were "not at the level at that point in time."

The view here is that the excuses made by Grant amounted to putting salt in an open wound.

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