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Bahamian Athletes endure tough run with injuries

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Tough year for injury-ridden Bahamian athletes
Senior Sports Reporter
The Tribune
14 August 2010

IF you're a track and field fanatic, you would probably realise by now that this has not been a typical year for the Bahamian track and field stars.

Call it what you want, but there have been so many of our athletes hit by the injury bug that there has been little to report on over the last few months.

The latest victim was veteran sprinter Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie, who had to spend a night in hospital enroute from the Central American and Caribbean Games.

Ferguson-McKenzie, at age 34, is not one to really complain. But she did point out in an interview yesterday that it's not as easy as it was at 24 to be in transit from one meet to the other.

That would make me to believe that the years of toiling from one competitive season to the other to compete at the World Championships and the Olympic Games is starting to become a reality.

In travelling to the CAC Games in Puerto Rico last month, Ferguson-McKenzie said she only went with the intention of running on the women's 4 x 100 metre relay.

But because there were so many injuries to the team by the time the event came around, she decided to leave, having not competed at all.

Although she was entered in the 200 metres, the national record holder cleared the air stating that "I had informed the BAAA that I was only going there to compete in the relay."

In fact, Ferguson-McKenzie said while she understands that it's important for the Bahamas to have its best team assembled to compete at regional meets like the CAC, she thinks it would be best to allow more of the developmental athletes to compete in the individual events.

Like I said, Ferguson-McKenzie is not one of your typical athletes to complain about too many things. But she noted that both her and 37-year-old Chandra Sturrup found it rather difficult to be climbing up on bunk beds without a ladder every night.

I think it's only fair that elite athletes should be allowed to be exempt from meets such as the CAC, which don't require the most stringent qualifications.

If we expect to see our top athletes shining at the World Championships and the Olympics, then there should be some limit as to what events they are allowed to compete in.

This year has been a typical example because those who have not been injured from the wear and tear of the vigorous training have decided to already shut down their season.

And that's not only true of the Bahamas. Around the world more and more of the elite athletes have decided to take advantage of what is being dubbed an "off year" because of the lack of a major competition this year.

The Commonwealth Games is still to come, but because of the time it is being held, it's not going to feature as many of the best athletes as one would see at the World Championships or the Olympics.

So there's no reason why we can't be patient and allow our elite athletes to take the time to properly heal and prepare for the bigger and more important meets coming up in the next two years.

We need to see more of the athletes like Shaunae Miller being given the opportunity to compete at such meets like these so that they can gain the experience and exposure to step in to take over when the veterans start to fade away.

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