The Bahamas water polo team received a hero’s welcome at the Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA) upon their return home Monday night.
Scores of parents, delegates and media swarmed the International Arrivals section of the airport to greet the athletes that made history in Kingston, Jamaica this past weekend, by sweeping the Caribbean Free Trade Agreement (CARIFTA) Water Polo Championships.
The team came away with gold medals in the under-19, under-16 and under-14 boys divisions.
Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Michael Pintard was on hand to welcome the team. He said that what the young athletes accomplished at the championships was nothing short of remarkable, and that the win will serve as motivation for other young athletes representing the country in the near future.
“It is a great accomplishment for a country that just got into this sport not too long ago to achieve such a feat,” Pintard said.
“All credit to the federation and coaches for preparing this team. We know that all of the other athletes that will represent The Bahamas over the Easter weekend will use this as motivation headed into their event.
“We congratulate the athletes on a job well done and want them to know that they have the full support of the ministry. We will do our part to help the sport to grow locally. These athletes have our commitment in that regard. We know that water polo needs a facility, and we have a few things in the work to help out. While we can’t do it all, we can do our part to help out.”
Bahamas Aquatic Federation (BAF) President Algernon Cargill echoed similar sentiments and said, he also believes that the swim team will use the water polo team’s performance as a motivator headed into the upcoming CARIFTA Swimming Championships.
“In regards to water polo, our coaches Laszlo Borberly and Chris Illing and others, have done a great job working with these kids in such a short time,” Cargill said.
“Just a few years ago we used to get dominated by these teams, now we are the best in the Caribbean in three divisions. It’s great anytime you can say you are the best in the Caribbean, and right now, its indisputable that we are the best.
“I know the swimmers are looking forward to getting to Jamaica and picking up where the water polo team left off. And I am confident that we will be able to defend our crown at this year’s CARIFTA.”
In under-19 boys action, The Bahamas avenged its CARIFTA final loss to Jamaica on Sunday, knocking off the home team 13-10 to secure the gold medal. In the Under-16 division, The Bahamas cruised to an easy 17-3 win over Jamaica, and in the Under-14 division, team Bahamas completed the sweep with a 16-2 win over Jamaica.