World championships to take place in Doho, Qatar on Sept 27-Oct 6
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — With less than two weeks to go before the start of the 2019 International Association of Athletic Federation’s (IAAF) World Championships, the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA) is still unsure whether or not it has the finances to field the nine-member team it planned to send.
On Monday, BAAA President Drumeco Archer addressed the association’s financial challenges and also what he called the disconnect between the BAAA and the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture regarding assisting the association with funds.
According to Archer, the BAAA requested $116,000 from the ministry to cover the cost of airline tickets and expenses for the team, however, the ministry has only pledging $50,000.
“Let me be very clear,” he said. “If member federations are not receiving proper funding, they have my 100 per cent support to receive additional funding because that’s really the only way that we could grow sporting programs.
“We all need funding. As for track and field, we want to see the sport develop into a viable industry. We believe that this country has the unique opportunity over many jurisdictions in the world to excel worldwide in track and field, but that could only be done with proper funding behind it.
“We are once again appealing to the Government of The Bahamas to assist us wholeheartedly in getting this entire team to Doha, [Qatar].”
Archer also said the BAAA has been self-sufficient for the better part of his presidency, relying on funding from corporate Bahamas. However, he said that now is not the time to seek assistance from the corporate Bahamas as the nation is still recovering from Hurricane Dorian.
“I believe that we must do our best to ensure that our athletes get there,” said Archer. “Money comes from the Treasury to the benefit of specific projects that we spearhead, and the world championships is one of those.
There has been a long tradition of the government underwriting that cost – it’s never been a consideration. In 2015, we received $150,000 and in 2017, we received $140,000. This is no different than what our expectations are now.”
Archer said that the BAAA submitted a budget to the ministry from February 1, but up until a week ago, there was no indication from the ministry that the amount requested and traditionally budgeted wouldn’t be realized.
He added that although athletes like Steven Gardiner and Shaunae Miller-Uibo may pay their own way to Doha and get reimbursed later, the BAAA refuses to send a team that can only feature some of the athletes that were ratified by the BAAA.