FREEPORT, GRAND BAHAMA — Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Philip Davis said he would love to have the next edition of the World Relays return home to The Bahamas.
In fact, the Prime Minister added that negotiations for this possibility are already underway, noting that it was not accidental that the CEO of the World Athletics body was in The Bahamas.
The prime minister’s remarks came during the opening ceremony of the 2022 Anita Doherty North American, Central American, and Caribbean Athletic Association Open Track & Field Championships at Grand Bahama Sports Complex in Freeport, Grand Bahama on Friday, August 19.
“As many of you are aware, this small, but powerful country is no stranger to hosting world-class sporting events, having hosted the world relays three consecutive times, in 2014, 2015, and 2017,” said Davis.
Davis said the North American, Central American, and Caribbean Athletic Association (NACAC) is the most dominant in terms of performance, of the six area associations under the world athletics umbrella.
“This 35-member union, inclusive of five associate members, has produced some of the world’s best athletes.,” he said.
Davis told fans gathered for the opening ceremonies that over the next three days of the meet, the more than 400 athletes, representing their respective countries will compete in 45 events, where the chances of setting new World championships and personal best records will be even greater; further solidifying the region’s dominance.
He noted that the Commonwealth of The Bahamas is also the home of NACAC, as well as the world’s 400m champions, Shaunae Miller-Uibo and Steven Gardiner.
“We’ve also produced top sprinters, hurdlers, long and high jumpers,” said Davis.
“This country is just a piece of the puzzle as far as regional dominance is concerned. There is Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago, Barbados, Canada, and the United States, just to name a few.
“Of the three world records set at the recently held World Championships in Eugene, Oregon, one came from the NACAC region. A number of championship records were also set by athletes from the region at the World Championships and the Commonwealth Games held a few weeks ago in the United Kingdom. We cannot forget the performances of other athletes from this region at meets earlier this year, who will be looking to turn in better times, heights, and distances this weekend.
“This newly renovated facility, the Grand Bahama Sports Complex, is the perfect place to leave your mark, as it is internationally certified, thanks to Mondo. As we get set to witness some fierce competition on the track and field, we want to express our gratitude to those who worked to bring us this competition. Special thanks to NACAC president, our own Mike Sands and his executive team for having the confidence in The Bahamas to host this event. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the Ministry for Grand Bahama and Minister Ginger Moxey and her team for hosting the meet here in our country’s second city. The Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, Minister Mario Bowleg, and his team also deserve special thanks, as does the Ministry of Tourism, Investments, and Aviation.
“As you likely saw when you landed on this beautiful island, Grand Bahama is still rebuilding from the devastation of the Category 5 Hurricane Dorian. We are finally on a path to recovery and renewal and we thank you for being a part of the revitalization of this special place.”
At the opening ceremony, Minister for Grand Bahama Ginger Moxey said it was an honor to host the Anita Doherty NACAC Championships 2022 on Grand Bahama Island.
“Today, we are witnessing history – the commencement of this world-class event on Grand Bahama,” said Moxey.
“An event renamed in honor of a woman who was a legend in our community and who made significant contributions to youth, education, and athletics in The Bahamas, the late, great Mrs. Anita Doherty.”
Moxey said the collaborative effort between NACAC, BAAA, World Athletics, the Ministry of Youth Sports and Culture, and the team at the Ministry of Grand Bahama has made the hosting of the international track meet a reality.
“We all know that Grand Bahama Island is still recovering from the devastation caused by Hurricane Dorian in 2019. However, over the past ninety days, through collaboration, we have worked diligently to bring this world-class event to our beautiful shores. The Davis/Cooper Administration is appreciative of all of the visiting teams for participating in this event and we are committed to supporting the brand of sports in paradise, and Grand Bahama Island, as the home of events and entertainment.
“The Anita Doherty NACAC Open Championships 2022 will be a wonderful boost to our economy and the island tourism numbers. Thank you for supporting Grand Bahama and have a beautiful weekend in beautiful Grand Bahama.”