Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham Salute Team Bahamas

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Bahamian high jumper  Donald Thomas  won a gold medal at The World Games in Osaka, Japan.

Prime Minister of The Bahamas Rt. Hon. Hubert Ingraham along with parliamentary collegues today congratulated Team Bahamas on their recent achievements at the IAAF Wold Championships in Japan. Team Bahamas receive grand accolades from members of the legislature for their stellar performance at the games. Here is the text of the Prime Minister’s comments to the Bahamian atheletes during a special dinner hosted for them at Atlantis on Paradise Island over the weekend.

PRIME MINISTER: On behalf of the Government and people of The Commonwealth of The Bahamas, it is indeed my pleasure to join with you on an occasion such as this, when ordinary citizens and elected officials assemble to provide testimony of their gratitude to these outstanding young men and women of The Bahamas.

Once again you have proven to be competent Ambassadors of The Bahamas in the world arena of top level international athletic competition.

I have come to the understanding that it is a severe miscalculation to underestimate the willpower of Bahamians to achieve what may seem unachievable. Indeed, it appears that as a people, we have adopted the notion that if a goal can be conceived it can be achieved.

Ample evidence of this is that Bahamian athletes today continue to replicate the fantastic achievements recorded in the annals of Bahamian sports. Indeed, we find that our athletes continue to defy the odds as they heed the call to excellence.

Anita De Franz, an executive of the IOC, issued these inspiring words of counsel at the International Olympic Committee’s Congress of Unity in 1996. She notes that “athletes are good decision-makers, constantly making split-second decisions about when to move, how to move and where to move; for correct decisions can provide the winning margin”.

She adds that “decision-making is not just a task but a door to opportunities, and just like training to be the best, good decision-making takes work and expertise”.

De Franz expresses that successful athletes should always be true to themselves. They must always be able to stand with pride, whether they win or lose for while being the best is only a single moment in time, integrity lasts forever.

It is therefore incumbent upon the more experienced athletes of Team Bahamas to teach and advise the younger athletes about the difficult issues that affect sports these days.

Team Bahamas, your recent performance at the IAAF World Championships has exposed The Bahamas as a nation committed to excellence. You have all won medals at various levels of world and regional competitions over the years.

We have come a long way since The Bahamas won its first gold medal in international competition in Cardiff, Wales at the 1958 British Empire Games with Tommy Robinson as a one man team. Some 50 years later, a 19 member strong Team Bahamas competed at these IAAF World Championships finishing in 9th place out of 202 countries.

All members of Team Bahamas have conducted themselves with integrity, whether in defeat or victory, whether medaling or not. The Bahamas is so proud of all of you. Of course, Donald Thomas, a diamond in the rough some say, has captured the eyes of the world in his World Championship performance in the High Jump.

Imagine Derrick Atkins is the second fastest sprinter in the World. And our Relay Team, Chris Brown, Avard Moncur, Andrae Williams, Nathaniel McKinney and Michael Matthieu, silver medalists in the past two World Championships, will be number 1 in Beijing in 2008.

As we advance towards the Olympic Games in 2008, my hope is that the veteran athletes will guide the new comers to lead Team Bahamas to yet another moment in time, executing the finest in decision-making, to ensure that by the success and integrity of their effort, The Commonwealth of The Bahamas will continue to be a source of hope and joy and champions for change for all of the youth of our nation.

Tonight I join all Bahamians in saluting all members of Team Bahamas for their excellence.

Thank you Team Bahamas.