There is no doubt about the positive impact of the Bahamas Olympic Committee’s (BOC) proactive outreach program. The BOC under the leadership of President Wellington Miller has intensified its communications efforts and now enjoys a solid link with the sporting fraternity in the country.
Indeed, the Olympic Movement in the country is resonating in such a way that many who are not connected to the national sporting landscape, are familiar with the body of work being done by the BOC. The BOC now has a particular meaning to Bahamians.
For decades, the chief Olympic body in the country was like a secret organization. It surfaced only on the occasions when national delegations were being processed for the Olympic Games, the Pan American Games, the Commonwealth Games and the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games.
This is the era in which a number of other international events, mostly of the junior category, are in the Olympic mix. Attending these new entities (and showcasing the other aspects of its national program, such as facilitating camps, seminars and clinics for athletes, coaches, trainers and sports administrators), has given the BOC a presence like never before.
It is to the credit of Miller and his executives that the BOC has its highest local profile, ever. The BOC is indeed succeeding in attaining a lot of milestones. Most recently, a Brazilian coach was made available to assist Bahamas Volleyball Federation (BVF) President Joe Smith with the development program of the sport.
Then, there is the opportunity given by the BOC to Kayla Johnson. She will travel to Mexico to train for coaching certification in boxing. If successful, Johnson will be the first female to be thus qualified.
That accomplishment would enable Johnson to cement her name in Bahamian sports history. Johnson is from a boxing family. Her uncle, Lionel Glinton, was one of the first Bahamians to win a boxing medal. Her brother is Taureano Johnson, widely regarded as the finest amateur boxer The Bahamas has ever produced. He is presently the holder of a regional middleweight title.
Kayla has been actively working with young boxers for almost a decade now. Hopefully, the heightening of her profile in boxing will draw others of the fairer sex to the sport. While the participation of women in boxing is spreading worldwide, the trend has not taken hold in The Bahamas. In December of 2003, Rosemary Greene became the first Bahamian female to box officially. She won the match and forever has ownership of being the first Bahamian female boxer to record a victory.
She never fought again however. While there have been a few female boxers engaging in exhibitions, the Bahamas Boxing Commission has no record of another Bahamian female participating in an official match. Michelle Minus, for a while, was prominent as a boxing promoter.
An interest in officiating has been expressed by a few females. However, there has never been strong presence of women boxing associates in The Bahamas. Certainly, if Johnson returns as a certified coach, she will be in a position to build her program and perhaps others will emulate her.
Best wishes Kayla! Congratulations BOC!
(To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at [email protected])