Bahamas IAAF BTC World Relays 2015 Creates Model For Future Sporting Events
The sweet sounds of Junkanoo, Bahamian music, culture and entertainment were on full display May 2-3 at the Bahamas IAAF BTC World Relays 2015 and visitors are still singing praises over the successful event.
While the event at the Thomas A. Robinson Stadium in New Providence was certainly exciting for all locals and tourists with the USA setting two world records, the Market Place on the stadium grounds was also live with action. There, Bahamian treats like conch fritters and drinks could be purchased. Additionally, visitors enjoyed entertainment like Bahamian dancers, ring play games and giveaways from various booths. General Manager of Sports Tourism Development Virginia Kelly said the aim moving forward is to ensure any sports event held in The Bahamas is a memorable one. “We really wanted our visitors to get a good local flare so we have had some cultural dancers. We’ve got Bahamian music playing in this area so we are really giving people a flare and taste of what we have to offer. It started really from the airport and then we have local groups participating in colorful huts,” she said. “This will certainly be the model moving forward so every part of what we do in sports tourism, we want folks to know that is it more than just sports. So we say when you’re done playing, come out and play with us.” Willie and Jeanette Gatlin from Florida came to watch their son American sprinter Justin Gatlin in action. The couple watches their son perform all around the world. However, they said they enjoyed being in The Bahamas more than anywhere else. “It’s been great and everyone who we met has been so friendly and made us feel welcomed,” Mr. Gatlin said. “It’s been excellent. The stadium is beautiful and very organized.” “We follow him everywhere, we are groupies but we cannot complain about our trip here. This is not our first time to Nassau and it won’t be the last,” Mrs. Gatlin said. “We will definitely be back in 2017.” Meanwhile, Emma Adams from the United Kingdom and Jean Beaumont from France said they were happy to be in The Bahamas to cheer on their teams. “It’s definitely great a lot of music and culture. I’m glad that we came, “Adams said. “The weather here is beautiful and I am so glad that I get to cheer on my country. I hope to come back,” Beaumont said. Athletes also continued to praise The Bahamas. Kyle Merber of the US Long Distance Medley team, who later broke the world record for that race, said the atmosphere is amazing and he’s excited to return. “You really get into the atmosphere and everyone gets into it as if the crowd wasn’t loud enough, you throw Junkanoo on top of it, you can’t even hear yourself think. The Bahamas knows how to put on a track meet and I will say it again and again. It’s really incredible and I know we can’t wait to come back,” he said.