After numerous delays in its construction and formation, Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Dr. Daniel Johnson confirmed that The Bahamas’ first ever National Sports Academy (NSA) will be launched in April 14 with the first location opening on Moore’s Island.
“For the first time in The Bahamas, we will have a facility that will match any facility you can find around the world,” said Dr. Johnson. “You will have dormitories, track, soccer pitches, sports science, proper weightlifting facilities and also sports medicine. The facility will be able to accommodate up to 80 athletes at a time. I’m going to recruit people like Pauline (Davis-Thompson), Chris (Brown) and Debbie (Ferguson-McKenzie) to come to the sports academy, but our young athletes will be the beneficiaries of a real national sports program.”
The academy on Moore’s Island, originally set to open last November, was delayed due to damages from Hurricane Matthew in October.
The second NSA location will be launched at the University of The Bahamas in New Providence. The original launch date for that location was set for last September, and no new launch date has been given as yet.
“We have several people who have been working on our National Sports Academy,” said Dr. Johnson. “This group includes Director of Sports Tim Munnings, Rupert Gardiner and Kim Rolle from the University of The Bahamas.”
The idea to start a National Sports Academy was introduced by Prime Minister Perry Christie back in 2013. The idea was revisited several times since then, but not much has come out of it until now.
“This will be a way to get our athletes to stay home and train,” said Dr. Johnson. “We push out about $1 million for our athletes abroad and we can put that into our athletes training here at home.”
The formation of the academies have been at the focal point of each budget debate following the success of the men’s 4×400 meters (m) relay team, The Bahamas’ “Golden Knights” at the 2012 London Olympic Games.