FRIDAY, JUNE 15: Bermuda’s galaxy of track stars have aligned themselves to put on what is the greatest assembly of talent on home soil in years.
Olympian long jumper Tyrone Smith will be back, but by no means is he the only talent back home for Powerade Track and Field National Championships at the National Sports Centre.
NCAA stars Arantxa King and Aaron Evans will be competing as well as Jasmine Brunson, Shianne Smith, sprinter Tre Houston and Bermuda’s Carifta medalists.
King, Evans and Houston are all hoping this weekend’s event will see them claim their Olympic tickets. To help their chances, 16 overseas athletes, mostly teammates of Bermuda’s US-based contingent, will also be flying in to bolster the talent on display.
Donna Watson, Bermuda Track and Field Association president, said “things are looking great” ahead of tonight’s opening events at the National Championships.
Watson said: “All the athletes are excited and ready to compete. Some of them had competed this past weekend at the NCAA National Championships and did really well.”
Watson said the only downer could be a downpour as rain is forecast for the weekend.
“Hopefully, we’ll get some good weather. That’s my concern right now.
“We need good weather as Aaron, Tre and Arantxa are going to try to make the Olympic standard during the Championships.
“It would be wonderful to see any of them qualify on home soil.”
Watson said the reason Bermuda’s elite athletes are all back as it was mandatory event for them to compete.
She also asked them to bring back teammates to help beef up the competition.
The overseas athletes will not be eligible to be the Bermuda National Champion, but can instead win the All-Comers title.
“All our athletes know they will have competition. Some of the athletes they invited can run faster or jump further then they do, so it’s not like they invited athletes they can beat.
“This is going to make it worth their while. In past years I couldn’t ask them to come home and have nobody here that can give them the type of competition they need. Especially this year, when it’s an Olympic year and every competition should be preparation towards London.”
The competition starts at 5pm on Friday and 4:30pm on Saturday. Olympian Smith will compete in the long jump on Saturday at 5:30pm.