Bahamas welcomes sports stars

Excitement is building up for the staging of the 2009 Caribbean Awards Sports Icons in the Bahamas next month.

The second staging of the awards is on 20 November with a whole week of sporting activities in the build up as part of the CASI Week.

Last year, this historic initiative, the brainchild of Jamaican Al Hamilton, who now lives in London, was staged for the first time in Jamaica.

The Kingston event got great reviews. Sports figures like Mike McCallum, Jimmy Adams, Aleen Bailey and Michael Frater attended, as well as Jack Warner the FIFA vice-president.

CASI Week In The Bahamas will include a four-day schedule of basketball, softball, boxing and the finale, the grand awards banquet at Hotel Breezes. Cayman may be sending a softball and boxing team out there to compete.

Bahamas-based Fred Sturrup is a journalist and also president of the Pan American Caribbean Boxing Organization. He has been co-ordinating things with Hamilton.

It was Sturrup who convinced the Bahamas government and corporate sector to support CASI2 despite the recession.

Sturrup said: ‘I was honoured to be the guest speaker in Jamaica and the end result was a strong consensus for CASI 2009 to be held in the Bahamas.

‘Last year, the Pan American Caribbean Boxing Organization reached an understanding with CASI to work jointly in the effort to project the programme that pays fundamental tribute to those sports persons who have so greatly boosted the image of the Caribbean through sports since the late 1940s.

‘I take this opportunity to thank the leaders of the Amateur Boxing Federation, the Bahamas Basketball Federation, the Bahamas Softball Federation and the Bahamas Boxing Commission for endorsing CASI 2009 and becoming partners.

‘I applaud also my very good friend, Caribbean brother and colleague Al Hamilton. You know, Al is a genius of an organizer. He has been successfully running the Commonwealth Awards for nearly 30 years.’

In fact, the next staging of the Commonwealth Sports Awards is later this month in Leeds, England and former heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis is the guest of honour. There is a possibility that he’ll attend CASI2 as well.