Monday, March 24, 2014

Consul General Randy Rolle Supports Bahamian Coaches and Athletes at Alabama Meet

Coach George Cleare of the University of Georgia and Coach Debbie Ferguson of the University of Southern Mississippi flank Bahamas Consul General to Atlanta Randy E. Rolle who showed his support for them at a track meet in Alabama.

By Arthia Nixon, The Ambassador Agency
for Bahamas Consul General’s Office of Atlanta
Photos by Arthia Nixon

(Alabama)… Bahamas Consul General Randy E. Rolle was at the University of Alabama on March 21st, 2014, to show support to the Bahamians participating in a track meet as athletes and coaches. Rolle, whose office is based in Atlanta, presides over 10 States, including Georgia and Alabama. He left his seat in the stands to personally congratulate Coach George Cleare of the University of Georgia and Olympic gold medalist Coach Debbie Ferguson of the University of Southern Mississippi.

Said Consul General Rolle: “Right now most of the [Bahamian] athletes here this evening are a part of the program with Coach George Cleare who coaches at the University of Georgia. Having spoken to him on a number of occasions, knowing that we have athletes here such as Nivea Smith and Amara Jones, I thought it important to come and be supportive and to follow them as they progress in their training and their season.”

University of Georgia’s Coach George Cleare and Consul General Randy E. Rolle talk about the Bahamian athletes in his program.

“It’s always an honor!” added Bahamian ‘golden girl’ Debbie Ferguson. “Even coming here to the University of Alabama [is an honor], I walk up to the stadium and I see this huge picture of Pauline Davis-Thompson, one of my role models where they honored their three Olympians on their wall of fame.”

While Ferguson remarked that it was great to see a group of fellow Bahamians, she joked about missing her conch and grouper in Southern Mississippi.

“I am just proud of all the Bahamians who are here, getting schoolwork, getting scholarships, getting it done and getting it done on the tracks,” she said before advising, “Keep pushing! Sometimes you are going to have good days, sometimes you are going to have bad days but keep pushing, keep praying and hi to everybody at home!”

Simmone Stubbs, Lanece Clark1e and Nivea Smith say what they enjoy about having a Bahamian coach training them.

As for Cleare who trains Rashan Brown and Amara Jones of Grand Bahama plus Shunae Miller, Nivea Smith, Amara Jones, Lanece Clarke and Andre Williams, he feels it’s all about developing Bahamian athletes.

“We try to get athletes to reach their potential over a period of time so it gives us a chance to give them a great environment to train in and to give us the opportunity to work with them one on one and give them the opportunity to get ready for major championships,” he said. “It also offers them an education – gives them the opportunity to study at one of the top colleges in the USA and also to fit into one of the top collegiate programs as it relates to track and field. Once you get into the southeastern conference, you’re looking at the best that the world has to offer.”

And the athletes feel a bit more honored to work with coaches from home.

“I am privileged to have a Bahamian coach and I am happy to be competing injury free and I am looking forward to an exciting season,” said Nivea Smith.

Amara Jones of Grand Bahama talks to Consul General Randy E. Rolle about transitioning from a student athlete to a working athlete.

As for Amara Jones, she says she wants to represent The Bahamas to the best of her ability. The athlete balances her training with her duties at the newly reestablished Ministry of Tourism office in Atlanta.

“It’s going to be tough this season trying to juggle both but as a student athlete, you learn to manage your time,” said Jones. “I think being a student athlete will prepare me to be a working athlete and that will give me freedom to do a lot more than I would have been able to do just doing one thing and I can touch a lot more people, I have a lot more opportunities and I work better as a busy body.”

 “I think I have been given a privilege with coach Cleare,” says Simmone Stubbs, who wants to focus on sports management. “I think the talent level we have at home is something that we haven’t yet tapped into as yet, the way we should and the way we can. I hope to be a part of building a program to bring younger athletes coming up to a healthy environment.”

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