The top junior and senior Bahamian track and field athletes will clash this month as they vie for spots on various national teams and make the most of a rare opportunity to compete against each other at home.

The Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA) will host its junior and senior national championships under the theme “Battle of the Stars”.

The junior nationals will take place June 22-23 at the original Thomas A. Robinson Track and Field Stadium, and the senior nationals is set for June 24-25 at the new Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium. Athletes will look to earn roster spots as the BAAA fields teams for the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World U20 Championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland (July 19-24), and the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (August 5-21).

The junior nationals will get underway at 5:30 p.m. on both days, and the starting times for the senior nationals are 5:30 p.m. on Friday and 4:30 p.m. on Saturday.

At a press conference dedicated to the star-studded weekend, which also includes the BAAA Gala Awards Show on Sunday, June 26, junior and senior nationals meet coordinator and BAAA Technical Director Frank “Pancho” Rahming, said that he expects some stiff competition on the track, with athletes leaving it all on the line in hopes of securing spots on the national teams.

“This year, the decision was made in combining the events. However, even through combining them, we still managed to meet the IAAF recommendation that their member federations host separate nationals, providing each age group with their time in the spotlight,” said Rahming. “This event was rescheduled from its original date of June 9 and 10. The change was made to assist the federation in hosting events that affect both junior and senior athletes, and in assisting the Family Island athletes who plan to participate.

“These trials allow coaches to note the physical condition of the athletes who have already qualified for a particular event and provide an opportunity for those who have not met the standards.”

According to BAAA President Rosamunde Carey, all of the elite athletes are reported to be in good health and plan to be in attendance.

Along with the action on the field, a battle of the bands and Junkanoo rush-out are planned to entertain the crowd.

“This is a really exciting week of events for us. All of our elite athletes have already given us their commitment that they’ll be here. In both competitions, there are a lot of tough match-ups to see. It expects to be a really exciting time for the sport,” said Carey.

As mentioned, the BAAA plans to culminate the eventful week of activities with its gala awards show that Sunday at the British Colonial Hilton Hotel. Cocktails will occur at 7 p.m. that night, and the show will start at 8 p.m.

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