Top athletes expected to compete at second Blue Marlin Classic

Once again, a star-studded field of local and international athletes is expected to headline the Blue Marlin Track and Field Classic.

The second annual meet is sanctioned by the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA), and organized by former quarter-miler Demarius Cash. It is set for Independence Day, July 10, starting at 4 p.m. According to Cash, athletes from Barbados and Bermuda have already confirmed their attendance to the meet, while others from Jamaica and the United States of America (USA) have shown interest.

Last year’s meet featured athletes such as national record holders “Superman” Leevan Sands and Bianca “BB” Stuart, Lavern Spencer of St. Lucia, Olympic gold medalists Michael Frater and Melaine Walker of Jamaica, and Semoy Hackett of Trinidad and Tobago.

This year’s meet also serves as a last minute qualifier for the Olympics and the International Association of Athletics Federations’ (IAAF) World U20 Championships.

The deadline for both is July 11, meaning national federations would have to rush and get times and distances submitted if they meet the qualifying standards.

The 2016 Summer Olympics is set for August 5-21 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and the IAAF World U20 Championships will be held July 19-24, in Bydgoszcz, Poland.

“So far, we have been getting a good amount of support from local and international athletes,” said Cash. “I feel this will be a good opportunity for athletes looking to make that final push for the Rio Olympics. It’s right after most countries host their nationals, and because of that, I know there will be a lot of athletes looking to do what they couldn’t do at their respective nationals. I also set it for the time that I did to make it more of a family event. It gives everyone a good opportunity to come and see some of the world’s best.”

Although Cash couldn’t confirm whether the meet would be held in the new Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium or the original stadium in an interview with The Nassau Guardian on Sunday, he noted that the National Sports Authority (NSA) has been very receptive toward the meet and they’re currently working on an agreement.

“I have to commend them on how they’ve worked with me up to this point, in terms of helping me to get everything organized,” Cash said. “The new NSA chairman Lynden Maycock has been very hands-on with assisting me. They’ve also done a great job accommodating our Local Organizing Committee (LOC), which is also located at the new stadium.”

The tickets prices for the event have not been confirmed as yet, but are expected to be finalized in the coming weeks. At last year’s meet, Olympic relay gold medalist Ramon Miller won the men’s 400 meters (m) in 45.70 seconds, while Sheniqua “Q” Ferguson won the women’s 200m in 23.22 seconds. Over in the field, Ryan Ingraham won the men’s high jump with a leap of 2.26m (7’ 5”).