No More National Representation For “Bakka”

National Sprinter Daniel “Bakka” Bailey has indicated he will not contest the 100 meters sprint at the World Championships. (File photo)

One of Antigua’s most successful track and field athletes, Daniel “Bakka” Bailey, has decided to call it a day and will no longer represent the country at international meets.
In an exclusive interview with Observer media, Bailey who has represented Antigua and Barbuda at multiple Olympic Games and IAAF World Championships, said that although he still has what it takes to compete at the highest level, the heavy cost of preparing has proven too much to maintain.
“After 20 years of representing Antigua and Barbuda, I think I have come to a conclusion to put up certain competitions where Olympics and World Championships are concerned to represent Antigua and Barbuda. I think it’s too much [financially] for me right now and I think that I’ve done exceptionally well to represent the country,” he said.
“I am not going to finish [competing] fully but I will hang up my spikes from certain competitions. I will choose the races I want to go to [as a professional] whether it is in Europe but I am not attending any games, championships or relay team [championships, nothing at all,” he added.
Bailey came to prominence in 2009 with a 100 meters win in the IAAF Golden League and a fourth-place finish at the 2009 World Championships. His personal best of 9.91 seconds is still a national record over 100 meters.
The former Antigua Grammar School (AGS) student said that he is now eager to pass on his knowledge and experience to the next and future generations of Antiguan sprinters.
“At the same time I still want to coach and get the upcoming and elite kids to a point where they can perform at the highest level for their age. I have been doing that with Jawakie [Evans Jones] and his daughter [Soniya Jones], helping Heather Samuel and her kids as well too, so I have been helping out everybody in showing them the ropes and what is right from what is not,” Bailey said.
“That is what I want to continue doing to be a mentor, coach for the young elite athletes coming up. I have the knowledge and experience to go forth and do that,” he added.
The sprinter made his international debut at the 2004 Summer Olympics held in Athens, Greece before competing at the 2006 Commonwealth Games. Bailey won a bronze medal over 60 meters at the 2010 IAAF World Indoor Championships held in Qatar and has also won sprint medals at the regional level.
Bailey was also part of the Antigua and Barbuda 4X1 relay team that set a new national record at the IAAF/BTC World Relays held in the Bahamas in May 2015. The team clocked a time of 39.01 seconds to finish fourth in their semi-final heat at the Tommy Robinson Track.
The other members of the team were Chavaughn Walsh and his brother Tahir Walsh and Miguel Francis.