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Higher profile Steve Stoute, president of the Barbados Olympic Association. (FP)

By Justin Marville | Fri, October 26, 2012 - 12:05 AM

Stoute Stoute's last term looks like it will be his most visible one.

The newly re-elected president of the Barbados Olympic Association (BOA) said he planned to work on improving his body’s public profile following the continual and widespread misunderstanding surrounding the BOA’s operations.

Stoute made the comment in a wide-ranging interview moments after defeating challenger Lieutenant Colonel Trevor Browne 34-9 and being returned for an unprecedented fifth and final term last week in the elections for the next quadrennial.

“I think the public of Barbados does not fully understand the function of a National Olympic Committee.

“We cannot select four or five competitors from archery, track and field, table tennis and put them in a camp or train them for a specific initiative without the full cooperation, advice and technical expertise of our national federations,” he said.

“It seems that there has been some criticism about a lack of visibility [and] while I do not agree with this, we will work towards improving our transparency so individuals would not be left pondering innuendo and the falsehoods that have been circulated.”

The statements came in direct reference to the recent criticisms of Barbados’ Olympic team that failed to get a medal at the London Games two months ago.

But the country’s subpar performances haven’t been limited to just the Summer Games. Barbados has also had some uninspiring returns from the last Pan American, Commonwealth, and Central American And Caribbean Games.

However, Stoute has consistently countered that it was through no fault of his Olympic body, which only served to fund the talented athletes and not prepare them for major meets.

“We don’t have that expertise in-house and even if we did, we would be breaching the rules of the International Olympic Committee by infringing on the rights of the national federations,” he said.

“I think the public of Barbados has to understand this [because] a National Olympic Committee has to work with its federations in the development of sports. It cannot do it alone.”

The BOA has lobbied for more control of Barbados’ best prospects in recent times, though, saying it intended to have the country’s elite athletes under contractual obligation to represent Barbados at major meets for this Olympic cycle.

Earlier in the year, secretary general Erskine Simmons also revealed the BOA’s renewed interest in taking a greater role in the training of top-level athletes, saying that the body was seeing cases where elite athletes were not being prepared properly ahead of big meets.

And last week, Stoute said that the BOA had plans of possibly establishing a centre for elite athletes where Barbados’ top-level performers could live and train together.

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