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A THORNY ISSUE: Go for it Team Barbados

Andi Thornhill

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UP UNTIL recently, the upcoming International Women’s Boxing Championship was the best kept secret in Barbados.
The public relations for it was so low-keyed. You had to wonder for a second whether the event was still on.
Then again, I know we are a people noted for doing things at the last minute, so I concealed any negative thoughts knowing that this was too big a deal for us to foul up.
After all, it was a very notable achievement to have won the right to host the championship considering that we have no outstanding history when it comes to women’s boxing.
Some years ago Nicole Scott, though, had shown good promise, but didn’t continue in the sport.     
Even so, when the bidding team, led by former sports minister Dr Esther Byer-Suckoo, set out to Italy to put our case to stage the event, there was no surety that we would pull it off, given that others with greater boxing credentials would have started with the edge.   
But we have an excellent profile when it comes to hosting big events and our status would have risen after staging the final of cricket’s World Cup in 2007.
This would have put us in good stead and the fact that we have adequate infrastructure, world-class essential services, top-class accommodation, low crime rate and the like, were attributes to have in your portfolio in a major bidding war.
In the end, our case was magnificently put and that’s why in a couple of weeks we will be hosting representatives from 70 countries, the most ever for any international event staged on our shores.
I must concede that this was my greatest fear because logistically it will be very challenging to organise and manage something this size.
Notwithstanding too that we are charged with such great responsibility while in the midst of a global economic downturn.
I want to assume that this may have been a major concern given that budgets had to be cut across the board with the national wellbeing being the priority.
Subsequently, it may have contributed to the setting up of the secretariat to run the games. Ideally, a secretariat should have been functioning a minimum of a year in advance of executing the game plan.
I don’t believe it was in our case because I know that some people in the hierachy were guarded in releasing information because nobody seemed quite sure how the wind was blowing.
Suffice to say things are happening, the word is beginning to get out there since the release of Gabby’s catchy jingle and the erection of billboards at strategic points promoting the stellar event.
This is where Team Barbados must come together and ensure that we are successful in carrying out this assignment.
I know that there are reservations how our women will perform because of inexperience, but I am certain full national support will be greatly appreciated by them.
Honestly, I thought that a bigger effort could have been made to get some competition for the Bajans prior to the championship to sharpen their competitiveness.
It didn’t happen so they will have to rely on technique, instinct, courage and spectator support to battle against their international peers.
Still, it is a cause worth supporting for the good of the sport and the country.•Andi Thornhill is sports editor at the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation and can be reached at [email protected]