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Glove needs hand

Barry Alleyne

Glove needs hand

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Barbados has been given another chance to showcase itself to the world.
Since last Thursday, almost 300 of the world’s most petite, yet powerful female athletes have taken over the indoor complex of the Garfield Sobers Gymnasium for the 2010 AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships.
And Barbadians are lapping it up, and loving it too.
Yes, the results of Barbadian boxers at the championships have been negative, with the first two fighters losing convincingly, but Bajans love boxing, and have still come out in their numbers, a positive sign for a sport which usually attracts fans aiming to see male athletes.
What this championship has shown so far, however, is how Barbados really needs to up the ante when it comes to female boxing.
It is clear now, that the days of having athletes unprepared and then using that as a reason for their poor performance is an overused and unacceptable excuse.
The sport is still relatively young here, but that is not a reason to leave it languishing at the bottom of the proverbial sports pool.
The two Bajans who took to the ring, Jenny Benedict and Gheeta Narine, both have the aggressive nature that is needed for all athletes. But, they also both lacked the technical expertise that is required to succeed at this level, the highest in the sport.
Coach Gary Bowen is a committed man. He’s been committed to the sport for more than three decades. He’s also committed to these boxers.
What is clearly needed is commitment from the powers that be.
If the National Sports Council, and by extension, the Government of Barbados, is seriously thinking about taking female boxing to the next level, it should be shown.
It could prove to be a mountainous climb, but mountains are hard to climb, and the effort, know-how and technical expertise must follow closely behind the dream.
Simply to show off and say Barbados has successfully hosted another international event is far from enough.
The successful hosting of these amateur championships has not done an iota to improve the general standard of women’s boxing in Barbados.
Boxing is a sport that requires the utmost determination, heart and hard work in order to excel.
Will any Barbadian boxer, male or female, expend such energy if the requisite work to fulfil their dreams and ambitions isn’t put in by the authorities?
Probably not.
So, the next question should be, “where do we go from here?”
The simple answer – and Government and the National Sports Council should take note of this – is, “to the next level”.
They know what they have to do. The up-and-coming boxers in Barbados want them to do it.
They deserve it.
And if Government and the National Sports Council don’t step into the ring and represent, then their inaction, or slow action, is sure to prove a knockout punch to the young men and women with Olympic or World Championship glory in their dreams.