On your mark!
Some of the athletes and officials attending next month’s XIX Commonwealth Games in Delhi, India, have welcomed the news that Barbados will go ahead and attend the Games in spite of the health and accommodation controversies.
Barbados’ delegation, consisting of 36 athletes and 24 officials, will take part in ten sports – athletics, badminton, boxing, cycling, netball, shooting, swimming, table tennis, tennis and weightlifting.
Presently, the netballers are training in Britain and they will join up with the delegation on Tuesday, with the Bajans reaching Delhi on Wednesday.
Yesterday, a number of the athletes and heads of their federations attended a Press briefing at the Olympic Centre, where general secretary Erskine Simmons stated emphatically that Barbados would be attending the Games. Chef de Mission Cammie Burke had assured the BOA that there were no issues to warrant Barbados withdrawing.
Simmons also indicated that although some of the top athletes from other countries had withdrawn, Barbados’ elite athletes Ryan Brathwaite and Bradly Ally had opted out for reasons unrelated to the issues in Delhi.
“This is the training period for most athletes and attending the Games in Delhi would affect the programme of most of the international athletes,” Simmons stressed.
In the absence of Brathwaite and Ally, Barbados’ biggest medal hopes lie in the pedalling legs of Barry Forde, and his mother Heather Forde was extremely glad with the news announced by the BOA.
“After the athletes have been training for such a long time and putting in so much effort, it would have been a great disappointment to them, so I am really pleased that they are going,” Forde stated.
President of the Barbados Swimming Association, Sonia O’Neal accepted that some of the issues sounded rather serious but she was relieved after being given the feedback from the BOA, with Burke providing information from the ground rather than Barbados relying on the international media.
“We have been training hard and we are looking to get our feet wet at the Commonwealth Games,” O’Neal said.
Weightlifter Kristin Edwards said she saw the games as a fantastic opportunity for her and Barbados and she was looking forward to representing her country.
“I am glad to hear that they are looking to improve the state of the village and that security was tight. I was always confident that any issues would have been resolved since after a country has spent so much money to stage games every effort would be made to make those Games a success,” Edward added.
Shooter Chester Foster embraced the decision made by the BOA, saying his teammates had put in too much work not get the chance to take part in the Games.
A similar sentiment was echoed by coach/manager of the badminton team, Gloria Chung who pointed out that Barbados was tired placing third from the bottom and that the Games in Delhi would serve as their coming out opportunity to make an attack on some of the higher ranked team.