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$1/2m Pan Am Games budget

Sherrylyn A. Toppin

$1/2m Pan Am Games budget

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With the LONDON 2012 Olympic Games creeping ever closer, the Barbados Olympic Association (BOA) has budgeted $500 000 towards the Pan American Games, the major meet on its 2011 calendar.
The games, which are scheduled from October 23 to 30, in Guadalajara, Mexico, will give the BOA and national federations an indication of the athletes who are capable of competing at the highest level.
“The Pan Am Games depend very much on how many people we qualify,” BOA president Steve Stoute told MIDWEEK SPORT.
“But, in essence, I think we have put aside about a half-million dollars to include preparation. At this point in time, the only team sports that have qualified are hockey men and women. Volleyball could possibly qualify depending on the outcome of the Caribbean tournament early in the year.”
In 2010, the BOA spent $1.2 million in funding for the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games where Barbados won three gold, two silver and five bronze medals to finish 11th overall in the table. A further $800 000 for the Commonwealth Games netted no medals.
Stoute reiterated that they will revisit the selection criteria.  
“Most certainly for Pan Am we will be a lot more conservative in our selection based on the prevailing performances at that time.
It is all down in October, so we will see what transpires, but we will be very conservative.”
As the London 2012 Olympic Games draw closer, the number of elite athletes seems to be declining, with world 110 metres hurdles champion Ryan Brathwaite and swimmer Bradley Ally the only names which spring readily to mind.
“The outcome for Pan Am will also depend on how many we qualify for the Olympics. It is not a matter of selection. It is a matter of qualification.
“For Olympics, we are hoping to qualify athletes in track and field, cycling, boxing, possibly sailing and swimming of course. They will be the sports I think we have to rely on for London and even that is stretching it,” the president said.
“Once we have firmed up the structure of the Pan Am team, we will look at the relationship that we have with Crawley in the United Kingdom. We hope to use Crawley as we did for netball and hockey this year, for other sports. We will be using the Crawley venue to work on our Pan Am people with the view of qualifying as large a team as possible for the 2012.”
The other major meet on the BOA calendar will be the Commonwealth Youth Games from September 7 to 13 in the Isle of Man. Stoute said they would have to rely on the national federations to determine the numbers.
Meanwhile, they will also be seeking the input from the national federations for this year’s projects and programmes. One possibility is helping with the upgrading of sports venues, but that is also the direction that the Ministry of Sports is looking.
At the BOA Awards last month, Minister of Sports Stephen Lashley said that was an option they were pursuing.
“We are also exploring whether we should look at getting involved in capital works – in other words –facilities. In light of the minister’s comments that Government is contemplating that as well, we would need to meet with them so that we don’t double up and that we utilise scarce resources in the best possible manner,” Stoute said.

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