While there is a strong possibility that Ambassador Ryan Brathwaite and/or swimmer Bradley Ally could climb the winners’ podium at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, there is limited hope of Barbadian fans getting to see those feats live.
At a Press conference yesterday to launch the 500-day countdown to the opening of the Olympic Games, which was held at Ben Mar, Erdiston Road, St Michael – the residence of the British High Commissioner – president of the Barbados Olympic Association, Steve Stoute, and general secretary Erskine Simmons said Barbados’ contingent was expected to be about ten competitors.
However, with an emphasis on development on training towards a higher level of performance, the BOA gurus suggested that both Brathwaite and Ally are expected to win a medal for Barbados, the first since Obadele Thompson captured bronze in Sydney, Australia.
However, Stoute also disclosed that a limited number of tickets had been made available to Barbados and the BOA would be making overtures to secure more tickets for the opening ceremony, the closing ceremony as well as such events as cycling and track and field.
“The International Olympic Committee has used the buying pattern of the last five Olympics to determine the allotment of tickets for NOCs,” Stoute said.
Unfortunately, since Atlanta in 1996, the last Olympics were held in China, Australia, and Greece where the distance and cost would have been prohibitive for Barbadians.
Barbados has embarked on a programme to exploit the offer from the city of London for its athletes to train in Crawley, which Stoute said was chosen because of its large Caribbean population as well as its closeness to Gatwick Airport.
The camp in Crawley has already provided gains for Barbados besides the grant of £25 000, as netball and hockey players have recently performed creditably following stints in that city.
Britain’s Deputy High Commissioner Phil Culligan painted a welcoming picture of London in its readiness to become the centre of the world in 2012.
He said that most of the infrastructure was 75 per cent completed and that the planting of 4 000 trees will also enhance claims of making the London Olympics the greenest ever.
The Paralympics will follow the Olympics in London and with Wesley Worrell, president of the Barbados Paralympics Association, present, Culligan added that Britain would present £2 000 to the local body to initiate the sport of goalball – a team game for the visually impaired which is played with a ball containing a bell.
Culligan also stressed that the sporting value of the Summer Olympics would create lasting memories since the cultural activities would flow right into the Paralympic Games.
Stoute suggested that plans were in train to get Barbadian netballers back to Crawley for pre-training before the World Championships in Singapore.