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Lashley: It’s up to associations

Randy Bennett

Lashley: It’s up to associations

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The Government of Barbados is not responsible for the preparation of athletes to the Olympic Games.
This has been made abundantly clear by Minister of Sports Stephen Lashley, who insisted that responsibility should rest on the respective national associations.
Speaking in the VIP Lounge at the Grantley Adams International Airport yesterday before leaving for the London Olympics, Lashley said that the Government would continue to assist athletes in whatever way it could.
He also said the Government was having talks with a number of organisations on how athletes could be more professionally prepared for competition.
“The Government continues to give significant financial assistance to athletes in their preparation for all major games.
“We place significant dollars at the disposal of the national bodies through the National Sports Council, and the BOA [Barbados Olympic Association] itself benefits significantly from the lottery which would have been put in place to provide funding,” Lashley told the media.
He said that those associations needed now to step to a different level and move away from the operation of voluntary services which they were currently employing.
The minister pointed out that moving to a more professional structure was now needed.
“We need to move to the point where we can have a structure where we have professionally retained persons,” he said.
“Of course this will all have to be agreed on by the associations, but we can no longer run sports or indeed athletics, where we are relying solely on organizations which operate on a voluntary basis.”
Lashley revealed that in most cases those volunteers did not have the time required to adequately prepare athletes, especially for major meets.
The minister revealed that Government was currently in discussions with the BOA, the University of the West Indies, National Sports Council and the Barbados Defence Force Sports Programme aimed at establishing a Barbados Sports Response.
He said this would entail all of the organizations working collectively in an effort to ensure that Barbados’ athletes were better prepared for international competition.
During the press conference, Lashley disclosed that one of the reasons for making the trip to London, apart from being part of Barbados’ delegation, was to have meetings with sports sponsors such as Nike, to see how best added support could be given to the athletes.