Push to make Barbados a training venue
PLANS ARE in the making to market Barbados as an ideal training location for athletes headed to the 2016 Olympics in Brazil.
This was revealed by Minister of Sport Stephen Lashley, as he spoke during yesterday’s opening ceremony for the executive board meeting of the Pan American Sports Organization (PASO) at the Hilton Hotel.
Lashley pointed to the fact that because of Barbados’ geographic location, climatic conditions and availability here of top class facilities, made this country an ideal destination for athletes looking for training venues in transit to Brazil.
“This opportunity for the Executive of PASO to experience our capacity is timely, given the hosting of the 2016 Olympics in Brazil,” the Minister said.
“In view of our geographic location relative to Rio, we are proposing to market Barbados as an ideal transition training location for the athletes on their way to the Olympics.
“In Barbados we have a recently installed a Mondo track at our National Stadium. Another track is nearing completion at the UWI, Cave Hill Campus and we also have Olympic standard swimming facilities and a gymnasium that caters to multiple indoor sports.”
In addition, Lashley also highlighted the fact that Barbados also boasted of some of the most beautiful shores, which could also be used to accommodate canoeing and other water sports.
The minister also said that along with those attractive incentives, there was also several other reasons why the island had the ability to attract athletes.
“These facilities are complimented by excellent social, cultural and infrastructural conditions and a direct air link to Brazil, rendering Barbados as ideal for those athletes desiring to train in conditions similar to Rio.”
Lashley also revealed that special emphasis was going to be placed on accommodating soccer teams, and plans were under way to develop several sites across the island into top class training facilities.
President of PASO Mario Vazquez Rana congratulated Barbados for hosting the event, and lauded president of the Barbados Olympic Association (BOA), Steve Stoute for his efforts in making it a reality.
In his short address, Stoute revealed that he would like to see Barbados be considered to host a full PASO general assembly, something which has not happened since 1986.
The two-day meeting is considered an important catalyst in determining which city will have the honour of hosting the 18th edition of the quadrennial Pan American Games in 2019.
Those cities vying for the hosting honours are Santiago, Chile; Bolivar, Venezuela; La Punta, Argentina and Lima, Peru, with each country having the opportunity to present their bid.