BOA looking to 2020
This set of athletes is among the ones the Barbados Olympic Association (BOA) has identified to lead Barbados’ hunt for six medals at the 2020 Olympic Games.
And BOA director Cammie Burke is urging the wider public to get on board and lend them as much support as possible.
Burke was speaking at a reception in honour of World Youth 400-metre hurdles silver medallist Tia-Adana Belle and sprinter Mario Burke at the Accra Beach Hotel yesterday evening.
“We are about to start a long-term athlete development programme and we are looking to 2020 to ensure that this success, this group of athletes – not only in track and field – this young group of talented athletes are the ones to take us into 2020.
“We are aiming for six medals. Trinidad, at the last Olympics, aimed for six and they got five and we have better management than Trinidad.
“These performances suggest to the BOA this crop of athletes is who we have to go with.”
It is a sentiment echoed by team coach Adrian Thorne who said both athletes were exceptional and he was looking forward to seeing them at Rio 2016.
Burke lauded both athletes for their performances and gave credit to the Athletics Association of Barbados (AAB) which he called the best managed of the national sports federations.
However, he also noted that the lack of Inter-School Sports, even more than the lack of a track, may be responsible for the successful performances of Barbadian athletes this year.
Burke said athletes were asked to do too many events at Inter-School Sports and were hampered by injuries when the CARIFTA Games came around.
“This year there was no Inter-School Sports and we did exceptionally well at CARIFTA. I think the AA needs to stress that point to the schools. If we want to have success we have to treat our athletes properly. We have to care for them. We have to give them what they want and that is the intention of the Barbados Olympic Association.”
The director said this year they provided “more than $100 000” to the AAB to help with their programmes.
Second vice-president Noel Lynch, who apologized for the absence of president Catherine Jordan who is off-island on business and thanked physiotherapist Dr Nicole Grant – also lauded Belle and Burke.
“I think it is a wonderful job you have done in an environment, in a world and in a country where all you seem to hear are negatives about our own socio-economic existence,” Lynch said.
“We wish them all the best of luck. We know this is just the beginning, when you are at the World Youth, you have the whole world ahead of you.”
Meanwhile, former president Esther Maynard said stable leadership was leading to world-class performances.
“I always say what our athletes need is an opportunity and a stable environment and certainly we have proved that over the past nine years that on four occasions, we have had world-class medallists,” said Maynard who presented both with flowers.
“We know the athletes represented us with distinction and it was pretty heartening to see not only Mario doing his personal best, but Tia-Adana [as well]. We tend to get medals from the males, but Tia-Adana, you will go down as being exceptional in your area.”
At the Grantley Adams International Airport, Minister of Sports Stephen Lashley heaped praises on Burke and Belle and he applauded the AAB, coaches and family of the two athletes.