Kayakers make mark
The Barbados Canoe/Kayak Federation is less than a year old, but it can already boast of having three qualifiers for the upcoming Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games.
President Nicky Neckles – who has already represented Barbados with distinction in swimming all the way to multiple Olympic Games – Simon Goodridge and Stanley Brooker, are the three qualifiers.
They met the criteria after reaching the final of their respective events at last October’s Pan American Kayaking Championships in Puerto Rico in the K1 discipline, the kayak used at the Olympic Games.
Goodridge will be in the 200 metres, where he is ranked fifth in the CAC region. Neckles, who is also ranked fifth, has qualified in the 1 000M and Brooker in the 5 000, where he is ranked fourth.
The CAC Games will be held in Veracruz, Mexico, from November 14 to 30.
The association was formed in September and has been officially recognised by the Barbados Olympic Association and the International Canoe Federation.
Neckles told the DAILY NATION they were granted six kayaks – four surfskis and two K1s – to assist with their training and preparation.
Last month, Brooker made his debut on the world tour, competing in the Defis Kayak World Cup in Guadeloupe. He placed 25th out of 65 competitors in the 16K (ocean) and 26th out of 42 in the 25K in surfski.
“We only got the kayaks in November last year and in that time, he was able to finish mid-table in a world event,” Neckles said. Brooker was satisfied with his performance.
“My time was commendable for my first ever surfski race, but I have plans to do better the next time,” he said.
Brooker also met several of the top kayakers while in Guadeloupe. When he described the conditions in Barbados, they seemed keen to race in the waters here.
“I feel it is a great sport to start in Barbados,” Neckles said. “We have a natural facility around us and we don’t have to pay facility fees. In these times, we have to start using what we have around us.
“There is an opportunity here in the future to bring in another international event. We have a great water sports community in Barbados, led by Brian Talma, and we might be able to piggy-back on that.”
They will now turn their attention to qualifying for the 2015 Pan American Games in Canada. Neckles said once they had realised that goal, they would put more focus on trying to grow the numbers in the association.
At the moment, he explained, they were all learning together.