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Barbados aim for title number 6

Randy Bennett

Barbados aim for title number 6

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Title number six.
That is the goal of Barbados’ 40-member team which left yesterday to defend their title at the 15th Biennial Caribbean Union of Teachers (CUT) Games being held in Trinidad and Tobago.
Having defeated regional track and field powerhouses Jamaica in their own backyard in 2012 to claim their fifth title, team manager Vaman Harbin and head coach Leo Garnes are both confident that the squad has the potential to repeat as champions.
Speaking to NATION SPORT at the Grantley Adams International Airport yesterday morning, Harbin said the junior team was prepared both mentally, emotionally and physically.
He said that coming out of a retreat which was held for the athletes over the weekend, everyone was in high spirits.
“We have put in a lot of work to defend this championship and we are confident that we will defend it gallantly.
“This weekend past we held a retreat in The Mayfield House in St George where we did stuff such as goal-setting, and the athletes were shown how to deal with the media and Magistrate Barbara Cooke-Alleyne taught them how to deal with peer pressure,” Harbin said.
Along with training sessions, which were held three times a week, he said the team couldn’t have been any better prepared.
“We have done everything which we think we should do to bring back this trophy to Barbados,” said Harbin, who was also the manager of the victorious squad two years ago.
For Garnes, who will also be returning as head coach, their performance in the relays will hold the key to the defence of their title.
And although he would have hoped that more than 11 members of the 2012 team would have been returning, he still thinks the current crop has more than enough quality to do the double.
“There are ten relays and we will be going out to win all ten. Once we do that, it will make our defence a whole lot easier,” said Garnes, a former national long distance runner.
“This year, I am feeling even more confident than two years ago. We have a very good group of youngsters and since BSSAC and NAPSAC we have had three months to prepare for these games and they have shown a lot of improvement.
“I was actually hoping we would have had more than 11 returning members, but to be honest, the performances are better than they were two years ago and that will make the team stronger,” he said.
In 2012, Barbados copped 41 medals, comprising 17 gold, 17 silver and seven bronze to end on 459.5 points, 37 more than Jamaica who finished with 42 medals.
The CUT Games will be held on July 25 and 26 at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Port of Spain.
The Barbadian athletes will be competing in Under-15, Under-13, Under-11 and Under-9 categories.