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Training stint in Japan for Bajan athletes

MIKE KING, [email protected]

Training stint in Japan for Bajan athletes

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BARBADIANS competing at the 2020 Olympics in Japan will get the chance to train for two weeks at a pre-games camp in the Japanese City of Nanyo.

Officials of Nanyo City and the Barbados Olympic Association (BOA) yesterday signed an agreement for Barbadian Olympians to utilise the sports facilities in Nanyo as a pre-games training camp site in preparation for the Olympic Games in Tokyo.

BOA president Sandra Osborne signed the agreement with mayor of Nanyo City, Takao Shiraiwa, yesterday morning at the BOA headquarters in Wildey.

Osborne lauded the Japanese, adding that the initiative was generous.

“It will give our athletes an opportunity to acclimatise to conditions in Japan before the actual games. We haven’t actually worked out all the details but maybe for a period of two weeks, they will be able to stay in facilities and train in that city, so that by the time they move into Tokyo they are a bit more comfortable in terms of the conditions in Japan.

“This is a very important initiative because whereas we had offers before for pre-games training, we have never [had] one that has been so generous. The Japanese ambassador here, who is a lover of sport, has been very instrumental in facilitating and nurturing this relationship, so we are very indebted to them and of course to the city,” she said.

Osborne said a team from the BOA will visit Nanyo City next year to have a “first-hand look before we send the athletes to the camp”.

The recently elected BOA chief said the agreement was a win-win for the 2020 Barbadian Olympians.

“That is one of the challenges an athlete has when they compete in a new country. The temperature is different, the altitude may be different, there are a lot of different conditions that could affect their performance, so I think that this is a wonderful opportunity and we are indeed grateful that we have been able to forge this relationship,” she said.

Japanese Ambassador Teruhiko Shinada said the signing represents a significant step for the strengthening of the friendly relations between Japan and Barbados.

“I myself visited Nanyo City last month, and I am assured that this city is an ideal place for the Barbadian athletes. It is a small city – by Japanese standards – but it boasts not only adequate sporting facilities for training, but also has plenty of fruits, delicious food, hot springs and, most importantly, good people and hospitality,” he said.

Apart from Barbados, Jamaica and the Dominican Republic are the only other Caribbean countries that have so far managed to find Japanese host towns. (MK)