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More funding for elite athletes

JUSTIN MARVILLE, [email protected]

More funding for elite athletes

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Barbados Olympic Association (BOA) president Sandra Osborne is really serious about getting medals, having said it may be time for her body to look at diverting more funding to the country’s elite athletes to improve their chances at major meets.

Osborne expressed the sentiment in a wide-ranging interview with the Weekend Nation after watching Barbados’ medal tally continually fall at the Central American and Caribbean, Commonwealth and Pan Am Games.

“If we’re saying there’s a group of elite athletes, we need to support, then what does that mean? Does that mean for example that we take a fairly broad approach and say there may be 50 athletes that show promise and we support them or do we say there are maybe five to ten athletes who have a real chance?” asked Osborne.

“Wherever that goes then determines what our focus is and I don’t want to be so bold as to say that this is what Sandra Osborne wants, because in terms of the depth and understanding of sport, there are people on our board that have far more experience and expertise than I do so you need to hear from them.

“At this stage we haven’t had that conversation, but what I’m saying is we have to have that conversation. If you’re going to ask me if this is where I would like to go then of course this is where I would like to go personally but it comes down to dollars and cents.

“How much does it take to produce a world class athlete? Are we funding it at the expense of other athletes or are we going out and trying to get new funding?” she asked.

As it stands 70 of the country’s athletes are individually funded through grants from the Olympic Solidarity and Pan Am Sports to the tune of about $1.2 million annually. (JM)

Read the full story in today’s WEEKEND NATION newspaper or read the e-paper online.