Planning will ‘bring medals’
Proper preparation and planning could lead to Barbadian athletes peaking and getting back on track by winning more medals at the annual CARIFTA Games.
Describing Barbados’ 13-medal performance at the 47th Flow CARIFTA Games in the Bahamas as “satisfactory”, head coach Alwyn Babb believes the country’s coaches and athletics officials must target certain races and field events to boost the medal count.
“We wanted to get more medals than previous years, whether it was 15 or 20. We would’ve loved everybody to medal; but to win CARIFTA medals, we have to plan it as a national association and as coaches. There are areas that are undersubscribed that we can look at,” Babb told NATIONSPORT in a wide-ranging interview at the Thomas A. Robinson Stadium after the Games.
He identified events like the triple jump and the 400 hurdles that over the years have only had a small number of competitors with athletes going straight to finals.
“We need to sit down, do a review of that entire performance across the region and those events that are undersubscribed, let’s work at getting our people in those events because everybody will look at the blue ribbon 100, 200, 400 metres.
“Those events like the triple, high jump, Under-17 discus, the Under-17 javelin that only have five competitors. We need to get persons in those areas and plan because it is no longer a guessing game. We have to plan to make sure that our medals count, and where the medals will fall, and the possibility of getting medals, how we are going to get them,” stressed Babb.
Babb said there were a number of positives by the Barbadian athletes, especially the Under-20 Boys’ 4×400 quartet of Antoni Hoyte-Small, Rasheeme Griffith, Tafari Bishop and Jonathan Jones, who won a silver medal in 3:08.31 minutes.
“We have a group of youngsters who are poised to run three minutes [in the Boys’ 4×400 relay] and if they continue, we can see a Barbadian team running sub-three [minutes] again on the world scene.
“I think some of them are heading off to the World Juniors [in Finland] and I hope the national association will consider the possibilities of a 4×400 team. With the season still young, these boys, once they remain healthy, can get stronger,” Babb reasoned.
“The performance of the 4×100 team from Lane 8, with a short period of time to put them together was a positive. We have the triple jump gold medal from Jonathan Miller and I think we can build on that as well,” Babb noted.
Babb said it was heartening to reap success in the throws.
“We have started to get back some medals in the throws. We had a silver in the Under-17 Girls (Rowland Kirton-Browne) and a silver in the Under-20 Boys (Zion Hill) and then we got gold in the Under-17 Girls’ discus (Shanice Hutson). Triston Gibbons also gained bronze medals in the Under-20 Boys’ shot and discus.
“I think this group has started to reclaim some of the areas we had fallen down in over the last couple of years,” he added.
But Babb said there must be a joint effort between coaches and the Athletics Association of Barbados.
“I believe that with the right preparation into the programme by the national association and the coaches understanding that between January and February is too short a period to get ready for CARIFTA and start doing some work outside of the season that we can see some performances improving and we need to look at the sprints as well,” he said. (EZS)