Sports in Barbados will be reshaped so as to make it a way of life for all citizens.
That is the word from Minister of Sports, Stephen Lashley, who said the reshaping would be done under the recently approved National Sports Council’s Strategic Plan.†He made the comments Saturday night while addressing the 30th Annual National Sports Awards Ceremony at the Frank Collymore Hall, The City.
Lashley noted that one of the primary objectives of the plan, which also details a new direction for the Council over the next four years, was to stimulate greater participation in sports by all.
“We have been proactive in this respect, where the Council has developed programmes that engender participation at the level of the community,” he stated, highlighting the National Basketball and Road Tennis Championships and the Inter-Parish Road Races as examples.
Lashley added that another key strategic theme of the plan was the promotion of sporting excellence.
“This entails the establishing of a High Performance Centre, a Sporting Hall of Fame, the introduction of Development Squads and a Rolling Olympic Plan and the provision of scholarships for our athletes,” he explained.
The Minister pointed out that the initiatives were all geared towards moving sports to a different level, especially since Government was hopeful that there would be improved performances at the Rio 2016 Olympics and beyond.
He stressed that the Strategic Plan was not designed only for the Council, but for all stakeholders of sports and Barbadians.
“Its success is premised on the support of you the athletes, coaches, administrators, lovers of our sports and especially our invaluable sponsors,” he stated.
Lashley told his audience that a key element of Government’s strategy was the transformation of sports into a full-fledged industry, with the appropriate incentives to drive the development of not only sporting facilities, but sporting businesses.
“To this end, we have commenced work towards a Sports Development Act and a Sports Development Policy. I expect that this policy and supporting legislation will create the kind of forward thrust that sports has been missing for many years,” he suggested.
Lashley commended the athletes for their outstanding performances during the year, stating that when one considered the limited resources available to Barbados, especially during the recession, one could only marvel at the results attained by the athletes across numerous disciplines, at the local, regional and international levels.
He reaffirmed Government’s resolve to provide facilities and programmes to support the athletes’ development.
Ambassador Ryan Brathwaite received the Senior Outstanding Sportsperson and the National Sports Personality for 2012 titles, and his father, Eugene Brathwaite, accepted his awards. Cricketer Kemar Roach won the Minister’s Award, while Shai Hope won the Junior Outstanding Sportsperson Award and the Emerging Athlete Award. Barbados’ top female surfer, Chelsea Tuach won the Junior and Senior Outstanding Sportsperson titles. (BGIS)†