Manager sees positives despite solitary medal
Sixty-one athletes and one bronze medal to show, but deputy team manager Gail Craig-Archer says the Barbados contingent performed admirably at the just concluded Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland.
Speaking at Grantley Adams International Airport this afternoon on the arrival home of most of the team, Craigg-Archer told Barbados TODAY that considering their preparation and the available equipment and facilities, the team did well. She pointed out what she considered good performances from judoka Onoah Obsie-Okey who came close to winning a bronze medal.
She also referred to the efforts of Greggmar Swift in the hurdles, as well as those of the swimmers, some of whom had personal best times in their respective events. She also made mention of the table tennis and badminton players as well as former world 110m hurdles champion Ryan Brathwaite who made the final of his event.
Shane Brathwaite was the only Barbadian to gain a medal when he took third position in the 110m hurdles and Craigg-Archer praised his bronze medal achievement.
“I think the team did remarkably well despite all things considered. The Judo team did not win any of their matches but they did not curl up and die, they put up a fight and actually in one of their matches against New Zealand they were the crowd favourite and had the stadium of 30,000 plus chanting ‘Barbados, Barbados’ throughout the entire game which was good and it made the guys feel good that they were away from home but yet still they had the entire backing of a Scottish stadium behind them,” the manager said.
She explained that in order for Barbados to get over the final hurdle in all aspects of sports the athletes need to work even harder and produce on the day and she was confident that they would get there.
“It is like being the bridesmaid instead of the bride. We always get to the finals but do not medal. Like it is always out of our grasp but our athletes really fought hard and we fought fair. For instance, Onoah who was the last person to be given that final point and then it was taken away and I am not a Judo expert but when you look at it from a layman’s perspective you have to ask how you could do this. We had Ivorn [Mcknee] in weightlifting and I do not know but I guess it is what happens on the day. It is like going into an exam you prepare for it but on the day it throws you but we will get there,” she said.
Veteran coach Alwyn Babb who arrived with the team said Barbados had the capabilities to take on any country in the world when it came to sports and at the moment it happened to be hurdling. Babb also pointed out that people needed to understand track and field and to recognize that Ryan Brathwaite was not running backwards as some were saying.
“In the preliminaries Ryan Brathwaite ran 13.47 in a negative .25 wind and when you put that against what is expected you would get a thirty one runner if he clears all the hurdles. And what happened in the finals usually happens to most runners in the height of competition that they hit the hurdles and you cannot hit seven hurdles and do well unless you are very strong and have good balance. So he is not running backwards. Ryan all year without Barbados’ knowledge has been getting therapy for his heels which seem to be settling down and his aim is to break the Barbados record this year,” Babb said.
In the former champion’s defence, Babb added that since the World Championship in 2009 all the finalists that year had left the sport or they had run unsuccessfully and Ryan Brathwaite was the only person who had ran successfully.
Shane Brathwaite, who clocked 13.49 in the 110m hurdle finals, was noticeably missing from the team that arrived along with Ryan and Swift who Babb said had some unfinished business in Europe.
Meanwhile, the director of sports at the National Sports Council, Neil Murrell, who was present at the airport to greet the athletes said they would be looking in the future at concentrating on taking just those individuals who could possibly win medals.
“We feel that more could be done and obviously we would have wanted more medals but we just have to work harder. We would also look at sending those individuals who would medal for us,” the director said.