Pan Am bound
Twenty-nine to carry Bajan flag in Canada
James Alexander Johnson will make history when he becomes the first golfer to represent Barbados at the 2015 Pan American Games.
Johnson’s name was among 29 athletes inclusive of 18 males and 11 females named today who will fly the Broken Trident at the 17th Pan American Games which will take place in Toronto, Canada, from July 10 to 26.
In a bitter-sweet media conference held this afternoon at the office of the Barbados Olympic Association (BOA) where the announcement of the team was made, chef de mission to the games Esther Maynard who is scheduled to leave the island tomorrow along with team manager Glyne Clarke, said the athletes were selected based on their rankings. She added even though many of them had reached the Athletic Association of Barbados’ qualifying standards, which was also the original benchmark set out by the Pan American games organizers, many of the local athletes were denied because the qualifying standards were raised even higher by those in charge.
“A total of 680 athletes will take part in athletics and at the preliminary entry stage Pan Am were faced with eleven hundred entries [for] athletes by the numerical entry which certainly did not fit into the criteria of six hundred and eighty. Canada were guaranteed places in every event so a system had to be devised to ensure a selection process and it was decided to go on the rankings of athletes and that is how we ended up with our eighteen that we selected and only fourteen being accepted,” Maynard explained, adding they were made aware of the changes on June 15 and had to submit qualifiers up to that point.
It is understood that the reason for the reduction in athletes is in an effort to manage numbers and costs.
The team manager also pointed out that normally Pan American usually allowed participants to the stay for the duration of the games but such was not the case for this year.
“They are doing it in such a way that you will come in a few days before your competition and then you leave as soon as your competition has completed and that is quite unusual from what has happened at previous Pan Am Games. But this is the route they have chosen to adopt and hence we wouldn’t have our team there for the entire games.
So as soon as you finish your competition within a day or two of you completing your competition you would head out because there are only so many beds they can accommodate at any one time. So they are trying to keep those numbers as manageable as possible,” Clarke said.
A subsidy was provided by the organizers which will cover air fares, uniforms and accommodation, revealed BOA secretary general Erskine Simmons, who also added that the trip would cost about BDS$150 000.
Maynard assured that they had done the best they could to ensure that all ten sports that Barbados would participate in were adequately taken care of. Those definitely attending are sprinters Levi Cadogan and Ramon Gittens in the 100m. Shane Brathwaite and Greggmar Swift will compete in the 110m hurdles. Meanwhile in women’s track and field Sonia Gaskin will participate in the 800m, Kerrie Beckles the 100m hurdles and Akela Jones in the women’s high jump and heptathlon.
In aquatics Lani Cabrera, Christopher Courtis and Alex Sobers will be going for gold. Sabrina Scott and Dakeil Thorpe will be looking to do likewise in badminton.
Other athletes include Adrian Biscette in boxing, Emily Kinch in Equestrian, Jason Wilson in the triathlon and Brien Best in weightlifting. Darian King, Haydn Lewis and Seanon Williams will do battle in lawn tennis. Michelle Elliot and Michael Maskell are scheduled to take part in shooting. There is also a men’s and women’s 4x100m and 4x400m respectively.
The medical staff comprises of Dr Carl Ward, physio Marita Marshall and massage therapist Sharon Coppin.