Barbados officially invited to Rio 2016 Olympics
Athletics seems likely to be the only sport in which Barbados will be represented at the 2016 Rio Olympics and Paralympics in Brazil.
That was the indication from Barbados Olympic Association president Steve Stoute during the official handing over of Barbados’ invitation to the games by Brazilian ambassador Luis De Andrade at the BOA’s Wildey, St Michael headquarters today.
Bringing the media up to date on the BOA’s input into assisting possible qualifiers with their preparation, Stoute said it would be known definitively by June 2016 following the national athletics trials the numbers that would be sent to Brazil.
Stoute said that based on Barbados’ performances at the recently concluded Pan American Games in Canada, it appeared to be “difficult for us to qualify in sports other than athletics”. Barbados was represented in several disciplines including boxing, equestrian sport and swimming, but only track and field athletes returned home with medals.
Stoute noted that thus far triathlete Jason Wilson was ranked among the top 50 in the world in that event and had a good chance of qualifying. Stoute also mentioned Akela Jones in the heptathlon as among those likely to be among the qualifiers.
The longstanding sports administrator explained that the BOA had been providing funding to those athletes nominated by their respective national associations and would continue to do so
Quizzed as to the reasons for the absence of local athletes in events such as the pole vault, steeplechase and hammer throw, Stoute suggested the onus was on local clubs and the national athletics body to develop and push the interest in such events. He however indicated that some clubs were already focusing heavily on field events as part of the overall development of the island’s athletics programme.
Stoute stated that the BOA would provide the necessary funding for all athletes who qualified for Rio and noted that funding support would also be accessed from the International Olympic Committtee as well as the Pan American Association.
During the media briefing De Andrade gave an update on stadia preparations for the games in Brazil which he said would be ready in time for the August 5 to 21 event. The Paralympics will be contested between September 7 to 18.
The games are being staged at a cost of US$12 billion and will attract 10,903 athletes from 205 countries.