Barbados coach wants support; not complaints
Stop the criticisms and put resources in place to assist with the development of Barbados’ national athletes, says track and field coach Bryan Holder.
After arriving at the Grantley Adams International Airport this afternoon with at least eight other persons inclusive of officials and athletes from the just concluded 2016 Rio Olympics, Holder said rather than take to social media to berate the athletes, Barbadians should unite and show they had the country’s interest at heart where track and field was concerned.
Also returning home were chef de mission, Dr Adrian Lorde, athletics therapist Dr Chalice Jordan, team physio Dr Rene Best, massage therapist Sharon Coppin, lawn tennis coach Kevin Yarde, sprinter Levi Cadogan and swimmer Alex Sobers.
Barbadian athletes failed to medal at the 31st Olympiad and many have come under scrutiny for not advancing to the final of their respective events or even producing personal bests. But Holder pointed out that it was time Barbadians began to “put their money where their mouths fly” because there was nothing stopping Barbados from producing top homegrown athletes.
“Just don’t criticize my efforts; tell me how you are going to help me move forward. Don’t just criticize for the sake of it because it is really a national effort and all of us need to come together in our little compartments and put together what is our best method going forward.
“I don’t want to use the term ‘money makes the mare fly’ but in a lot of cases it takes money to get these athletes to that level and I understand in the North American context a coach is five hundred United States dollars and above. You still need to look for your strength trainers, your nutrition list, you still have to talk about your basic needs. I honestly believe that there is nothing stopping Barbados from producing our locally grown athletes to that level outside of setting up the necessary structure needed to take us forward. We have the expertise here we certainly have the talent and the resources are here but they just need to be consolidated towards one effort,”
Holder who would have coached the likes of Akela Jones and sprinter Levi Cadogan in the past at CARIFTA level, added it was unfortunate Barbadian amateur athletes in college were being asked to compete against professionals. He made reference to first- time Olympian Jones who competed against women in their second and third Olympic outing and had to carry the weight of a nation on her shoulders as a 20-year-old.
Evaluating the athletes’ performance, Holder said he thought they gave of their best and going forward the Rio experience was not going to derail their efforts of ensuring Barbadian athletes advance to the podium in the future.
Dr Adrian Lorde in his first stint as Barbados’ chef de mission, said the experience in Brazil was not A-plus but it was still good. Looking ahead to Tokyo 2020, Lorde said we needed to analyze the performances and see what steps could be taken to improve them. He hinted that they were already in talks with a well-known international personality who was willing to conduct camp sessions in order to take the athletes further. However, he did not divulge details on that individual.
“We need to sit down, do a post mortem of the Games, see what has happened, we need to keep this [group] of people [athletes] together and those that didn’t get in like Sada Williams . . . we need all the support of corporate Barbados and the public,” he said.
The only two Barbadian athletes returning home also spoke with the media and Cadogan who qualified for the 200m said things did not go as planned after being involved in an accident prior to leaving the island for the Olympics Games.
However, Cadogan does not intend for this to be his last Olympics outing and said he would be going back to the drawing board in order to improve and in four years time be ready for the Japan 2020 Olympics.
Cadogan, who trains at Quantum Leap under the guidance of Gabriel Burnett, has opted to give his injured back a rest until next year before competing at any major international events.
Cadogan suggested that the Barbados team still did well despite not winning any medals and said for most of them it was all about gaining experience at that level.
Meanwhile, Sobers who finished fourth in the men’s 400m freestyle heat said it was an exciting experience for him. Like so many others he too has his eyes set on the next Olympics and plans on putting in the necessary work to get there.