Sports fraternity takes the national spotlight

After a number of pleas from different quarters across the sporting fraternity, Minister of Culture, Sports and Youth Stephen Lashley has finally spoken on the National Stadium’s future.

Speaking at the 34th Annual National Sports Council’s (NSC) Awards held at the Frank Collymore Hall this weekend, the minister did not delve into many specific details during his speech on the state-owned Stadium, but said enough to give some hope that Government through the NSC intended to do something in the upcoming months.

“We are still actively trying to secure funds for its [stadium] redevelopment. We understand the importance of this facility to sports development in Barbados and it has not been forgotten. More will be forthcoming on this in the months ahead,” Lashley said.

(From left) West Indies Women’s coach Vasbert Drakes won Coach of the Year ahead of Margaret Cutting of netball, Ramon Armstrong of track and field and Renaldo Maughan of Pinelands basketball team. Dr June Caddle is at centre.

Government’s purse might be facing severe constraints, but Lashley said the Ministry of Sports was partnering with other entities that remained nameless to upgrade a number of Government-owned facilities in the island. He also mentioned that the Sir Garfield Sobers Sports Complex, currently being refurbished by the Chinese government at a cost of Barbados $19 million, was on course to be completed mid-year.

“Through the National Sports Council, Government is partnering with the Barbados Olympic Association by contributing $200,000 to the laying of the new AstroTurf at the Wildey Hockey facility.

“To ensure that our sports facilities are properly and consistently maintained, there is the establishment of a partnership with community groups and of course the private sector to refurbish pavilions and upgrade playing fields and hard courts across Barbados. This is vital because the Government alone cannot do it all. The National Sports Council has also reviewed its facilities, maintenance and management policies and has established guidelines and a benchmark for the maintenance of its facilities,” he said.

Sports Personality of the Year Hayley Matthews was unable to attend the ceremony and was represented by her father Mike Matthews (left), here receiving award from Sports Minister Stephen Lashley.

Meanwhile, many in the sports community were stunned with the announcement of Barbadian and West Indies cricketer Hayley Matthews as the 2016 National Sports Council’s Personality of the Year, beating out a number of top contenders including Barbados’s most successful lawn tennis professional player, Darian King.

Matthews, a batting all-rounder, also captured the Junior Outstanding Female Sports Award. Her most notable achievement for last year was the instrumental role she played in leading West Indies Women to their maiden International Cricket Council Twenty20 trophy. Mario Burke was named the Junior Outstanding Male. Squash sensation Meagan Best received the Minister’s Award while being recognized as one of three Emerging Athletes of the Year along with cyclist Amber Joseph and cricketer Shamar Springer.

Featured speaker and 2000 Sydney Olympics bronze medallist, Obadele Thompson, grabbed the attention of those in the audience with a thought-provoking address. Among those assembled were specially invited guests Sir Austin Sealy and Sir Everton Weekes of the famous 3Ws. The latter received the Lifetime Achievement Award.

The Lifetime Achievement Award went to West Indies legend Sir Everton Weekes.

Thompson said sports was a politically, socially and economically sizeable and complex business that had to be taken seriously if Barbados were to have any hope of becoming a global player across the board.

The 40-year-old made a proposal to Government for the surveillance of national sporting federations to the extent where they gave account to the people of Barbados about funding, among other areas Thompson explained that in cases of limited resources, the Government needed to be more actively involved in the distribution of those resources.

Foundation School coach Seibert Straughan (left) being presented with the Secondary Schools Award by Basil Gittens.

“I view our sports persons as limited resources. As I progressed through my athletic career, it saddened me about how many athletes that I competed with and against as a junior in Barbados who were forced to walk away from the sport prematurely, a sport that they loved, that they sacrifice so much for.

“We must be mindful that the youth are our future and when an athlete effectively is forced to retire prematurely, or when they leave the sport with a sour taste in their mouth that ultimately becomes baggage for the rest of their life. And sadly I think we have too many athletes in various sports walking around with deep and unresolved negative feelings towards sports administrators and this represents not just a lost of athletic talent but a generational transfer of knowledge.

Long-standing Barbados Cricket Association senior officer Roxanne Forte headed a list of persons receiving special awards, presented here by Herbert Harewood.

“And while I do not think it is fair to paint all administrators with the same brush, I truly believe that the higher up one is, the greater responsibility one has especially when it comes to young people.

“I think the Government needs to play an integral role in monitoring national federations, I think there needs to be an existing organization to which national federations report. I think on a whole national federations need to have greater accountability and transparency to Barbadians regarding how they handle our limited resources,” said Thompson.

Former national hockey star Ralph Holder presenting the National Youth Award to CARIFTA gold medallist McCallum Clarke for his swimming exploits.

Among the award winners:

Performance of the Year – Cricketer Carlos Brathwaite

Indigenous Sports Award – Road Tennis awards went to Ezekiel Ward, Julian White and Kim Holder

Coach of the Year – Vasbert Drakes

The Alvin Burgess Award for Sports Administrator – Amanda Reifer

The Media Award – Mark Sealy

Team 2016 – Barbados Karate team

Club Award – University of the West Indies

Federation Award – Barbados Boxing Association

Sports Tourism Award – Island Races

Seniors Award – Nicholas King – Basketball, Michael Maskell – Shooting and Deighton Roach – Road Tennis

Family Award – The Proverbs

NSC Team Award– The National Sports Council’s Female Football Team

Special Awards – Roxanne Forte, Christopher McCollin, Charlene Leacock, Michael Lopez, Alston Williams and Vernon Williams

The Wesley Worrell Award – Glyne Greaves and Marlon Knight

Youth Awards – McCallum Clarke and Zane Maloney

Schools’ Award – Bayley’s Primary and Christ Church Foundation

Groundsman of the Year – Errol Holder

Community Awards – Nadata Kissoon- Ifill and Evans Maughan

One Response to Sports fraternity takes the national spotlight

  1. Nathaniel Samuels January 17, 2017 at 10:11 am

    Oba, the idea of government monitoring sporting federations is a high and worthy idea but first, government must monitor itself and let its people know what is going on. Once that is done, I am sure the sporting federations would be more amenable to being monitored.


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