Friday, April 12, 2024

Get on track!


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It’s time to get off the complaining bandwagon, and think about hopping on to the medal podium, says Barbados’ chef de mission for the upcoming Commonwealth Games.
Cammie Burke urged members of his contingent to start concentrating on bringing home some medals for Barbados.
Burke, who has been in New Delhi, India, since last weekend, told the NATION SPORT yesterday that despite numerous problems the organisers were having last week, things at the Games Village were improving rapidly, and athletes should start thinking more about how they plan to perform, than if “every single thing” was perfect in terms of planning and organisation.
Organisers of the games have come in for stinging criticism because of unfinished areas and some confusion, but Burke noted yesterday that everything was fine as it related to Barbados.
“We have no major issues at all right now. The apartments in the Games Village are ready, and when most of the athletes arrive tomorrow [today], they should be comfortable. We have running water, we have electricity, and we have people here who are always willing to help.
“Our people need to start concentrating on themselves, and not everything that is happening around them,” Burke told the NATION SPORT in an exclusive interview by telephone link-up from Delhi.
He said that athletes from the developing world, in particular, should not be sidetracked by technical problems.
“This is really nothing new for Barbadian athletes. We’ve been at competitions before like the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games, where not everything has been in perfect place, and we’ve gone out there and won medals.
“We can’t start thinking like the British team, who have become accustomed to the highest standards around every corner. We should have a different mentality from the start,” Burke said.
The head of the Barbados contingent added that even though there was not a trained sports psychologist travelling with the 37-member Barbados team, he and team manager Glyne Clarke would pay special attention to getting the athletes to focus on their personal performance plans and not be sidetracked by technical issues.
According to Burke, special attention would be paid to the netball squad, which has the youngest members of Team Barbados.
“When our netballers arrive tomorrow, they will be very comfortable. We were most concerned about them, since many had been wondering, after hearing of all the problems, if they should still come here. We are making sure that mentally we have them on the right track, because we are expecting some high-quality performances from our netballers.”
Burke revealed that meetings were held everyday with chef de missions, bringing them up to date with any issues, and so it was his responsibility to keep things on an even keel in the Barbados camp.
He noted that no serious security issues had come up so far.
“The organisers remain very serious about security. There will be police outriders to travel with every team bus, and searches are always being done on anyone coming into the Games Village. When the Barbadian athletes come here, I strongly believe they should feel safe and can concentrate on what they came here to do,” Burke concluded.
Barbados’ 37-member team starts arriving this morning in Delhi from England, with world-rated cyclist Barry Forde and teammate Darren Matthews expected in from their base in Berlin, Germany, on Sunday to complete the squad.
The country will be represented in athletics, netball, badminton, boxing, cycling, swimming, shooting, tennis, weightlifting and table tennis.


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