Saturday, April 20, 2024

New Year’s wishes


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OVER?THE?YEARS, I’ve made a number of New Year’s wishes for sport in Barbados, some of which are still relevant today and form part of my aspirations for 2013.
With a general election looming, one expects both major political parties to repeat several unfulfilled manifesto promises for sport like a new ultra-modern National Stadium, complemented by a few mini stadia.
In light of Barbados’ unsatisfactory performance at the 2012 London Olympics, I am again calling for a national sporting policy or plan to be implemented to take sport to a new level. After the passing of the National Youth Policy in Parliament, I’m confident that the Minister of Sport, Stephen Lashley, can work with all stakeholders to make such a reality.
I’m hoping that the Barbados Olympic Association (BOA)?won’t see its remit as to only fund national teams to regional and international engagements and  that the National Sports Council (NSC)?would recognize their role is not only  to conduct coaching sessions and stage inter-schools’ competitions.
It is also still my desire for the gymnasium at the Garfield Sobers Sports Complex to become an exclusive venue for indoor sports and all non-sporting activities to be no-balled at Kensington Oval. If money-making is a must over maintenance of the facility at “The Mecca” and an indoor 10 000-seat auditorium for cultural activities and other shows can’t be constructed, then sport must be given priority at the world famous venue.
This would allow Barbados teams to regularly practise and play at these venues instead of having to use sub-standard venues, which are unsuitable for national training.
Notwithstanding the global economic crisis, I remain optimistic the Netball Stadium would be transformed into an indoor facility and the refurbishment would include enhanced dressing rooms and seating while expanding the miniscule car park.
Another wish is for the work being done at the National Stadium be  fast-tracked to such a degree that the new track would be re-laid and be ready for competition by the end of February  to facilitate the annual schools’ competitions. Excuses won’t be accepted for any false starts and with hopefully, correct measurements, the staging  of international meets won’t be a major hurdle. A proper media base and  a few hospitality boxes would be  a welcomed addition as well as  the coming on stream of the Ryan Brathwaite Track at the Lazaretto.
Cricket lovers would join me  in hoping that Barbados will finally  beat Trinidad and Tobago and win  the Caribbean Twenty20.
Here’s hoping that the Barbados Cricket Association (BCA) and its selectors see the importance of having trial matches for the four-day and  50-over competitions which will follow the T20, instead of hand-picking  under-achievers for national duty. The ultimate objective would be to snap Jamaica’s five-year first-class reign  and return Barbados to its dominance  of the regional game.
Now that the conflict of interest debate has subsided, I’m also earnestly looking forward to the Barbados Football Association (BFA), under its new president Randy Harris scoring many goals and giving the sport a really massive kick. With the BFA caught off-side in constructing its headquarters and the main stand after the astro turf field was finally laid at Wildey, I’m hopeful that maintenance of the turf would  be a priority and that construction work would kick off again with the view of getting the venue ready to host more than women’s matches. More so, it is my wish that the sport’s governing body, FIFA, won’t red-card the Goal project  by blowing the whistle on funding.On the field of play, it is my wish that the talented national under-17 team would be afforded adequate preparatory friendlies to get them match-ready for their higher level of competition in the upcoming CONCACAF finals in Panama. Also that the national senior team would play a number of practice games during the year with the goal of improving its shrinking FIFA ranking.
Nationally, I’m pleading with Government, despite the world economic recession, to give pre-eminence to improving sporting infrastructure.
Thus, in spite of the lack of foresight in upgrading venues like Bridgefield, Checker Hall, Gall Hill, Charnocks, Brereton, Parish Land, Briar Hall and Dash Valley – and the dilapidation of the YMCA, I’m hopeful the domestic football season would still kick off even though the Stadium won’t be available for the early part of the season.
I remain eternally expectant that irrigation systems would be installed at these grounds and the existing pavilions be refurbished to make the dressing rooms more spacious. Additionally, an increase in seating for spectators and the enclosure of such facilities would allow for the hosting of major sporting activities while collecting entrance fees.   
Another wish would be for boxing won’t be floored anymore by the lack of proper sparring facilities while female boxers would start throwing winning punches and that promoters won’t constantly jab for funding to assist  those joining the pro ranks.
Of course, I’m still yearning  for night horse racing at the Garrison Savannah and to put the brakes on the wheels of cycling’s controversy while hoping the number of brawls at sporting contests last year won’t continue  in 2013 and tennis exhibitions won’t  hit the rocks again.
It is also my hope that swimming would make a bigger splash in the regional and international pool while volleyball would spike its way back  to the net of regional supremacy and basketball won’t have any more slam dunks with chairs and drop kicks.
A peaceful and prosperous 2013  to everyone.

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