Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Stoute: Athletes come first


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The top local Olympic official has told sporting groups here to put the athletes first.
Long-serving president of the Barbados Olympic Association, Steve Stoute, gave the advice during an address at the Barbados Cycling Union’s (BCU) 50th annual awards ceremony on Saturday night.
Stoute, who served for many years as secretary of the BCU, encouraged the organisation to engage in change and dialogue to resolve any perceived difficulties.  
The BCU was hit last year by internal conflict when at least three officials resigned, reportedly because of differences with president Keith Yearwood.
Stoute said: “It is imperative that all national sports bodies try to overcome their internal squabbles and strive to work towards the common goal of developing their sport with the primary strategy of putting the athlete above all else, in our quest to create a nation of young people with healthy minds and bodies,” Stoute said.
The BOA official also warned athletes to avoid the use of performance-enhancing substances, citing cycling’s Lance Armstrong as an example that cheaters will be brought to justice, no matter how great or how mighty they are.
“I firmly believe that with time and modifications in management philosophies, the sport (of cycling) will emerge stronger and will always be a prolific part of the Olympic programme,” Stoute said.
Yearwood said the BCU was embarking on a new strategic plan which had been developed by Dr Hensley Sobers to chart the path towards another 50 years of success for cycling.
He complimented Government for its safeguarding of the cycling track as repairs are ongoing at the National Stadium but he made a request for the construction of a 250 metre velodrome – the standard size for Olympic and elite events.
“Our riders train on our 500 metre velodrome and when we compete overseas we are at a disadvantage in negotiating the curves on the 250 track,” Yearwood said.
“Similarly, we want to contribute to sports tourism by staging world class events but we cannot do so since international riders will not compete on a 500 velodrome.”  
As part of the 50 year celebrations, the BCU recognized past presidents with Yearwood, Mark Grannum, George Edghill, and Steve Marshall being present to accept their awards. The other past leaders recognised were the late Randolph Fields, Bruce Stoute and Lisle Carmichael.
The night, however, belonged to Darren Mathews who is training in Colombia. He was named Cyclist Of The Year while his club, CGI/G4S Team Swift, was the top club of the year.
Another top performer was Stuart Maloney, who as an independent rider, dominated the masters’ class on the track and on the road.  
Kristin Vanderpool proved equally versatile in the juniors category.
The awards ceremony took place at the Harcourt Lewis Auditorium of the Barbados Public Workers’ Cooperative Credit Union at Belmont Road, St Michael. (KB)


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