Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Common good


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Come let us join forces for the betterment of Barbados’ athletics.
That was the call from CARIFTA head coach Bryan Holder to his fellow coaches following the return of the Barbados contingent from Martinique where they captured 16 medals, including five golds, and placed third overall.
“The Barbadian coaches must come together and have open and honest discussions to chart a similar path for our athletes,” he said. “Those same athletes are the ones who will help our nation to advance further on the sporting map.
“This year we carried a very young team to CARIFTA which underlined the critical need for higher competitive opportunities to be provided for our athletes,” he added.
While conceding that the conditions were not ideal in Martinique, Holder said that was no excuse for Barbados’ performance.
“I do not think that we have to make any excuses. We carried a young team of 33 athletes and we captured 16 medals.
“Injuries to Mario Burke and Ramarco Thompson certainly affected our overall medal tally and I must compliment the senior members of the team who provided the guidance and motivation for the younger talent,” said the head coach.
“Akela [Jones, who captured three individual gold medals] is a special athlete who always gives the best to her country and she definitely performed from the heart for Barbados.
“Although she had gone on as this was her last CARIFTA, she has more or less adopted Shonita Brome as a younger sister and we look forward to Shonita stepping up with big performances in the future.
“Similarly, Sada Williams has shown that special quality of a mature and level-headed athlete and I do not want to say that she has similar genes to her cousin Shirlene Williams, but we expect great things from Sada considering the growth path she is currently on.”
Proud gold medallist Shamar Rock was among the larger group returning to the island yesterday and his beaming smile was only matched by that of his mum Karen Rock and dad, Errol Atwell, a former national basketballer. They were among the large group of family and friends waving flags, balloons and banners to welcome the team home.
“I feel rather proud in capturing the gold in the long jump and taking a silver in the triple jump considering that I did not make the finals last year,” said Rock.
“The conditions at the hotel were not the best but the stadium was the same for everyone and I consider that my success in Martinique would have removed some of the disappointment after my school Lester Vaughan lost out on the BSSAC title.
“I am glad for the support of my parents, my school coach Alwyn Babb, the Rising Stars athletes and the teachers and students at Lester Vaughan who always had faith in me. I hope that my success will help Lester Vaughan to do even better in coming months,” said Rock.
Williams was also optimistic that her triumph would help to motivate other athletes at her school, Coleridge & Parry. 
“I certainly want to train even harder to achieve more in the athletics world and I hope to inspire a similar attitude at my school,” she said.
With an elated grandmother Migonne Jones close by holding a framed collage of all of the clippings from the NATION newspaper which highlighted Williams’ almost meteoric rise, particularly in the 400, Williams said that her gold in her first year in CARIFTA had provided a drive for greater success.


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