|Sports Minister, Stephen Lashley (centre) posing with the successful Barbados CARIFTA Swim Team recently at the Grantley Adams International Airport. (B. Hinds/BGIS)|
"Beacons of inspiration!" That is how Minister of Culture, Sports and Youth, Stephen Lashley, has described the Barbados CARIFTA Swim Team.
Minister Lashley offered this assessment recently, as he welcomed home the team at the Grantley Adams International Airport, after its successful meet in Jamaica.
He said that Barbados appreciated when its athletes performed well on the international stage and told the swimmers that earning 41 medals – 20 of which were gold – was "a phenomenal achievement".
"Each year, the CARIFTA team continues to do better and better… This year, the swimming team has actually outdone previous performances.??
Forty-one medals, 20 of them being gold, is certainly something worthy of national accolades and recognition," the Sports Minister contented.??????
Stressing that this was the reason why he wanted to congratulate the team in person, he added, "Once you do well, everybody in Barbados feels good.?? You are able to inspire a whole nation.?? When you go abroad and participate in an event such as CARIFTA, you become ambassadors for Barbados."
He encouraged the swimmers to continue to do well and told them to aspire to transform their current skills into a long and life-lasting career. He was of the view that the youngsters played a critical role in helping their nation to create a sports industry.
Urging the team to aim for "even higher heights", he assured the swimmers that his Ministry, through the National Sports Council and its National Strategic Plan for Sports, would provide the necessary support and assistance where possible.??
"We are not behind you, we are beside you," Minister Lashley declared.
Reiterating that the team’s achievements have made the country proud, he said Barbadians had monitored the athletes’ performances.
"You will always be beacons of inspiration to not only your peers at your respective schools, but to Barbados in general.?? As your Minister of Sports, I want to tell you how proud I am, and convey the best wishes of the Government of Barbados to you.?? I also wanted to the share with you the messages of all the fans who said to me to ???big up’ the team.?? We hope that you continue to excel," he emphasised.??
The Sports Minister also praised parents for their support and stressed that their role was extremely important to the development and success of the team.??
"Without you [the parents], there would be no athletes. Certainly, the discipline inculcated in these children from a tender age requires parental support.?? So, I really want to applaud you, especially those who accompanied the team," he said.
Mr. Lashley also lauded the coaches and management for their contribution, pointing out that they would have been on the ground to offer counselling and support.??