Barbados??? geographic location makes this island an ideal transition training ground for athletes who are preparing for the 2016 Olympics in Rio, Brazil.
Minister of Culture, Sports and Youth, Stephen Lashley, made this assertion yesterday during his feature address at the Pan American Sports Organization???s (PASO) Executive Meeting at the Hilton Barbados.
Mr. Lashley pointed out that both Barbados and Brazil offered similar climatic conditions as well as excellent sporting facilities. He said the relatively peaceful nature of the island was another significant advantage.
???In Barbados, we have recently installed a Mondo track at our National Stadium. Another track is nearing completion at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus; we also have Olympic standard swimming facilities and a gymnasium that caters to multiple indoors sports??? and our beautiful shores can accommodate canoeing and other water sports,??? he outlined.
The Sports Minister added: ???These facilities are complemented by excellent social, cultural and infrastructural conditions and a direct air link to Brazil, rendering Barbados as ideal for those athletes desiring to train in conditions similar to Rio.???
Indicating that it was customary for teams to use venues in countries comparable to the Olympic host nation for training purposes, he opined that such a move would be an ???excellent opportunity for Barbados???.
Reasoning this could help the island to ???attract inflows that are usually associated with major sports???, he explained, ???Anytime we have teams coming in from various countries they will spend??? There is always a direct spill over to tourism. There is a specific strategy by the Government to ensure that we can use tourism and sports as major vehicles of economic diversification.???
Minister Lashley suggested that Barbados needed to create the ???necessary pull activities??? to fully benefit from sports tourism. Nonetheless, he underscored that he was confident that Barbados could design a programme that would bring sports teams to these shores.
He outlined that this country was currently in the discussion phase of this initiative and the island hoped to gain the support of PASO. If successful, the Barbados Olympic Association and the National Sports Council would be involved in facilitating such an activity.