Sports Minister, Stephen Lashley, admiring the medals of members of the successful Barbados CARIFTA swim team at the Grantley Adams International Airport recently. (B. Hinds/BGIS)??

The Cabinet of Barbados has approved an "ambitious" five-year plan, which includes the implementation of a high performance centre designed to enhance and develop sports excellence in Barbados.

Minister of Culture, Sports and Youth, Stephen Lashley, made this disclosure recently, as he welcomed home the successful Barbados CARIFTA swim team from Jamaica, in the Grace Adams Suite, at the Grantley Adams International Airport.

Speaking to the press, Minister Lashley said the high performance centre was part of the National Strategic Plan for Sports. "We recognise that our high achievers require specialist training and continuous counselling," he said.??

Noting that this was the role of the National Sports Council, he pointed out that the institution had already embarked on plans to develop sporting excellence.

He explained that the National Strategic Plan was created in consultation with sports associations and federations and indicated that the initiative, was part of the thrust to develop "a plan that makes sense at the practical level".

In light of this, the Minister said that he would be meeting with the Barbados Swimming Association in an effort to ascertain that group’s plans and areas for potential collaboration.

Another aspect of the National Strategic Plan, he noted, was the Team Barbados approach. The Sports Minister stated that the National Sports Council was putting various mechanisms in place to encourage and facilitate this concept.??

He added that it was essential for the country to adopt "a holistic approach, where…we take along a team, and the team concept does not leave anyone behind".

Mr. Lashley observed that when the island’s athletes were preparing for international meets such as the Olympics, there were hopes, aspirations and expectations of success.

"What we know is [that for us] to get to that point over a period of at least five years, we need to adopt a Team Barbados approach, where we put resources and strategies behind these athletes. so we know for a fact, that they would medal when they go to international competitions. That is the thrust I envision will occur particularly with these high achievers," Minister Lashley explained. ??

He added that the establishment of a Sporting Hall of Fame was another facet of the National Strategic Plan for sports. In addition, he stressed that working with former sporting champions in an effort to develop the younger generation was an endeavour to be pursued.

"This would entail relying heavily on our tried and tested legends.?? We have already embraced the concept of adopting our sporting legends by supporting the Legends of Barbados in terms of cricket, but our thinking in [respect of] that has to be expanded.

"We have to ensure that our athletes who have accomplished [great feats] and who have now amassed significant expertise in their fields, that those skill and talent are not lost …," Mr. Lashley maintained.


Author: Shamkoe Pil??

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