The Wildey Astroturf came alive yesterday with a number of cultural performances and speeches by seasoned hockey enthusiasts, to mark the opening of the 25th Annual Banks Barbados International Hockey Festival.

Minister of Youth, Family and Sports, Stephen Lashley, who was on hand to deliver the feature address, pledged his Ministry’s commitment to the sustainability and future development of local hockey.

Mr. Lashley noted that since the inception of the festival in 1986, Barbados’ economy has benefitted significantly.

"I am aware that one of the primary objectives of the Hockey Federation was to promote Barbados and the region as a sports tourism destination and I applaud your successes to date. This festival was one of the inaugural sports-tourism ventures in Barbados and I am quite happy to note that a number of … disciplines have followed suit, thereby establishing Barbados as a premier destination for sports," he stated.

The Minister acknowledged the need for "a new or upgraded world-class Astroturf and hockey sporting facility" and maintained that Government would support the project once resources allowed.

The festival, which runs until Saturday, August 21 will be played at the Astroturf, LIME Sports Club and the Banks Sports Club ALL in Wildey and the Police Sports Club at Weymouth.??

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