Minister of Sports, Stephen Lashley, and officials of his Ministry will be sitting down with local athletes soon to discuss the level of assistance they require.

This disclosure came last night from Mr. Lashley himself, as he addressed a reception at Ilaro Court to honour the seven athletes who represented Barbados at the recent Special Olympics World Summer Games in Athens, Greece.

The Minister told those present: "I plan to meet with all the athletes shortly, including those who went to the World Games, to see whatever support we can build for them. We are going to stay the whole course with them . . . as they do battle on the way to [the] London [Olympics in 2012]."

He said he and the officials in his Ministry felt very strongly about acknowledging the performances of athletes, whether they won medals or not. "We recognise the tremendous effort that it takes to go on to the field and demonstrate that you can be competitive. So, all I ask of our athletes is for them to be competitive and gave of their best… We will continue to salute your efforts and ensure that you are given the kind of support that is necessary," he promised.

Mr. Lashley lauded the team for its accomplishments, stating that capturing seven medals in a competition by seven persons was "highly commendable". He reiterated that such an achievement, inclusive of two gold medals at the level of the World Summer Games, "is simply phenomenal".

"Through your performances, you have clearly demonstrated that no challenge is insurmountable.

The discipline and resolve you have exhibited in your quest for excellence on the world stage is certainly laudable, and I urge all Barbadians, especially our youth, to emulate this approach in their daily lives," he suggested.

The Minister commended Digicel for its support of the Special Olympics athletes and encouraged corporate Barbados to embrace that community and afford them the opportunity to shine.


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