Minister of Sports,??Stephen Lashley, (centre), President of the Amateur Athletics Association of Barbados, Esther Maynard (fourth from left) and other officials posing with Barbados’ track and field team on their arrival from the Cayman Islands. (A. Miller/BGIS)

Minister of Sports, Stephen Lashley, has commended those athletes who competed in the just concluded 39th CARIFTA Games in Grand Cayman for their outstanding performances.

While briefly addressing a group of 16 athletes and some members of the Amateur Athletic Association who arrived on an American Airlines flight at the Grantley Adams International Airport last night, Mr. Lashley urged them to continue striving for excellence in their particular discipline.

??"Government is proud of your achievement and we will continue to provide you with the necessary support, inside and outside of Barbados, to do even better. You do have ahead of you a really good opportunity to excel, even at the 2012 Olympics in London… We want you to go and we have laid out, through the National Sports Council, a programme to support our athletes, who we want to achieve in London. We have to see that as the next step – to bring glory to Barbados and to you."

This country received 18 medals – three gold, seven silver and eight bronze – during the weekend meet, and the Minister suggested that the medal tally was impressive.

"If you look at the per capita of Barbados, just over two hundred and seventy thousand people, compared to Jamaica, that is a phenomenal achievement, so you certainly deserve an acclamation," he told the tired, but appreciative audience.

Mr. Lashley also encouraged the athletes to take care of their health, stressing that healthy eating and drinking were necessary for athletic prowess. He promised: "We will be doing our part in Government in terms of guiding you … So, we want our athletes to be very conscious of what you ingest …"

The final group of athletes in the Cayman Islands, as well as those who competed in the swimming championships in Jamaica, will return to Barbados here tonight. Government is expected to host a reception soon for all the athletes.

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