Congratulations: Minister of Sports, Stephen Lashley, presenting Karen Meakins with an award for copping the Sports Personality of the Year title.??

Minister of Sports, Stephen Lashley, has reiterated that the National Sports Council will be placing greater emphasis on community sports in the future.

While delivering an address last Saturday at the 28th Annual National Sports Awards Ceremony at the Frank Collymore Hall, Mr. Lashley explained that the purpose of encouraging community sports was two-fold.

"It will allow us to unearth hidden talent that may not otherwise be detected through the traditional channels, and it will also go a long way towards promoting social cohesion and empowering our young people. One of the other benefits which we must also acknowledge is the contribution that this emphasis on sports will make to promoting healthy lifestyles among Barbadians…

"Very soon, therefore, the Council will be rolling out two other very important initiatives – an Inter-Parish Basketball Competition and Inter-Parish Road Races – both of which are guaranteed to be exciting and enjoyable," the Minister stated.

Minister of Sports, Stephen Lashley, in conversation with Former World 200 metres Champion, Frankie Fredericks, during the awards ceremony.

Mr. Lashley promised Government would continue to render assistance to all sportspersons, while remaining optimistic and convinced that one day they would boast as impressive a record as that of featured speaker, Frankie Fredericks of Namibia, a former world 200 metres Champion.

??"To achieve this objective, the National Sports Council is working closely with the national associations to identify and to harness the abundance of sporting talent we have in Barbados. We want to take this talent and to develop it to the fullest," he maintained.

Mr. Lashley challenged the awardees to recognise they could reach great heights. "You too can attain that glory. It is not beyond your grasp. Granted, it takes talent, but thereafter, it requires commitment, determination, dedication and discipline…

"At the local level, we recognise that not all of our athletes will qualify for the Olympics, but I wish to remind you that the sky is still your limit. This is not the only goal to which you can aspire. Reach for your full potential, regardless, and with the assistance available from the Council, you can have the satisfaction of other sterling achievements," he surmised.

The Sports Minister told the audience that one of Government’s priorities was preparing for the 2012 Olympics in London and assured the sports persons that their quests to be part of the games would be supported through the NSC. "The Council has been granted funding for the coming financial year to assist our medal contenders with training and preparation for this event. Of course, we still look forward to our usual partnership with the private sector in order to be able to make our level of participation what it should be," Minister Lashley disclosed.??????????

Those rewarded during the night included Kenmore Bynoe, who received the Media Award; Coach of the Year, Alwyn Babb; and Dr. Raymond Forde who was given the Alvin Burgess Award, while Kraigg Brathwaite and Deandra Dottin were adjudged Junior Outstanding Sports Persons male and female, respectively. The Emerging Athlete Awards were presented to jockey Jalon Samuel and swimmer Damon St. Prix.????

Swimmer Bradley Ally received the coveted Minister’s Award and Senior Outstanding Sports Person (male) award, while squash player, Karen Meakins, received the National Sports Personality 2010 award and Senior Outstanding Sports Person (female) title.??saustin@barbados.gov.bb

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