Minister of Sports, Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo (FP)????

Parents have been told they should not "throw in the towel" if their children are not performing well academically.

That is the message from Minister of Sports, Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo, who said parents should investigate their children’s other interests. "Yes, we still want to encourage our children to do well… They may not all be talented in academics, but allow them to explore their talents. I know there is a wealth of untapped potential out there that we can see Barbados doing well in.

"Our young people were made to feel that if they were not exceptionally bright, that all hope was lost, there was no chance of a future and ultimately, many of them got marginalised," Dr. Byer Suckoo stated.??

Her comments came yesterday during a press conference at Government Headquarters to disclose celebratory plans for gold medallist hurdler Ryan Brathwaite’s homecoming next Thursday, September 17.

She noted that some parents told their children to "put aside the sports" when they were preparing for the Common Entrance Examination or entering Fifth Form, but she stressed that balance was needed. ??According to her, the same discipline that was required for education was needed for sports.

The Minister said Ryan’s accomplishment was a beacon for young people, and an encouragement for them to aspire to great feats. "We don’t know the dollar value of Ryan’s achievement for tourism… We are trying to get Barbados’ name out there, and Ryan has certainly done that and in a completely different market as well," she pointed out.

Dr. Byer Suckoo promised that her Ministry would take hold of "this golden opportunity" of Mr. Brathwaite’s winning the World Championship hurdle title and start to build on it. She continued: "We are looking at how we will work towards the 2012 Olympics and how we can build on Ryan’s legacy for training other young people."

She reaffirmed Government’s commitment to work with sporting organisations that had "proper plans", and encouraged all to develop those necessary tools which would guide them.

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