Minister of Sports, Stephen Lashley, posing with the CARIFTA athletes on their return to Barbados in April. (FP)

Athletes and swimmers who donned national colours and represented the island at this year’s CARIFTA meet will be celebrated by the Government of Barbados over??the weekend when a formal reception is held at Ilaro Court, the official residence of the Prime Minister.

This disclosure came today from Minister of Sports, Stephen Lashley, during a press briefing at Parliament Buildings. The event will be held on Saturday, June 4, from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. and each athlete will be given a certificate of participation for competing in the games.

A group of cheerleaders will form a guard of honour, while a tuk band, stilt walkers and the Barbados Youth Steel Orchestra will entertain the athletes and swimmers.

During the CARIFTA games, which were held in Jamaica (track and field) and Barbados (swimming meet) from April 22 to 25, 2011, the athletes won 27 medals – nine gold, eight silver and 10 bronze, while the swimmers received 48 medals – 21 gold, 14 silver and 13 bronze.

Mr. Lashley reiterated that the athletes "performed incredibly well" and stressed that their contributions must, therefore, be celebrated. "When our athletes perform well, whether they received medals or not, we have to show them some kind of appreciation," he told the media.

The Minister explained that government wanted to host the reception earlier, but was unable to do so because the young people were still competing at various athletic and swimming meets.

Last year, Government also held a reception at Hilton Barbados for the CARIFTA athletes.

Meanwhile, Mr. Lashley restated that $2.2 million would be provided so a new track could be laid at the National Stadium. "I expect that work will start on that track just after the Crop Over Festival," he disclosed.

In addition, he pointed out that the track at the University of the West Indies would be laid once the CBC antennas were shifted. "Both tracks will, therefore, provide a good alternative for our athletic training programme," he surmised.


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