Robert Povey (left) and Colin Symes, two captains who will represent Barbados?? in the April 24-May 7 "Fireball Barbados Worlds 2010" event, stand??in front of one of the Fireballs?? that will be competing here in Barbados.????

This island’s hosting of the prestigious yachting event, known as the Fireball International World Championship, this year, is part of a deliberate strategy by Government to boost sports tourism.

This was emphasised by Minister of Tourism, Richard Sealy, as he addressed the recent launch of the event dubbed "Fireball Barbados World’s 2010", at the Barbados Yacht Club (BYC) in Bay Street.

Commending the organisers and sponsors, Minister Sealy said: "One has to look at the backdrop against which this is happening and the determination by Government that we need to have sports tourism not just to help us out of this recession in terms of driving more numbers to Barbados, but certainly something that can be expanded upon to truly take Barbados’ tourism to another level."

And, he added that it was important to understand that even some of the non-traditional sports, not previously embraced, from a tourism point of view, had now to be accepted.

The world class competition will be staged here for the first time, from April 24 to May 7 with major sponsorship from the Barbados Tourism Authority (BTA). It will be sailed under the auspices of the Barbados Sailing Association (BSA), with the BYC as the host venue.

Minister Sealy, in lauding the work of the sports department of the BTA observed: "You hear of sports tourism now in other areas – polo, lawn tennis and of course the whole marine sports… so this is really part of a deliberate strategy to try to broaden and deepen the whole concept of sports tourism in order to have it as a tool for developing our tourism generally."

Pointing out that the island was a tremendous venue for yachting and it was appropriate that it be developed, the Tourism Minister asserted this was in addition to it possessing "tremendous geography, being the first landform over the Atlantic"
"There is far more we can do even beyond Fireballs and those smaller and larger vessels," Mr. Sealy declared, noting also that the game fishing community and the Annual Mount Gay Regatta continued to boost sports tourism.

Meanwhile, President of the BSA, Penny McIntyre acknowledged that Fireball Barbados World’s 2010 was a fantastic way to begin "what might well become the best decade of sailing in Barbados". She praised Government for recognising that Barbados had "one of the remarkable sailing venues in the world" and expressed the hope that the World Championships would be an inspiration for sailors, both young and old and that locals and visitors would "come out and support the spectacle, while putting Barbados on the world sailing map".

The Fireball competition is an annual event where sailing takes place on a high performance two-person 16ft dinghy.
Approximately 20 countries are expected to be represented at Fireball Barbados World’s 2010. Over 76 Fireball dinghies, with some 150 sailors, their families and friends are expected on the island for the tournament. Barbados will be represented by three teams captained by Colin Symes, Robert Povey and Robin Patterson.

In honour of the event, Prime Minister David Thompson will host a cocktail reception at his official residence, Ilaro Court on April 29, while the Barbados Postal Authority will release a commemorative stamp.??jgill@barbados.gov.bb

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