Barbados’ secondary schools athletes will have their day in the sun after all.
Minister of Sports Stephen Lashley today gave the assurance that there would be an athletics meet for the senior schools starting next week. This announcement came following a meeting with Minister of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation, Ronald Jones, and the Physical Education Teachers Association of Barbados (PETAB) at the Elsie Payne Complex, Constitution Road, St. Michael.
Lashley said that secondary school athletes will be able to showcase their prowess this term on a national stage when the Barbados National Secondary Schools’ Championships (BNSSC) commences on Tuesday, April 2.†The annual Barbados Secondary Schools’ Athletic Championships (BSSAC) was postponed in February due to the unavailability of the National Stadium’s track which is undergoing repairs.Describing the upcoming championships as a “one off, substitute event”, Lashley disclosed that the preliminaries would take place on Tuesday, April 2, and Wednesday, April 3, at the Weymouth Grounds, Roebuck Street, St. Michael.
He noted that the dates for the semi-finals and the finals would be provided later, and indicated that there was a possibility that those meets could take place over a few weekends.”We expect that those finals can be scheduled at a time when the National Stadium’s track is completed…”†The sports minister explained that the track created some challenges for the timing of the annual BSSAC, and as a result, the proposal by PETAB for an alternative meet was accepted.
“Having reviewed a proposal for a track meet from PETAB, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Youth as well as the Ministry of Education, has agreed to move forward with this proposal and to advise the principals of the various schools of its details,” he said.Lashley added: “For the past two weeks, both Minister Jones and myself have been engaging with BSSAC, as well as the physical education teachers, to see how best we could respond in terms of convening a scheduled BSSAC competition at a convenient time within the schools’ calendar.”
Lashley pointed out that BNSSC would have a different structure to that of BSSAC.”A committee comprising physical education teachers, assisted by officials of the Ministries of Education and Sports, and other support mechanisms such as the National Sports Council, will be deployed to ensure that this particular meet will be held, and, is successful,” he outlined.
In addition, Lashley said the island’s 22 secondary schools would be divided into two zones, and athletes representing Barbados at the CARIFTA Games in the Bahamas would be granted a waiver for two events into the semi-final/final stage of the competition.
Lashley emphasised that providing the students with the opportunity to display their talents was the priority of all stakeholders.”I certainly would want to commend all the parties involved. Under these trying circumstances, with the current state of the [stadium’s] track, it has not been an easy exercise to come up with a particular window to hold these games.
“But, I believe that my ministry, the Ministry of Education, the principals and the teachers would agree that having a track meet would be of benefit to those athletes who would have been preparing for the entire school year,” Lashley stressed. (SP/BGIS)††