The Barbados rugby team is off to the Commonwealth games for the first time and their coach is calling for the support of the Barbadian public.
In an interview withBarbados TODAYJoe Whipple appealed particularly to Government for support but he stated that assistance did not only mean signing a cheque. He explained what he wanted was for people to understand the role of sports. And he said because of the lack of that understanding in Barbados the development of the sector had been
very much impeded.
“So what happens is unless that sport is taking you to a scholarship we don’t see value in it. One of the things we have to get over is that the society is very much dominated by the matriarch – the mothers, the grandmothers . . . . The women’s sports in Barbados traditionally were never developed, women very rarely did they play sport so what happened was they don’t have a sporting background. They don’t understand the role of sport. The thing they do understand is education so everything goes to education and we don’t see the link between education and sport. So we don’t draw the link, we don’t draw that sport provides discipline, different methods of learning and it gives us balance in our lives,” he said.
Stating that link could be made, he noted specifically it had occurred in rugby as there were many success stories.
Barbados, considered underdogs, will be going up against the world’s 16 best rugby teams in the July 26 and 27 tournament in Glasgow in the United Kingdom. Stating he knew it would be very difficult to win a medal, Whipple said that his squad had been training arduously since last December, with a training session even on Christmas Day, and those persons who had no expectations of them would be in for a surprise.
“When you get to these types of events it’s about showing pride, effort and the skills of your game. Then you let the results lay as they lay. We’re a small country, limited funding against giants so we understand that. But when you are on the field it is just another player– another person. They don’t come in steel suits with guns so we have to approach every single game,” he said.
“We have respect for all these teams but we just have to put our best effort forward and see how the results are. The results are the results and we will manage what we can manage. It’s no different than a world class sprinter who goes in and runs his best ever time and comes sixth. Was he successful? Of course he was. So when you set that high bar, when you talk about winning you are talking about a very difficult task– no question. So what we want to do is play to our potential to put barbados in the right light on the world scene,” the coach added.
Barbados reached the Commonwealth Rugby 7 Games after being the first reserve team selected from the November Cayman Islands games. Trinidad and Tobago will be the only other team from the region at the games.