The future of athletics looks promising for Barbados but the right infrastructure must be put in place in order for the island’s athletes to excel, says Rising Stars track and field coach Alwyn Babb.
Babb made the remark during an interview with Barbados TODAY at the Lester Vaughan School’s track and field prize-giving ceremony entitled at This One Is For You the school’s auditorium today. The occasion was also dedicated to former principal, Diana Wilson, who passed away last year.
“Yes we have some promising athletes but we need to have a different approach in terms of how we look at athletics as a developing nation. There is a reason why America and those nations want to do well in sports; it says something about your population when you can excel at the highest level in sports.
“I am saying that we as a nation have to pay more interest to those things that would keep our people together. We have to invest a bit more in terms of our infrastructure and we have to invest a bit more in terms of our coaches,” Babb said.
The successful coach who played a pivotal role in Ryan Brathwaite’s accomplishments at the 2009 World Championships said: “ When you have a sporting event and you have Ryan Brathwaite and Ramon Gittens on the international scene, you see Barbadians come together as a nation and support them to do well. So I am saying it is very important for us to do well in sports as a nation, internationally.”
He added that physical education teachers must be commended for their efforts every year in the face of some trying situations at schools and having to deal with time constraints in their effort to motivate the children and to get them to train.
“When other teachers are asleep we are awake at the schools early on mornings or at the stadium on weekends. Inter-school sports and the performances can never be the standard that it is without the physical education teachers sacrificing time and energy morning, noon and night.” Babb said.
Lester Vaughan School did well all-round at this year’s Barbados Secondary Schools Athletics Championships (BSSAC), placing second among the boys with 278 points and fifth among the girls with a tally of 155 points which Babb described as a complete performance.
“It was more complete. We had a better team in terms of depth and the athletes worked much harder. We have six athletes on the CARIFTA team and their selection to the team showed they worked much harder this year. We had some weakness in the under-13 division because they are a group of unknown children compared to what the other schools may have. But all round we had a better team this year,” the coach said.
Lester Vaughan School has a great history in terms of producing outstanding athletes which include the likes of Ryan Brathwaite, Ramon Gittens and Kierre Beckles. And Babb strongly believes that young and upcoming talents like Michael Nicholls, Ashley Williams, Brandon Hope, Tianna Bowen and Rivaldo Leacock can be just has outstanding or even more if they work hard enough.
Victor Ludorum at the just concluded BSSAC, Rivaldo Leacock, was all smiles with the amount of attention he received from his teachers and peers this morning. The promising athlete was awarded several prizes which included most outstanding all-round male student, a platinum award, and a trophy for being the top male athlete in the under-17 division at inter-house sports and for breaking the 400m record at inter-house sports.
A delighted Leacock said: “It is always a great feeling to represent the school and it is the duty of our school to big us up and that’s their initiative to big us up and showcase the talent at Lester Vaughan School. If other schools don’t big up their athletes, then the Lester Vaughan School does.”
Leacock and Bowen, who also did well at BSSAC, are among the school’s students to have made the CARIFTA cut and both expressed their desire to do well when they travelled to Martinique for the games.
“I think I have tremendous support and I will just go out there and give it my all,” Leacock said
“I feel really good because I ran a fast time in the 400m which I worked on to get pick on the CARIFTA team and I am going to go out there and do my best and hope for a medal in the 400m,” Bowen added.
After the ceremony students further celebrated with a walk through the Melrose Village and Arthur Seat, St Thomas communities under the supervision of acting principal Sonja Goodridge and teachers.