It is unfortunate to bash and paint everyone with one brush, says president of the Badminton Association of Barbados (BAB), Kevin Wood.
His comments came in response to president of the Barbados Olympic Association (BOA), Steve Stoute, who was quoted last Friday in Barbados TODAY stating that the local badminton and cycling associations continued to carry individuals to the Commonwealth Games but never won any medals.
“Some of the comments he [Stoute] made were a bit unfortunate and what really needs to be done is that the Barbados Olympic Association need to come out and say what their goals are and what they are looking to achieve and what sports they are looking to achieve it from because I will be really honest, badminton is not going to win any medals at the Commonwealth Games and I am being honest. You are not going to achieve medals from certain sports,” Wood said.
He also made it clear that it was not a matter of words between himself and the BOA president but what the badminton association sought to do was represent the players whom he said played competitively and give of their best in Glasgow, Scotland. Wood said that unfortunately Barbados ended up in a group with Malaysia and Sri Lanka.
“Our players have been training for the past year or so preparing for the Commonwealth Games and these guys work really hard to get what they wanted out of their training. These guys train at 5 a.m. in the morning and 5 p.m. in the evening. These guys have to go to work and they still have to go to the gym or schools and deal with their family. So the commitment from the players is there,” the president said.
Wood told Barbados TODAY the government, BOA, private sector and other entities should come together and find ways of developing sports like sister island Jamaica was currently doing by taking really good care of their athletes.
“I think it is time that we stop make sport at sports because it is a business. Some serious money needs to be pumped into sports and this is sports in general across the board. We do not need another gymnasium, we need proper facilities. We have the gymnasium there and this year it was turned into fete-city. What message is that sending to the athletes? Maybe it is time for the BOA to try to acquire the gymnasium and run the affairs of the gym so that the athletes can have a facility there for themselves whenever they need the facility to train. Yes it needs money to be run but there is a lot of talk about sports tourism but what have we done over the past ten years to improve our sports tourism project? Kensington? Yes, we have the National Stadium but that is just the track, nothing has been done to the infrastructure,” the outspoken Wood said.
The former national badminton player suggested that some of the land around the gymnasium be utilized and a few warehouse-type facilities built.
“There is a lot of land up there by the gymnasium and you can build warehouse-type facilities for the indoor sports because most of the outdoor sports have their facilities already. Look at the Netball Stadium which was in line for an upgrade and no upgrades yet and yet still we are talking about sports tourism. You cannot talk about sports tourism and we are not doing anything to help. We have a lot of good athletes here but they will remain just good athletes and they would not become international or professional athletes because you cannot become a professional athlete and have a 9-5 job. It is not going to work,” he explained.
Going forward, Wood said his association had already started preparation for next Commonwealth Games.
“We have already began preparation for next Commonwealth Games because we are very serious about what we are doing. And yes we may not be able to beat some of the bigger countries but we can be competitive and when it comes to countries that are on our level we beat them,” Wood stressed.