Barbadian athletes have the skill and talent and love competition, but they often lack the preparation for that big day.
That’s the word from martial arts trainer, Rollins Alleyne, who is one of the organizers behind the upcoming Bridgetown Burning event now in its 16th year.
Bridgetown Burning is a martial arts extravaganza opened to all martial arts clubs and caters to different categories in martial arts including forms, junior wrestling and submission grappling along with K-1 kickboxing and Chinese kick boxing. Raynard Wilkinson of Barbados dominated the Wushu competition last year and is expected to defend his title. Barbados will also be looking to reclaim their titles in kickboxing and grappling which were won by Rico Hurley and Tamara Brathwaite respectively also at last year’s event.
“We have the skills and talent but what I notice is that though we like the big day we don’t like the preparations. I was reflecting and I look at Martinique which I used to visit years ago for vacation and I saw the calibre of their kickboxing and it was not that good but they persisted and kept going on. Even Trinidad years ago in Bridgetown Burning, when those guys came here and we had kickboxing we used to be on top but all of a sudden we just fall back because we don’t like preparation and that is our downfall. We have talent but we need to put aside [differences] and come together for the sport,” Alleyne said.
He told Barbados TODAY there were athletes on the island who might never get the opportunity to compete at a particular level because they don’t have funds and their sport was not recognized. He added it was time that examples be taken from countries like Trinidad which embraced their athletes by giving them the kind of support needed to make advancement.
“In Trinidad this [sport] would be welcomed by the sports department because they are doing something for young people. But here if you are not a member of some national council they don’t look at them. A crop [of athletes] is here that would never get that opportunity to do anything because they don’t have funds and their sports is not recognized,” Alleyne said, while stressing that serious athletes had to put in training that was more than just one or two days a week.
He said minimal weekly training should be five days.
Alleyne said Bridgetown Burning now mostly catered to the youth. He said the popularity of the event had diminished mostly due to lack of sponsorship.
“Years ago it was more popular and we had lots of sponsorship behind it. But today it is solely down to the organizers. It was something people looked forward to especially when we had teams coming from Trinidad, St Lucia, Antigua and Tortola. But martial arts has reached the stage now where everybody knows something. So the focus mainly is for the youth and not so much the seniors.”
So far teams from Trinidad and Tobago and St Lucia have shown an interest in the event which will take place at the Frederick Smith Secondary School on March 28. Organizers said registrations for the event will be open to all clubs.