Barbados’ CARIFTA team in St. Kitts captured seven gold medals among a total of 16 medallions over the Easter weekend. And tonight they returned home to a rousing welcome at the Grantley Adams International Airport, led by Minister of Sports Stephen Lashley, as well as other government and sports officials, family members, friends and supporters.
Lashley said it was an excellent performance from the Barbados team. “I really want to congratulate all of our athletes and of course the gold medallists, silver medallists and bronze medallists. But of course we have to be able to give credit to the entire team because this has been a tremendous effort for Barbados.”
He added that these moments must reinforce for Barbados the importance of sports. Lashley stressed that sports in Barbados had to be escalated in the national consciousness of Barbadians and added a lot of hard work had to be done to secure this.
Among tonight’s arrival party was distance-running sensation Mary Fraser who captured the prestigious Austin Sealy award. She said competition was not hard overseas because she usually trained very hard so that when it came to competition time she would be ready. Fraser said she believed she could go faster beyond her personal best times which she accomplished in the 800m, 1500m and 3000m, in all of which she won gold at the CARIFTA Games.
The Darryl Jordan student explained she wasn’t sure whether she would have won the award but was happy and thankful that she did. “I will continue to train so that when I get overseas I would be in good condition.”
Floyd Fraser, father of the talented Mary, told Barbados TODAY that his daughter’s capturing of three gold medals and the Austin Sealy award was just a stepping stone and that he has bigger things in store for Fraser who wants to be the best in the world.
The proud father said his daughter showed him early signs that she had interest in track and field and when he put her to the test she passed.
Fraser explained: “I just put her to run certain distances, and times, and she passed all of them. Mary is not at her peak and she is not a hundred percent fit yet but she is pretty good.
“If I did pushing she too hard she would break down. But she is not, she is breaking down everybody else, so that is not hard work. When you go to Cuba and you go to China the athletes over there work really hard and that is why we in Barbados don’t get a lot of success because we believe in a lot of easy things. We want everything to come easy, we want when we running people must slow down and let we pass them. Got to train hard, hard work doesn’t kill anybody,” Fraser, known for his tough training routine, said.
Barbados’ sprint king Mario Burke who delivered gold in the 100m and 200m was elated at his success and said only five Barbadian men had accomplished such a feat and he was happy to be among the elite group.
The Harrison College student admitted that last year was a rough year for him but he bounced back well this year. “I kept my mind strong and I put it behind me and I was able to overcome.”