Barbados has been traditionally strong in certain events but somewhere along the way they have given up too much ground to Jamaica and other regional counterparts, says CARIFTA head coach Alwyn Babb.
Describing this year’s performance as satisfactory at the just concluded 47th FLOW CARIFTA Games in Nassau, Bahamas, Babb told Barbados TODAY that plans must be put in place to look at improving the island’s weak areas.
“We have given up too much ground to Jamaica and some other countries in terms of our strong areas. Like the hurdles, there was a time where we would have split the Jamaicans even with a gold and they get the silver and bronze. In all those sprint hurdles we would have had medal representation, this is the first time I could remember that we did not secure a single medal in the four hundred hurdles and we have given up some ground in those areas.
“That can be attributed to the reduced medals we have been receiving. We only received one medal in the long jump and we need to work on those areas. The throwers performed a bit better this year but there is still a lot of room for improvement.
“Plans must be put in place to look at other areas that are undersubscribed like the triple jump, high jump, hurdles and ensure we fight for those medals and have a fair chance at increasing our medal tally. Once the plan is in place to regain those areas that we were traditionally strong in I think that the medal tally would increase,” Babb said.
The veteran coach who has produced world-class hurdlers such as Ryan Brathwaite and Kierre Beckles, said Barbados was going through a rebuilding phase, hence they have recorded their lowest medal tally over the past few years.
“I think we have been through a bad patch, track and field is a cycle, and sometimes you have your highs and lows and I think that we are now coming out of that. What I am hoping that we do as coaches is that we take these performances and analyse where the medal performances will come and just use the qualifying standard as a benchmark for entry into the meet,” he explained.
Barbados placed fourth overall in the medals standing with 13 comprising of three gold, five silver and five bronze. Jamaica ran away with the silverware copping 82 medals in total ahead of hosts Bahamas with 35 and Trinidad and Tobago with a mere 17.
Sharing his thoughts on Barbados’ performance this year, Babb said: “I think it was satisfactory based on the results, not only the medal winners but those persons who recorded personal best. I think we are on a good track for improved performances in the next two years or so. We have several athletes who are returning and there is much hope for the Under-17 athletes who did not make the qualifying time or distances by the deadline but were capable of being in medal contention. What we have also seen from the games are some good prospects for our relay especially the 4x400m teams and most of our athletes would have qualified for World Juniors which shows we can be competitive as well internationally.
“But I want our coaches to look at where the medals fell and encourage the athletes to work hard towards podium performances. That means that we will have to look at what we do in the pre-season, so we could get into a bit more competition in the middle of November so that we would have enough time and it doesn’t seem as though we are rushing to qualify and to meet standards,” Babb said.