The third annual Barbados Beach Wrestling International Cup has graduated from eight to 75 competitors this year, says president of the Barbados Wrestling Association, Rollins Alleyne.
The two-day event scheduled to commence tomorrow at Pirates Cove as part of the Barbados Olympic Association’s (BOA) Independence Invitational Games will feature grappling, freestyle wrestling on Saturday and will conclude Sunday with beach wrestling.
According to Alleyne, marketing and advertising as promised by the BOA for this event were not enough, and he added that hard cash was needed to stage an event of this magnitude that attracted international competitors.
“Most of our sports are starved of funding; we need to take the sport up and to have this we cannot be operating at the same mediocre level. We need to up our standards and to have that we got to bring athletes in and there is a cost to that because it is still a sports business.
“I have presented some serious budgets to our sports council. I approached BOA…up to today, they have not yet responded, but I sent a request for funds for this event and got a response within a day from two other sources – within a day. We have some serious things in this country that we need to address in sports, and it can only come from unity,” Alleyne expressed.
Competition is expected to be fierce especially on the final day with the beach wrestling. Participants will compete for what is called the John King Cup named after Minister of Creative Economy, Culture and Sports.
Among the local household names will be Renaldo “Silver Back” Stuart, Jerome Hoyte, and ten-year-old Rebecca Williams in the juniors. International participants are from Trinidad and Tobago, Suriname, Cuba, St. Lucia and Bolivia.
Bolivian born Cristian Alberto Nova Roca is among the favourites to lift the cup this weekend once he can get past 2014 Olympian Yandro Quintana Rabalta.
Roca said during the conference that it was essential for Barbados to support wrestling which is now popular in the world. As to what the Barbadian public can expect from him, Roca said: “I came here to be a winner.”
International referee Russell Gibson also called for wrestling to be introduced to children to identify those with talent that can go on to represent Barbados in the sport. According to Gibson, once that keen interest is shown then the onus will be on the government to provide support.
Gibson with a 30-year career in United World Wrestling under his belt said: “The leadership of United World Wrestling looked at the globalization of our sport and said here is a method where we can take young people, as tiny kids and let them play wrestling in a beautiful natural environment…. And we can develop this love that is natural for all mankind for the combative sports. And through that Olympic organization like the developing organization in Barbados can then begin to identify those athletes that have perhaps natural God-given talent.
“Government sponsorship, contributors, lovers can chip in and develop the facilities, or develop the mechanism, or develop the training, develop the education and then start to produce Olympians. And I know that is the goal here in Barbados,” Gibson said.