Over 800 young people gathered at the Deighton Griffith Secondary School this morning for the launch of the annual National Sports Rally.
The rally, which falls under the Community Sports Training Programme hosted by the Ministry of Youth and Community Empowerment, welcomed individuals ages 9 to 29 from the various teams and districts across the island to play sports such as cricket, netball, volleyball, road tennis and hockey.
Minister of Youth and Community Empowerment, Adrian Forde reminded the youth that Barbados was brimming with talent and their sporting capabilities could be used as a route to success.
“Sports in Barbados and around the world has always been used as a vehicle to put the country on the map. . . Sports has always been that one vessel to take Barbados across…the world and indeed above our hemisphere,” said the minister.
He encouraged the students to remain dedicated and disciplined and use the skills they acquired throughout the sports to carry them further in life.
“You must work at it in order to achieve not only your goals for the team but for Barbados.
“We need every single one of you to work together to ensure not only the success of your team as sportsmen and sportswomen but the success of this country,” he advised.
Forde also addressed the increasing rates of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) among the youth, and encouraged them to remain fit with exercise and eat healthy.
“Persons under the age of 21 are now suffering [from] high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes. . . [and] of the most important weapons to fight these is exercise and diet,” he said.
Youth Commissioner Shawn Burke shared agreed the minister’s sentiments, telling Barbados TODAY that Burke disclosed that many young athletes failed to take their diet seriously.
“Although we have a large number of persons involved in sports, a lot of them don’t take their diet seriously. Diet plays an important role,” said Burke.
“A lot of young people may not necessarily see or do not understand that sports too can be a job because the sports industry throughout the world is a thriving industry and you can make a living playing sports,” Burke said.