Barbados not only won a historic bid to host the Pan American Beach Wrestling Championships from May 29 to 31, 2020, but it has also been chosen to host the world ranking series in 2021.
In a recent interview with the president of the Barbados Wrestling Association Rollins Alleyne and Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. representative Dr Anthony Yarde, it was noted that Barbados’ focus was to become regional pioneers in the sport of beach wrestling.
In April this year, Alleyne and Yarde visited Argentina where they sold Barbados as a prime destination for beach wrestling. Outside of Barbados, only Brazil on two occasions, Colombia and Mexico, have hosted the Pan American Beach Wrestling Championships in the Americas.
According to Alleyne, this is the first time Barbados will host the event which he explained had been lots of hard work so far but with the assistance of the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. everything had gone according to plan.
“With the assistance of the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc., the foundation was laid, and they put together a video in April which was taken to the Americas Congress in Argentina. Myself and Mr Yarde [Anthony] from the BTMI took a video to show some of the beach wrestling activities that go on here to sell Barbados, and that is how we won the bid. So, we sold Barbados as a package because one thing doesn’t pay and wrestling is still in an embryonic stage, so you need other things to bring to it and make it look as though it has potential,” he said.
Three days before the actual competition starts a seminar will be conducted on May 26, focusing on the technical workshops and congress. That meeting of the heads, according to Alleyne, will focus on how they can move the sport of beach wrestling forward and develop it within the region.
Earlier this year president of the United World Wrestling Francisco Eduardo Lee Lopez visited Barbados, and the decision was made to host the Pan American Beach Wrestling Champion at Brownes Beach. In addition to hosting the Pan American Beach Wrestling Championship, Alleyne revealed that they were also seeking to have a festival incorporated into the tournament.
“He came here and toured several beaches, and they found it fitting that Brownes beach would accommodate the championship. The location will attract people in the city, easy access for locals and those that come in will ease the burden for transportation. And because of the magnitude of the event we have arranged a local organising committee.
“What is interesting about this event, since they are some countries who are not members of the international body, the Friday and Saturday we do the Pan American, Sunday we do the finals but also we want to throw a beach festival the Sunday. So, we get other countries who can come and participate in beach wrestling, experience it and that way we can build the sport,” Alleyne said.
Those on the local organising committee are Rollins Alleyne [chairman], Dr. Adanna Grandison [medical team], Mona Alleyne [Barbados Olympic Association representative], Melissa Stevenson [financial controller], Claudia Scott [hospitality], Sharon Layne [transportation], Ann Sealy [marketing], Dr. Colin Depradine [information technology], Wingay Corbin [security], Allman Haynes [secretary], Ryan Corbin [lawyer], and Dr. Anthony Yarde [BTMI consultant].
BTMI representative Dr Yarde told Barbados TODAY that hosting the world ranking series would open doors not just for those in the Pan American region to visit Barbados but wider afield.
“A part of going to Argentina was to get a right to host the beach world ranking series which would see a wider selection of people. So, you have the world coming to us rather than just the Pan Americans. So it is a developmental step because [outside of] Barbados no Caribbean country has ever hosted beach wrestling of this magnitude at this level. From this we decided not to stop there, we decided that we want to be the leaders and we went after the world ranking series and were told we could host one in 2021.
“But preparation right now has been going on stream with the sensitising of Barbados beaches on Sundays and every couple Sundays you see them going from beach to beach. And then the athletes are competing for their points. So this series we will gather the best of them, put them in a training camp and then for the Caribbean athletes they will come next year to Barbados for the qualifiers,” Yarde said.