If all goes according to plan, one of Cuba’s all-time wrestling greats could be the new full-time head coach of the Barbados Wrestling Association (BWA).
This disclosure was made by BWA president Rollins Alleyne who strongly believes that with Professor Julio Mendieta- Cuellar on board to create national programmes for Barbados’ junior and senior competitors, Barbadian wrestlers stand an excellent chance of doing well at the International level.
Mendieta-Cuellar, head coach of Cuba’s Olympic wrestling team is no stranger to Barbados having visited in 2018 when he conducted a five-day Olympic wrestling workshop. With him in Barbados on a full-time basis would be a significant boost in terms of developing local talent and training local coaches, Alleyne said.
“We need a coach on the island but funding is the key. I know the government got coaches from Cuba in their system like boxing, volleyball, swimming, tennis, but for us, Julio from Cuba is the man. He can set the programmes and mentor some of our coaches on how to run this programme. Then once that is in place we could go to Cuba and do the exchanges, the training. So, that is the idea.
“He came here in 2018, we had a meeting with the BOA (Barbados Olympic Association) and they told us (BWA) that we could go through the Olympic solidarity and get a coach from the government. But that is not the same thing, that is just doing a coaching course for one week. We want somebody that could mentor our coaches and someone who would walk the talk and has achieved and in our opinion that person is Julio,” he said.
According to Alleyne, Mendieta-Cuellar is highly respected in his field and has the most medals count in the Pan American hemisphere.
As it stands, Curtis Moise, Yaima Payne and Ronald Phillips are well known Barbadian national coaches. But Alleyne explained that they too need exposure hence the push to have Mendieta- Cuellar on board.
Alleyne said: “A lot of coaches want to come to Barbados and help us but it is just funding. I get so many calls from coaches wanting to visit Barbados. Venezuela has good coaches, so too the United States and the Europeans. It’s just a matter of nobody not doing nothing for nothing.”
In order for BWA to start generating income, Alleyne explained that they needed to use a business model where they would increase their membership and utilise fees wisely for the greater good of the association.
Alleyne also has the support of the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. whose consultant Dr Anthony Yarde is working closely with the BWA. Alleyne and Yarde returned from a recent trip to Canada where Barbados was looked upon favourably as the hub for beach wrestling.
Yarde said he supports the move for BWA to have a national coach. He explained that Barbadian wrestlers were talented and had the ability but need to have a coach.
He added that some exciting things were expected to happen for Barbados’ beach culture. He explained that this was not just sporting initiatives and advised that more would be said shortly, as soon as Barbados got over the Coronavirus (COVID 19) hurdle.
BWA and United World Wrestling, the governing body for international wrestling, are in talks for Barbados to host the Youth Olympic qualifiers in beach wrestling.
“I am looking forward to the Youth Olympics especially in the context of wrestling and the beach wrestling side of it. I believe that Barbados stands the opportunity to bring home gold in 2022 for beach wrestling in the Junior Olympics.
“I have seen the youngsters and I have seen some of the international athletes and the only thing that’s beating us right now is getting a coach to Barbados. Not that we don’t have the skills or the techniques, what we need now is the coaches.”
Yarde expressed disappointment that there was no medical doctor whenever wrestling teams left to represent Barbados.
“One I’m disappointed with and I have gone on three trips with the wrestling association, is that whenever we go out, there is no doctor. Every other team you find has a doctor or therapist. But we don’t have and if you talk about wrestling, the muscle is being used and they need someone that can give them that therapy.
“So, when I talk about a coaching team and a management team, these are some of the things that I came away with. That if wrestling is going to move to the other level, there needs to be a national coach for the wrestling association, there needs to be more international competitions. Our youngsters need to get to international training camps and then have the physiotherapist and nutritionist to be working with them,” he said.
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