Former national track and field athlete Ronald Boyce has called on local authorities to invest and fix the national stadium which he has described as a national embarrassment.
Boyce who retired two years ago after 24-years of service as head coach of Missouri State University and 30 years total coaching on the National Collegiate Athletic Association circuit, said this matter surrounding the dilapidated state of the 51-year-old Stadium needed to be addressed.
“It is embarrassing and it is such a necessity not just for track and field because football also plays there as well. Unfortunately, cycling is there and it needs to be moved because nobody cycles on a track that big anymore. Everything is indoors with only two hundred meters, that track (stadium) is about five hundred meters.
“The stadium right now is useless and for whatever it costs, whatever it takes, I think they should really invest and fix that facility. Nobody is doing anything, everybody is sitting around waiting for somebody to do something next. But nobody is doing anything. It needs to be addressed, I am extremely disappointed and it is embarrassing as a country.
“The rest of the Caribbean has (stadium). St. Lucia has one, Grenada had one that was destroyed and they built another. Jamaica has got four or five of them, Trinidad has got at least three of them. This is our national stadium and it needs to be fixed. It is awful,” Boyce said.
The 57-year-old Combermere alumnus who represented Barbados at international events such as the World Championships told Barbados TODAY he was happy with the talent emerging. However, he also thinks more can be done for national athletes.
“Barbadian athletes have a tremendous amount of talent. What I think we are lacking or what I am disappointed with is a lack of a better program for the athletes. We can sit around all day if we want and wait for BSSAC (Barbados Secondary Schools Athletics Championship), we can wait for CARIFTA, guess what, none of that happened last year. And as a result, unfortunately, nobody did anything in Barbados.
“They have done nothing to try and help athletes. I hear this every single day, I get phone calls, I talk to parents. But yet nothing is done. The talent is great but there doesn’t seem to be any direction. The leadership themselves is not really leading and that is sad because Barbados has a tremendous amount of talent,” Boyce explained.
He noted that one of the major challenges faced by athletes is the limited communication or lack thereof from the Amateur Athletic Association (AAB). Boyce, therefore, called on the AAB to take control and let the athletes feel appreciated.
“One of the problems they (authorities) do have is the lack of communication with athletes. For example, if an athlete leaves Barbados and goes to Mississippi, nobody pays attention until that athlete does something spectacular. If she or he performs crazy and does something special they would take them to the Olympics.
“But you know there is so much that goes into an athlete whether it is local or international that they will not cover. What I mean is this, they (athletes) will not make it on their own and too many athletes at home (Barbados) are on their own. There is nobody to help, no program is happening that makes any sense and nobody wants to find out what we can do. First off, communicate with the athletes and let them know how important they are. And find a way to ask them: ‘how can I help you?” he said.
A former member of Freedom Striders Club, Boyce added: “They are not taking care of the athletes and some of the national athletes, they would get here (United States) and never ever have one word of communication from the association. But the association thinks that the athlete should contact them. That is not true, it doesn’t work like that. They are children, we are dealing with kids who are trying to figure life out, make all the changes and grow up.
“The association has got to take control and find a way to let these kids enjoy, be successful and nothing is happening in that department. They can start with communication, how can we help you, and they are not doing that.
“They think they’re doing the athletes a favour when they take them to the World Championship, Olympics or CARIFTA. No, you are not. It is the athletes that go out there and compete. You don’t make it as an official, you don’t make it as the one in charge, you need the athlete and you should let them know they are important.”