There will be no Pan American Beach Wrestling Championship for a second consecutive year in Barbados as local organisers have had to make another tough decision in postponing the international event because of the Coronavirus pandemic.
President of the Barbados Wrestling Association Rollins Alleyne expressed his disappointment but said it was a matter beyond their control.
“We are postponing the Pan American beach wrestling because at this time there is lots of uncertainty. But we are working towards getting two of our top Under-15 athletes to Mexico for their age group championship,” Rollins told Barbados TODAY.
The Under-15 Championship starts Thursday, October 21 and ends Sunday, October 24. Rebecca Williams and Kodi Marshall who are both 13-years old have been chosen to represent Barbados.
Describing it as a major setback, Rollins said that there were a lot of people not just in Barbados but the region that were looking forward to the Pan American Beach Wrestling Championship.
The Pan American Beach Wrestling has now been pushed back until May 2022.
The BWA president said one of the issues for them like many other federations was writing to certain key government departments and not being able to get a timely response.
“With the local protocols it is a major blow but we are looking to reschedule next year. We were thinking about cancelling it altogether but were encouraged not to give up. It is very difficult and challenging but we are trying not to give up.
“If by next year things don’t improve then we will just cancel it. The hardest thing would be to get the approval for the events,” Alleyne explained.
He added: “Next year will be better. It is a very easy tournament to execute. The support we will need is ensuring we have hotels for the athletes to quarantine before they return to their families.”
One of the pioneers for combat sports in Barbados, Alleyne also mentioned the fact that the BOA has been of great financial assistance and he is hoping that others like the National Sports Council and corporate Barbados would come on board and support the local wrestlers.
Alleyne noted that he is in the process of creating a proposal to send to the BOA for some financial assistance that will go towards ensuring that the talented Rebecca Williams and Kodi Marshall can travel and compete.
“I think those two kids will represent Barbados well. Those two kids and coach Yaima Payne,” Rollins stated.
He also explained that this will be a great opportunity for Williams who attends Combermere School and Marshall, a student of Queen’s College.
The Under-15 championship is held every year and includes the cadets, juniors and senior competitors. It is mandatory that to reach the World Championship athletes are required to compete in these championships.
This major championship on the Americas calendar is ideal for young athletes, especially young girls like Williams. Alleyne shared that colleges are now opening its door to young female wrestlers.
“Colleges in Canada and the USA now are looking for girls. Within ten years, Barbados or any other country can take the opportunity to go to the podium because women’s sports is very young.
“In Cuba you have girls wrestling, right, then you have the men who always dominate but now the girls coming out which is new. So, the five female powerhouses of female wrestling are Cuba, the USA, Canada, Japan, India. So, that is why now with our grassroots program we are trying to get a lot of girls involved,” Alleyne said.