By Morissa Lindsay
Barbados’ chances of competing at the 2022 World Rowing Coastal Championship and Beach Sprints scheduled for October 7th to 16th in Wales, England, is in jeopardy.
This was the grim news shared by the President of the Rowing Association of Barbados (RAB), Dr Anthony Yarde, who said they are in need of BDS$70, 000 to get national rower Christian Howard to the World Championship. Initially it would have cost BDS$100, 000 but after major discussions and efforts they were able to cut costs. However, the reality remains that there is no money and Howard needs to get competition-ready starting with six regattas from Saturday, August 13th starting in Peru, Ecuador and El Salvador.
Yarde also revealed that sadly the Minister of Sports Charles Griffith said his ministry would not be able to offer financial assistance.
“We are now in difficulty because we are supposed to leave for high performance training and match fitness which is six regattas on August 13th and we are now in jeopardy of not going to the World Games. It makes no sense going to the World Games if you are not match fit or ready for competition. So, we are in limbo,” Yarde told Barbados TODAY.
The RAB President added: “After hearing that the Ministry would not be in a position to help I made a number of phone calls and had a number of meetings with the High Performance Centre, wide consultation with the international body to cut the cost and bring it down to a manageable level. Over the last couple of days, it has been hectic trying to persuade them, even if it means giving up some of our equipment that would have been donated to us, just to get a figure that would be manageable for us to get to the World Games.
“We have then come to a figure of close to $70, 000 which we would have chipped off almost $20, 000 or so off the budget. I have not heard back from the Minister of Sports, the Barbados Olympic Association has helped us graciously thus far, but they are now saying they are also at a place where they may not be able to help us and we do understand because they have been outstanding in helping us in the past. I don’t know where we go from here because if we don’t get help, we will have to forfeit going to the World Games.”
The RAB is also in no financial position to lend assistance to Howard because they are broke, Yarde revealed.
“The reality is that the association is cashless; we are broke, we don’t have any money. To get to where we are even before the BOA has been helping us, we have done everything else and outside of that myself and other persons in the association have funded us to where we are at now.
“I certainly can’t do anything else, the athlete can’t do anything else and we are appealing for the government to see the importance of investing in this which can be the beginning of a major beach culture component for Barbados in sports. The thing is that we also have the juniors preparing for major competitions next year because everyone is preparing their juniors for the Olympic Games which are coastal.
“All the rowing that will be done in the junior Olympics is coastal. So, if we are having problems now what will happen to those juniors that we are preparing? Again, we have to ask ourselves these questions and then it is
likely to be introduced at the Los Angeles Games, these are part of the puzzle we are not looking at further down the road that Barbados would be ready for these competitions,” Yarde said.
Yarde sees this as a huge disappointment for the athletes who have worked hard to qualify for their various disciplines and would like the authorities to do something about this situation.
“It is hurtful when you build up the confidence of young people who put in the hard work to qualify and then you are told we don’t have the finances to carry you any further. It hurts their confidence and of those in charge as well and also the integrity of the sport. So, we are appealing that we are desperately in need of a round of figure of $70, 000,” Yarde explained. [email protected]