From as early as next year the Barbados National Senior Games could be going global.
This was revealed by coordinator Michael Jules, who today revealed that plans were already in the works to allow regional and international competitors to take part in the 2024 Games.
Jules explained that for the first time this year, the Games would be held over a two-week period from June 10 to 25, which he said was in line with major athletic events such as the Pan American and Central American and Caribbean Games (CAC).
“I think this format is good because in the future, it might be as early as next year, we are looking at having this event, the Barbados National Senior Games, as one where regional and international participants can come to Barbados and be part of our Games. The Games will be moving to a higher level.
“So the purpose of having this dedicated period is so persons can plan well. So once these Games are done, then persons can start booking their tickets, booking their hotel rooms, and that’s where we have to get the BTMI on board early. So we’re seeing not just the competitive side occurring but also some money coming into the country. That’s the road we will be looking to go in the future,” Jules disclosed during a press conference to launch the Games.
Additionally, Jules said the track and field segment would be held over two days to give athletes the opportunity to compete in more events.
He said this year’s Games would include a record number of 15 sporting disciplines.
“I think the athletes will be very pleased because previously we had to put a cap on the number of events that they could participate in…but we will not have a limit this year so they can do a number of events,” he said.
Minister of People Empowerment and Elder Affairs, Kirk Humphrey, disclosed that two new disciplines, volleyball and swimming, would be added to the Games this year.
He said with it being the first Games to be held since 2019 he was expecting a successful event.
While he did not disclose details, Humphrey said persons from the disabled community would also be included.
“There’s a greater level of comfort now which makes me believe that a lot of people are going to come out and compete…so this year I anticipate that we’re going to have a fairly successful Games,” the minister said.
Humphrey, however, called on sporting organizations to work closer with his ministry.
He maintained that the goal of creating a healthier Barbados could not be achieved if the only collaborative effort between them was the Senior Games.
“I think it is important that we develop a relationship because we’re not going to reach a healthy society if we wait to work at the Games and if we wait to work with people who are already older, as many of us are dealing with non-communicable diseases anyway.
“The truth is that this is a life cycle approach and we need to work with these organizations from the get-go,” Humphrey said.
Competitors will compete in archery, chess, cycling, darts, dominoes, road tennis, basketball, netball, track and field, netball, squash and a 5k walk and run.