Following a three year break, the National Senior Games is shaping up to be an exciting one this year with teams from as far away as Africa scheduled to take part.
Officials are hoping that the games will serve as another avenue to encourage Barbadians to lead a more active life.
On Saturday, scores of individuals took part in the official launching ceremony for the games, which will take place from June 10 to 25.
Dressed in their brightly coloured outfits, the seniors marched in a motorcade from a section of the Princess Alice Highway to the Golden Square Freedom Park to mark the occasion, which was dotted with entertainment by TC and Biggie Irie.
Minister of People Empowerment and Elder Affairs Kirk Humphrey said he was anticipating an exciting games this year, with a lot more participants than in 2019.
“The last time we had over 400 persons doing the track and field alone. This year we anticipate that or even more persons. The interest has been tremendous,” said Humphrey.
“We have people asking about the games from as far away as Kenya. We know persons from the BVI (British Virgin Island), St Lucia, Guyana, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago have expressed interest. So these games are going to regional games in a sense,” he said.
There will be 12 participants from Trinidad and three from St Lucia. Teams are also expected from Bermuda.
This year’s games will see participants taking part in 12 disciplines, inclusive of two new ones – volleyball and swimming.
During the launch, Humphrey used the occasion to encourage Barbadians to stay active as they age.
“For us it is about healthy ageing. These senior games are not just style, we want to make sure Barbadians are ageing healthily along the way,” he said.
“These games are about active ageing, eating healthy … We know we have an older generation; we are ageing very rapidly in this country and we have to make sure that as we age Barbadians can live well. That is why we are working with the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Sports and the Ministry of Education and anyone who wants to be involved in this” he said.
The various games will take place on different days across the island, with the finals – the track and field – taking place at the Usain Bolt Complex on June 24 and 25.
The disciplines in this year’s games include road tennis, squash, swimming, table tennis, netball, dominoes, basketball, archery, chess and cycling.
Chess will be the first out the blocks on June 10 and will run for five days.
Organisers are already looking forward to next year’s games, with Humphrey announcing that the dates for 2024 will be revealed at the end of this year’s tournament. (MM)