Barbados is turning to the region’s track and field powerhouse for assistance in getting it’s athletes to the next level.
Deputy Prime Minister Santia Bradshaw today revealed that talks were ongoing between Government and Jamaica with the aim of establishing strategic partnerships in sports.
Bradshaw made the comments while at a ceremony at the Grantley Adams International Airport (GAIA) this morning, where the island’s track queen Sada Williams was honoured for her World Championship bronze medal with a $150 000 cheque.
Additionally, a life-sized cutout and a billboard depicting Williams were also unveiled inside and outside of the GAIA, which will greet passengers entering and exiting the airport.
The 25-year-old Williams currently trains at the prestigious Maximizing Velocity and Power (MVP) Track and Field Club in Jamaica, under the tutelage of world-renowned head coach Paul Francis.
MVP has produced world-class athletes such as Asafa Powell, Elaine Thompson-Herah, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and current World 200 metre champion Shericka Jackson.
Bradshaw described Francis, who was present at the ceremony, as a “master strategist” and said his name was “synonymous on the world stage with turning normal athletes into global stars.”
The Deputy Prime Minister maintained that athletes in Barbados would benefit significantly under such guidance, pointing to Williams’ success on the world stage since joining MVP.
“We have absolutely no doubt that with your guidance that Sada is destined for global stardom.
“Our two governments, Barbados and Jamaica have been working together to establish strategic partnerships in sports and I believe that Sada’s recent success with a Jamaican coach at her side, has further cemented the need for us to accelerate those discussions and concretise the framework for our strategic partnership,” Bradshaw said.
“Indeed the development of our sports persons to global standards is commensurate with the Government of Barbados’ strategic plan for our sports.”
Bradshaw reiterated Government’s commitment not only to honouring the island’s exceptional athletes, but also to advancing the development of sports.
She said she hoped the $150 000 would go a long way in helping Williams, who she described as a “national treasure” in her bid for gold at the 2024 Paris Olympics.
“It is about recognising the invaluable contribution which our athletes make to unifying our people by providing us with yet another source of inspiration that makes us proud to identify as Barbadians,” the Deputy Prime Minister added.
However, Bradshaw made it clear that Government’s focus was not solely on track and field, saying that all sporting disciplines would be given assistance.
An ecstatic Williams, who finished the season as the third-ranked female 400 metre runner in the world, explained that going into 2023 she set herself a goal of turning her performances into financial gain.
“My motto for this season and a big motivation of mine was about getting this money.
So it is really great, especially when you’re driving on to the airport, you just see my face. This was all really wonderful,” a soft spoken Williams said.