National Stadium

Why Sports Has Not Progressed in Barbados

Submitted by Wayne Cadogan
wayne-cadogan

Wayne Cadogan

Four years ago after the 2012 Olympics in London, the Barbados Olympic Association stated that they have to go back to the drawing board for the 2016 Olympics after another dismal performance once again of our athletes not getting pass the first rounds in any event. This has been the norm for many an Olympics, the most prestigious event and highest level of all sports. Again this year after the Olympics, the post mortem by the President of the Olympic Association is that they have to go back to the drawing board, defending the amount of officials who went to the games, how much money it takes to prepare an athlete for the Olympics and other games; another case of same ole, same ole excuses for the non performance of the athletes.

Well, it is apparent that the Barbados Olympic association either did not find the drawing board or that they lost it with all the information that they had on it. To draw a true perspective on sports in Barbados I will go back to the sixties and come forward. Although my writing would be referring to all sports in Barbados, primarily my main focus will be focussed on the current state of athletics and why there has been no progress.

Before the construction of the current so called National Stadium, (just a pig pen) all the national sports competition in cycling, football, hockey, track and field and cricket on a local and international level took place at Kensington Oval. Of course, all the events were contested on grass and all the equipment of that era was not of the standard quality of today’s equipment. In those days, Barbados national teams were exceptionally strong in all sports and were one of the three power houses along with Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago in the region. The so called small islands were not a match for any of the big tree and never figured in any form of competition against them, a far cry from today with these same small islands competing against and beating Barbados in all sporting activities today.

In the 1948 Olympics in London, Arthur Wint of Jamaica won the 400 meters on a dirt track in 46.2 seconds in shoes that weighed a ton with four one inch spikes in each shoe; with his team mate Herb Mckinley the former world record holder running second in 46.4 seconds. The 100 meters was won by Harrison Dillard in 10.3 seconds, with his team mate Barney Ewell second in 10.4 seconds and Lloyd LaBeach of Panama third in 10.6 seconds. The 200 meters was won by Mel Patton of the USA in 21.1 seconds, with his team mate Barney Ewell second in 21.1 seconds and Lloyd LaBreach third in 21.2. Sixty eight years later at the Rio Olympics, on a rubberize track that make athletes run faster, light weight shoes and air dynamic running clothing, one of our athletes (in my humble opinion, who has the potential to be our best sprinter and our next Olympic medallist) ran 21.2 seconds in the first round of the 200 meters.

At the CARIFTA level in 2007, Yohan Blake won the Boy’s Under 20, 100 meters in 20.11 seconds. In 2008 in Kirani James of Grenada won the Under 17 Boy’s 200meters in 21.38 seconds and the 400 meters in 47.87 seconds. Yohan Blake won the Boy’s 100 meters in 10.32 seconds. Nickel Meade of Jamaica won the 200 meters in 20.16 seconds. The 400 meters was won by Rondell Bartolomew of Jamaica in 46.86 seconds with Fabian Norgrove of Barbados placing third in 47.55 seconds.

The 2009 CARIFTA Boy’s Under 20, 100 meters was won by Shekiem Greaves of Barbados in 10.23 seconds and Rachad Forde of Barbados third in 10.55 seconds. The 400 meters was won by Karani James of Grenada in 45.45 seconds with his team mate Rondell Bartolomew running second in 45.48 seconds and Fabian Norgrove of Barbados placing fourth in 47.09 seconds.

The 2010 CARIFTA Boy’s Under 20, 100 meters was won by Geno Jones of Jamaica in 10.44 seconds. Karani James of Grenada won the 200 meters in 20.76 seconds and Shekiem Greaves of Barbados third in 21.29 seconds. Karani James also won the 400 meters in 45.02 seconds with Shaquille Alleyne of Barbados placing sixth in 48.09 seconds and his countryman Christopher Davis placing seventh in 48.54 seconds.

The Under 18 Boy’s 100 meters in this year’s CARIFTA Games was won by Jhevaugh Matterson in 10.42 seconds, with Mathew Clarke of Barbados placing fifth in 10.78. The Under 20 Boy’s 100 meters was won by Nigel Ellis of Jamaica in 10.16 seconds with Mario Burke of Barbados placing second in 10.29 seconds. Michael Stephens of Jamaica won the Under 18 Boy’s 200 meters in 21.43, with Mathew Clarke of Barbados placing third in 21.56 seconds and Josiah Atkins placing seventh in 22.38 seconds. In the Under 20 Boy’s 200 meters, Akanni Hislop from Trinidad and Tobago won in 20.89 seconds and Mario Burke finishing second in 21.14 seconds. In the Under 18 Boy’s 400 meters, Christopher Taylor of Jamaica won in 47.36 seconds and Antoni Hoyte-Small placing second in 48.23 seconds. The Under 20 Boy’s 400 meters was won by Akeem Bloomfield of Jamaica in 46.01 seconds.

The 2016 Barbados CARIFTA athletes have shown very little improvement in their times and placings in comparison to past CARIFTA games. The above information of the CARIFTA games between 2007 – 2009 was to give an indication as to how Barbados male athletes have progressed over the years in the 100, 200 and 400 meters events between 2007 and 2016 as well as to where those athletes were then and now on the world scene in comparison to the other athletes who competed during those years.

Okay, let’s start in the sixties where a great man named Louis Albert Lynch, a great Barbadian hero, one who should have been listed as one of our great heroes before some of our current heroes. There were no Sealy’s, Stoute’s or Maynard’s, as a matter of fact; they were nonexistent as far as athletics was concerned. I vaguely remember Stoute around cycling at Kensington with the club Brighton Saddle Boys if my memory serves me right. Louis Lynch ran things in those days as President of the Olympic Association; there was a Simmons who was part of a 13 man official’s team that travelled to Puerto Rico with three athletes, so one can see that it is nothing new with more officials than athletes travelling to meets. The precedent was set a long time ago and is nothing new.

In the sixties, our athletes were running faster times on a grass track with one inch spikes and shoes that felt like bricks on your feet than the times that our current athletes are running on a modern track. In 1966, Jamaican school boys decimated our school boys on the track in all the events as if they were competing against elementary students, with the exception of two or three athletes that held their own against the competition. There were times like 10.3 seconds in the 100 meters, 20.6 seconds in the 200 meters, 46. seconds in the 400 meters and 1.5. for the 800 meters, all on grass. One would expect that sixty years later, with better equipment, a modern track, that our athletes would be running faster.

I exited the track scene in 1968 and returned to the island to reside in 1983. The first person that I went to see on my return was one of the top administrators from the BOA and was told by this official, “we are happy to have you back, you are the most senior athlete, but we do things here or our own way”. I heeded to their comments and stayed clear until 1986, when I rocked the boat for the Presidency of the AAA’s. However a certain coach felt that I should not be the President and gang up with others to make sure that I was not, this same coach had objected to me a few years prior to pointing out to one of his athletes on a technical problem that he had. Again, there were many other athletes that had returned to the island and their assistance was not welcomed by the coaches probably out of jealousy and most refrained from getting involved and so did I. I can understand fully well why Obadele Thompson is not called upon for his input or expertise as well as our overseas University coaches.

I will now fast forward to the current multiplicity of problems facing the athletic scene and why it continues to regress. Unfortunately the major problem is a lack of a proper overall sports program, especially in athletics. In order for an athlete to progress, he or she has to be exposed to a higher level of competition rather than what currently exist locally. The last time that a world class athlete graced these shores to compete was back in the eighties. Our neighbours Trinidad & Tobago, Grenada, as well as the other islands all have world ranking athletes and yet they do not compete here because of the substandard level of competition.

Another major problem is the club system and the infighting among them. There are at least ten track clubs on the island and yet when there is a track meet, in most cases there are no heats, but straight finals with four or five athletes in most instances. This is one of the reasons why the athletes when they go overseas to compete, that they have problems running heats to qualify for finals because they are not use to running heats at home. What the Amateur Athletic Association needs to do to solve this problem, is to make each club enter a minimum of two athletes or more for each event.

There is also a big problem with the coaches not wanting there athletes to train with other coaches. Most coaches specialize in a particular event and is not capable of coaching all the disciplines and should therefore allow their athletes to train with another coach who specializes in a particular event or whose strength is in a particular event. Most of the athletes locally have technical flaws in one area or another and the majority of coaches are not capable of ironing out the flaws in order to make that athlete run faster. But the problem there is that each coach is looking for glory if that athlete does excel and not the bigger picture.

The Amateur Athletic Association puts too much emphasis on the amount of medals that the country wins at the CARIFTA games rather than the athlete producing better times. Instead of having athletes competing in three events in three days of competition in most cases, specialize in one or two events, because of all the heats leading up to the finals. Over the years many an athlete was destroyed competing at the CARIFTA games by having to compete in three events, with the latest being Mary Frazer. It takes a day to recuperate for each mile raced and Mary Frazer competed the heats and finals in the under 18, 800 and 1500 meters as well as the open 3000 meters in three days. This was definitely two much of a work load for her tender age and she paid the ultimate penalty and did not make the team for the games a year later.

In order for our athletes to improve, they will need to compete against better competition and it cannot be done in Barbados. There has been a lot of foolish talk about home grown athletes, because the Jamaicans train at home. But the difference between Barbados and Jamaica is that Jamaica has a proper sports program, the numbers, top quality coaches and athletes. They train at home, but compete in the USA, Bahamas, Puerto Rico, Cuba and Europe as well as the fact that the Americans and other world class athletes travel to Jamaica to compete. Also the coaches in Barbados are only capable of coaching the athletes to a certain level and no more. There is more to coaching than just giving an athlete a workout and timing him or telling them to go and run a few miles. It is the technical aspect that is most important, looking for and correcting that flaw that can make an athlete run that one one-hundredth of a second faster.

The government of Barbados needs to take sports more seriously since it is the sportsmen and women are the ones who help to put Barbados on the map. The time is long overdue for a proper Sports Stadium and training facilities. What we call a national stadium is the pits and the worse in the region, all the other islands have proper Sports Stadiums and even the poorest of the islands, and that is one of the reasons why they are producing world class sportsmen and women in every field. Our public officials are always very quick to run up to the Airport when our sportsmen and women return to the island from overseas competition for publicity. One could imagine what would happen if we had the calibre of sportsmen and women like Jamaica when they arrive at the airport, it would be pure pandemonium.

It appears that the Olympic Association is a closed fraternity with the President at the helm for the past thirty years and most of its members. The President has to be the longest serving President in the world of any organization. What has the President and his members achieved and to show the country during the past thirty years other than their personal satisfaction. Thirty years and only one Olympic medal and one World Championship medal, what is the justification. Wow, Grenada has achieved more Olympic and World Championship medals than Barbados within a third of the time that Barbados took to achieve its two medals. As a matter of fact, the Olympic Association or the AAA cannot take credit for Obadele Thompson’s success, they both did very little in helping him along the way, had not for the support he received from his parents, he might not have achieved his goals. It is time for the BOA to have a change within the organization, fresh faces and more progressive thinking minds to take the organization forward. The BOA has become stymied in its way of thinking and operating. Too many false promises after each Olympics and it is the same results, Olympics after Olympics and nothing to show. At least a number of people are benefitting from the free trips to every cock fight. A few years ago, one Sports Administrator confided in me that they have seen the world at the expense of one of the organizations and that is what it is all about within all the organizations and not about the sportsmen and women.

I have always questioned why Barbados continues to send athletes to the Olympics, the highest level of athletics competition to just run in the first round, because they barely make the qualifying times. I have always maintained that if an athlete cannot win a medal at the Central and Caribbean games, how they can win a medal at the highest level against the best athletes in the world! Yes one can argue that they go for the exposure, but is the Olympic the right place to provide that exposure in front of thousands of spectators? I believe the real reason is that the more athletes that attend the Olympics is to justify the large amount of officials.

One last thing, the local sports journalist need to stop adopting and claiming every athlete that represent other countries as our own, because they have Barbadian roots somewhere along the line. Some of these athletes do not even mention Barbados and we jumping on their band wagon. What the relevant authority needs to do is to put systems in place to get our athletes to reach that standard where they can compete and win gold medals at the highest level in order that the journalist would stop trying to import one of their own double Olympic gold medallists who competes for another country to compete for Barbados.

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19 Comments on “Why Sports Has Not Progressed in Barbados”

  1. Tudor September 5, 2016 at 8:50 PM #

    Very valid points excellent article

    Like

  2. David September 5, 2016 at 9:09 PM #

    When our authorities had to cancel/postpone NAPSAC and BSAC the writing was on the wall. Last week we heard that because the GYM is out of service to the public our successful under 21s have to find indoor practice elsewhere.Can anyone imagine Jamaica without a stadium or even Bahamas?

    Like

  3. Piece Uh De Rock Yeah Right - INRI September 5, 2016 at 11:36 PM #

    @ Mr. Cadogan

    I read your article and was disturbed by it yet heartened by it.

    I will be obvious why I am disturbed by it for all the obvious reasons i.e. the repetitive litany of the ineptness, the mediocrity, the nepotism, the fact that those who are useless foops running the show and anyone, like you or others who is committed or devoted to the activity of focus is destroyed or left out in the cold.

    One can expect that because you have been so forthcoming that many are going to come here and start the character assassination, that is par for the course.

    But it is precisely because of your resoluteness to come here and to speak so openly about the true state of things that I am heartened.

    That you have done it under your real name and took such time to trace the history as well as the science of the sport (in particular the quibble about the heavy shoes) speaks to a practitioner in the art whose love for the sport makes you speak out for what is right.

    Weights and Measures.

    I remember the back of the old exercise books that happened to have the old imperial tables in years of times aforetimes.

    I have always felt that for one to truly be able to make representation for a specific sportsman/woman and their respective coach(es) and officials there has got to be a tool which measures/records their performances and facilitates the ongoing chronicling of the metrics associated with the discipline.

    So if you are a volley ball team in St Luch, I should be able to sit down at the AAA and pull all the stats on you and your team, FOR EVERY SINGLE GAME THAT YOU PLAY, and when you meet specific levels be automatically notified about your performance.

    That Mr Cadogan should obtain across every single sport.

    Concomitantly, there should be a method of measurement of the coaches who “perform” consistently with their wards, so that I know who is the games teacher at Springer Memorial that is responsible for producing all of the distance runners.

    I should be able to track all of their professional development activities and keep abreast with their respective “report cards”

    No guess work sir, this, in a day where every child has a tablet, should be the standard of product that our sports should be using to monitor the nurturing of our athletes and by which we can definitively determine if we should participate in any given meet.

    This is one of the reasons that I call people like the Minister of Edykashun Waste Foops, both him and the one who spent US$236M on Edutech because the capacity to create such enterprise wide platforms should, after all that money was spent, reside here.

    But I digress..

    That this article even though it distresses me is praiseworthy because it means that men like you and teachers like Wayne Willock, Dr. Georgie Porgie and Dr. Lucas and others who live in this shit have the balls to bear the blunt of the detractors and come here and talk about the problems is to be admired.

    But what is even better is that you have the balls to propose solutions.

    It is my hope that as Mugabe Mottley continues to read this Blog and to see that Bajans are bitching about alot of the scvunt that has been done over the years, there is also a cadre of persons who, while bitching, detail the nature of the problems, and THOSE WHO ARE THE CAUSE OF THE PROBLEM, and then they pause and propose plausible solutions.

    THey brave the ensuing fallout and the insults and being called treasonous etc., and expose themselves by their real names, with the dwindling hope that we will stave off the enemy within and put those of us who can make a change in the helm of the mechanism of change or that pretty thing that she print the other day called “The Covenant of Hope”

    Mein Kamph? was written pun some pretty paper too so, mindful that she ent submit her Statement of Net Worth for all these years that she been in the House of Assembly, ours is the hope that she is serious about the Change that Hope Necessitates.

    A mosts revealing insight, kudos.

    Like

  4. Bush Tea September 6, 2016 at 6:57 AM #

    The fact that the AAA and BOA never seem to have a coherent response to Wayne or Oba’s criticisms of their operations speaks volumes.
    One would have thought that coming out of the dismal Olympic experience clear statements would have been forthcoming from these bodies explaining the circumstances; outlining the changes THAT MUST FOLLOW; and apologising to Barbados for the lack of progress.

    Instead, just a lame excuse from Stoute that more officials were actually needed in Rio.

    If he knows that to be the case, then why did he not take more working officials rather than the hangers-on like Simmons and company who were just there for the ride and the per diems?

    Whatever it is that keeps these folks going in the face of such failure must be REALLY lucrative and satisfying ….

    Like

  5. David September 6, 2016 at 7:58 AM #

    Didn’t you hear Barney’s response onbehalf of the AAA to Oba?

    >

    Like

  6. Bush Tea September 6, 2016 at 8:07 AM #

    @ David
    People listen to Barney….?

    Like

  7. Well Well & Consequences September 6, 2016 at 8:22 AM #

    Why is Steve Stoute still the head of the Olympic committee from the 60’s….it’s obvious ALL the failures lie with him and other sports officials…because they have NO VISION…it was not more officials needed in RIO to waste more tax dollars, it’s not the officials competing…

    ……they need to find more GIFTED ATHLETES in the schools population and stop playing nasty small island politics, that they been playimg since the 60s.

    They are all dirty and refuse to allow the most talented athletes to represent the island…particularly if these athletes come from humble backgrounds. ….get rid of Steve Stoute and the other imbeciles who now only have one foot left on the earth..,,, they are useless and have been since the 60s.

    Like

  8. David September 6, 2016 at 8:28 AM #

    Apparently, the is the Vice President of the AAA?

    AND CEO of the BCA.

    On Tuesday, 6 September 2016, Barbados Underground wrote:

    >

    Like

  9. Well Well & Consequences September 6, 2016 at 8:28 AM #

    Piece. ..the shitheads fir soorts officials…just like the politicians, prefer blame the athletes who do not get the support they need and who have had to go out there all alone to push themselves to the limit, with little or no resources…in front of the world…while these animals for sports officials have been enjoying the free ride from the 60s…..without actually doing any work….again sucking the life out of the treasury.

    Like

  10. Bush Tea September 6, 2016 at 8:50 AM #

    @ David
    What happened to the two presidents involved? ….don’t they speak?
    Bushie is still waiting on Barney to explain the Plantation….
    Until then, the bushman is TEMPTED to think that he just sees another “plantation” on sport… and dismisses everything else he says as shiite…

    Like

  11. David September 6, 2016 at 8:54 AM #

    @Bush Tea

    Didn’t he explain on a platform while holding his wife’s hand last election? He said he took out a mortgage.

    >

    Like

  12. Bush Tea September 6, 2016 at 9:20 AM #

    @ David
    If you think you gonna make Bushie sin his soul this good morning ya lie…..

    ..🙂

    Like

  13. Exclaimer September 6, 2016 at 1:38 PM #

    “Sporting excellence leading to educational opportunities”

    http://ntv.nation.co.ke/news/sports/2720356-3370780-12y7utsz/index.html

    Like

  14. Georgie Porgie September 6, 2016 at 2:13 PM #

    to all ex harrisonians

    wish a happy 100th birthday to BILLY THE KID AKA BILLY JONES
    http://www.nationnews.com/nationnews/news/85132/bajan-bone-canon-jones-100th-honour-friends

    Like

  15. Violet C Beckles September 7, 2016 at 6:34 AM #

    CRIME IS IN THE LEAD JUST PASSED BY CROOKS, LIARS AND SCUMBAGS TAKES THE BRONZE,

    Like

  16. David September 7, 2016 at 7:22 PM #

    150 million dollars? Seriously?

    New stadium plan

    Like

  17. Colonel Buggy September 7, 2016 at 7:51 PM #

    And from today’s Nation
    Speaking to the MIDWEEK NATION after a press conference at his Sky Mall, Haggatt Hall office , Lashley said cabinet had decided to look for an initial amount of $50Million for the first phase…………..
    …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
    Perhaps if the goodly Minister had opted for less palatial offices,and utilise already existing government offfices, instead of paying Bizzy Williams $Millions in rental fees, out of the taxpayers money, his government could have afforded to provide the $150 Million projected to build the new stadium.
    But do not be surprised, if within the next few months we do not see the old stadium being demolished by a certain construction turk, and construction of the new stadium begin even before planning permission is approved.

    Like

  18. Well Well & Consequences September 8, 2016 at 6:16 AM #

    First you find the money…then you let the people know you have the money and will proceed with building a new stadium.

    This is just a deso5erate announcement to impress pimps and yardfowls, no one else…..they do not have enough pimps and yardfowls to reelect this government.

    Vote them all out.

    Like

  19. Kareen Hannemann September 17, 2016 at 4:31 PM #

    Just interested if you will find any running a blog websites where I can begin a blog that aren’t as well known.. I am currently aware of sites like tumblr, wordpress, livejournal, xanga, vox, etc … Any kind of up and coming running a blog websites perhaps?.

    Like

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