Sports needs an Oba

The lack of commitment to sports in Barbados is exemplified in a dilapidated National Stadium.

Charles Griffith
Charles Griffith, Minister of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment 

Two voting events caught the interest last week. First the election of a Barbados Cricket Association (BCA) and the announcement Olympian Obadele Thompson has thrown his hat in the ring to challenge for president of the Barbados Olympic Association.

It was reported Conde Riley was returned as president with 75 votes to narrowly fend off Calvin Hope 72 votes and Senator Gregory Nicholls 37 votes. A grand total of 184 votes were gathered between the three candidates. From all research the BCA registers a membership of close to three thousand members. At a time cricket is struggling to maintain its position as the preeminent sport in Barbados, less than 200 members showed the interest to vote for a president of the BCA.

Oba: A ruler of any of several African peoples of western Nigeria 
—used as a form of address

Mariam Webster

The other related news was 2000 Olympian Obadele Thompson’s announcement to challenge for a director’s seat at the Barbados Olympic Association (BOA). What makes his decision interesting is the fact he lives in the United States of America. How does it reflect on the local talent Thompson feels compelled to contribute to the development of sports in Barbados via Zoom? In defense, we live in a Digital Age.

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A Serious National Sports Program a Must


Akela Jones

Last week veteran sports administrator Sir Austin Sealy at an award some where made the contentious remark – in BU’s view – that Barbados as a small country does well when we only qualify athletes for the Olympics. The argument often used is that given the paucity of resources it is nigh impossible to compete with developed countries. Not sure if Sir Austin included Jamaica, Bahamas, Trinidad in his definition of developed countries.

It was a week to hear from the veteran sports administrators it seems, Steve Stoute the longstanding head of the Barbados Olympic Association since 1996 announced he will NOT be standing for re-election next time around. He took the opportunity to give some insight that a highlight of his stewardship will occur this year -for the Rio Olympics there will be a Caribbean commentary team. The region has had to suffer through North American feeds of the Olympics all through the years, although it must be stated given our predilection for things foreign we have to wait on the feedback on the regional focused commentary.

Two weeks ago there was another news item which caught BU’s attention. Our top sprinter Levi Cadogan assured a sports reporter he will qualify for the 100m. He shared that he had to work through a few issues with his mechanics.

After the London Olympics BU listened to the post analysis with interest. Stakeholders promised they would do all that was required to ensure we gave our athletes the best chance at being competitive in Rio. Based on our observation of the local track and field scene, the only local athlete with a good chance at being competitive will be Akela Jones.

What is the current state of the National Stadium?

If we look at track and field meets across the region especially in Jamaica and Bahamas, an integral part of the process is the rivalry. Integral to the rivalry is the spectator support. We cannot be serious about growing a successful track and field program with no fully functional national stadium.

A reminder there was the embarrassment of the organizers unable to host BSSAC and NAPSAC. These two tournaments target primary and secondary athletes and are critical to the early development of the local athlete.

A serious national sports program will create opportunities for our young people. It will help to nurture a national psyche which lends itself to developing pride in country. Not to forget the health and well being of a nation.