Skating with an eye on Olympics
by TONISHA ROCK-YAW
FOR THE FIRST TIME, Barbados might field a representative in the sport of skateboarding at the Olympic Games.
President of the Skateboard Association of Barbados, Paul Wilson, was optimistic that with the assistance of the Barbados Olympic Association, this might become a reality at the 2020 Games now that local skateboarders have a place to call home.
His comments were made to MIDWEEK SPORT during the official opening ceremony for the Kaitif Skatepark at the Garfield Sobers Sports Complex, Wildey, St Michael, on Saturday evening.
“It is quite a procedure to get to the Olympics, but with the assistance from Barbados Olympic Association, we will have that information, then we will use it to put ourselves in the position to get to that stage. But it’s not out of this world to think that there can be a professional going to the 2020 Games. With this facility, it is very possible,” Wilson said.
The park, which was constructed by the Maria Holder Memorial Trust at an estimated BDS$1.4 million, will be managed by the National Sports Council.
Wilson was overwhelmed as he detailed the dedication of numerous people to get the project off the ground. Her said skateboarders had long desired an area to call their own and further develop their skill set.
“This is a world-class facility built in Barbados and we’re going to treat it that way. We didn’t just build this skate park for ourselves, we built this skate park for the future generations of kids in Barbados.”
Minister of Sports John King noted the commitment of all involved in the project, but he singled out the Maria Holder Trust’s philanthropic exploits, which he noted had provided funding for several projects – in sport, health and education. He added they were largely designed to enhance and significantly impact the lives of young Barbadians in a positive way.
“I look forward to the day when one of our young skaters will be standing on the Olympic medal podium and raising Barbados’ first skateboarding medal,” King said. “It’s expected that the council will use the facility to develop the sporting and social capital of Barbados’ young people and as a vital space in developing the discipline of skateboarding.
“It is widely anticipated that a number of champions will emerge to do Barbados proud and provide the potential to enhance the Barbadian tourism product with the possibility of the island becoming an international destination for skating in the future,” he added. Trustee of The Maria Holder Memorial Trust, Mary Brewster, reaffirmed the Trust’s continued dedication to assisting those in greatest need.
Brewster said: “We believe that this skate park could promote international interests to our shores, the opportunity to cultivate budding talents and improve skills. It presents an environment that should help the youth to build their social athletic skills with other like-minded youth and motivate them to move forward in a positive direction.”
Article taken from the MIDWEEK NATION. WEDNESDAY, 15 MAY 2019