The athletes to represent Barbados at the 21st Commonwealth Games at the Gold Coast, Australia, have been named and 15-year-old Meagan Best has been bestowed with the honour of being the island’s flag-bearer at the April 4-15 event.
Best, who is the junior national champion in squash, received Barbados’ flag from Governor General Dame Sandra Mason and president of the Barbados Olympic Association, Sandra Osborne, at a ceremony in the Officers’ Mess, St Ann’s Fort, Garrison, last night.
Best was congratulated by the Minister of Culture, Sports and Youth Stephen Lashley in his brief remarks, where he credited her for exemplifying the true meaning of sportsmanship.
“I offer congratulations to Megan Best, Barbados’ latest squash sensation on being selected to be our flag-bearer to the 2018 Games. Megan, through your outstanding and consistent performances, your attitude and humility at the tender age of fifteen coupled with your high level of discipline and professionalism, have allowed you to exemplify the true spirit of sportsmanship. Given these accolades you truly deserve this honour,” he said while adding that the presentation of the flag was symbolic of the appreciation that the Government and people of Barbados had.
He urged Best to carry the flag with pride and dignity as she would be representing Barbados to the sporting world.
“This presentation of the Barbados Flag is symbolic of the high level of appreciation, trust and respect being offered to you by the Government and People of Barbados. I urge you to carry it with pride and dignity and in so doing you will be presenting our beloved nation to the sporting world. As I am sure you are aware, this honour is accompanied by a high level of anticipation, both for yourself and the other members of Team Barbados, for it is upon your collective shoulders that our hope for podium finishes reside. Please be assured that we will be glued to our televisions and checking social media in our quest to follow your exploits and that all Barbados will celebrate with you when our flag is raised and the National Anthem played at the Games in recognition of your outstanding performances,” he said.
Lashley added: “Congratulations are also in order for all of the members of Team Barbados, who through your perseverance, discipline and hard work have reached the stage of representing Barbados at the upcoming games at the Gold Coast of Australia. I am advised that the team comprises some seventy-one persons and that we will be competing in eleven disciplines. This level of representation is in itself commendable for Barbados, as the saying goes, we are on the correct path.”
Lashley also noted that Government was working assiduously to make a refurbished National Stadium a reality. He also disclosed that Cabinet had approved an initiative for the implementation of a health evaluation and health maintenance programme for selected elite and emerging athletes.
“This will be achieved through a collaborative effort between the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Youth, the Barbados Olympic Association and the Barbados Sports Medicine Association. When coupled with the insurance coverage that was recently instituted by the Barbados Olympic Association, which I encourage all our athletes to join, it is envisaged that these initiatives will contribute significantly to facilitating our athletes’ development. Given these support mechanisms and given our current trajectory, it is anticipated that Barbados will see the development of an enhanced cadre of athletes. This can redound to the elevation of Barbados in the global arena as a sporting nation and premier destination for sports. The Government will continue to be supportive of the efforts of the Barbados Olympic Association and to work closer with all of our stakeholders towards advancing our sports,” Lashley said.
President of the Barbados Olympic Association, Sandra Osborne, said that Barbados had been an active member in the Commonwealth Games having competed from 1954 and had won a total of 12 medals – two gold, three silver and seven bronze.
This year at the 21st Commonwealth Games there will be an equal number of events for male and female competitors.
Barbados will be represented in eleven disciplines by Nicholas Deshong, Floyd Simpson, Bryan Holder, Dakeil Thorpe, Cory Fanus, Athelstone Forde, Lawrence Hunte, Sandra Bruce-Small, Margaret Cutting, Adrian Craigwell, Desmond Grant, Shonica Wharton, Shonette Azore, Latonia Blackman, Rhe-Ann Niles, Shonte Seale, Vanessa Bobb, Tonisha Rock-Yaw, Nikita Payne, Rieah Holder, Teresa Howell, Sabreena Smith, Damisha Croney, Tshanie Foster, Stephanie Patrick, Amanda Knight, Curtis Smith, Ronald Sargeant, Louis Estwick, Bernard Chase, Justin St John, Michael St John, Richard Arthur, Jason Wood, Michelle Elliot, Karen Meakins, Shawn Simpson, Meagan Best, Amanda Haywood, Trevor Farley, Marcus Smith, Mark Dowell, Tyrese Knight, Matthew Wright, Daniel Griffith, Ivorn Mcknee, Romario Forde, Dr Shane Drakes, Sharon Coppin and Marguerita Felix.