It was a night of celebration on Monday, December 19, as The Barbados Olympic Association (BOA) Inc. hosted its first in-person Awards Ceremony since 2019. The event saw Commonwealth Gold Medallist Sada Williams capture three awards, including the coveted President’s Award.
During the ceremony at the Hilton Barbados Resort, Williams also won the Senior Female Athlete of the Year Award and the International Excellence Award. CARIFTA Gold Medallist Jaiya Simmons captured the People’s Choice Award and the Junior Female Athlete of the Year Award, and Commonwealth Silver Medallist Shane Brathwaite was named Senior Male Athlete of the Year. Meanwhile, the 2022 Junior Male Athlete of the Year was CARIFTA Gold Medallist Fynn Armstrong.
In her opening remarks, President of the BOA Sandra Osborne K.C. told the audience that while the event was held to celebrate the outstanding performances of Barbadian athletes, it was important to recognise the multifaceted nature of Sport. The president added that “the Barbados Sports community must think more deeply about the critical role of Sport outside of mere preparation for competition, so that we can leverage the truly transformative power of Sport into the future”.
Moreover, she spoke of the role Sport can play as an enabler for achieving the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals, gender equality and empowerment of women in areas under-represented in Sport, and promoting sustainability and sustainable communities.
During his remarks, Minister of Youth, Sport and Community Empowerment, the Honourable Charles Griffith, touching on the evening’s theme ‘Fuelling Passion’, said his ministry is committed to paving the way for all those interested in Sport to become involved. As such, he said his ministry will work closely with the BOA to make that a reality.
The Minister added, “The passion, the desire for success is there. As a government, twinning with BOA, I believe that we can do that. But we need support, we need support from Corporate Barbados to come on board and to fill some of the gaps that are there. If we get the support from Corporate Barbados, we can achieve 10-fold what we’re doing now”.
The Minister also announced that a new National Sports Policy will go to Parliament in early 2023, outlining the road map for Sport in Barbados. He made the comments while calling for athletes to give back to encourage more young people to get involved in Sports.
Other awards of the night included Coach of the Year, awarded to swim coach Dave Farmer and Male and Female Recognition Awards, which went to Mark Sealy, Matthew Wright, Karen Meakins and Amber Joseph. Additionally, Jasper Blades received the Dedicated Service Award for his assistance to the BOA, especially during the pandemic, and four employees were recognised for long service – Eric Ward (10 years), Glyne Clarke (15 years), Paula Jarvis (15 years) and Gail Craig-Archer (20 years).
The medallists from the Caribbean Games, Commonwealth Games and the CentroCaribe Sports Beach and Sea Games were also recognised during the ceremony and presented with performance bonuses.