Coach of world 110m Hurdles champion calls for companies in to invest in the nation’s young athletes.
By Clayton Clarke
Ryan Brathwaite captured Barbados’s first gold medal at major global meet when he won the world 100m hurdles title in Berlin, Germany in August. Braithwaite clinched the gold in a close finish over the US pair of Terrance Trammell and David Payne as 0.01 seconds separated the top three. Ryan was introduced to the hurdles by his high school Physical Education teacher Alwyn Babb in 2003 while he was a student of the Lester Vaughn High School in Barbados. Mr. Babb continued to coach him until he left for Barton Junior College on an athletic scholarship the US in 2007. Since his success in Berlin, Ryan has been receiving gifts and rewards by many companies on the island. However, Babb is calling on corporate Barbados to not only spend their money on the World champion but on other athletes on the island who need the support “I am hoping that with his success that in the whole event of celebrating the win and trying to showering on him all of the gifts which he rightly deserve for his achievement that we some how don’t lose the real picture that we want to achieve. I would always encourage those persons who are showering gifts and are prepared to spend money not only on Ryan but several other athletes in Barbados who need assistance. Right now Ryan is now a professional athlete. He gets paid for what he does. The most important thing is instead of exploiting the success to put your name behind it as a business (and say) you gave him this, you gave him that I want them to be encouraged by his success and use that to say “look we can help the others who are here” because they are lots of others in the wings waiting for that opportunity”.
Babb, an IAAF Level four coach feels that governments across the region can invest more in sports at the athletes of the Caribbean market their country each time they succeed on the world stage, “every time an athlete is successful in a major meet that is free mileage for the country. The governments of the Caribbean don’t have to pay for that. They don’t have to pay a cent in terms of advertising. It is free. And that type of exposure for your country adds or equals to millions of foreign exchange. People who then would want to then associate with your country and then incline to visit your country because they may be curious. They have never been to Barbados but here we are. We have several sports persons who are doing well”. Babb also coached Shane Brathwaite (no relation to Ryan) to the 2007 World Youth Octathlon title in Ostrava, Czech Republic and Kierre Beckles to the 2008 Commonwealth Youth girls 100m hurdles gold in Pune, India.