Barbados cops Pan Am gold, but …

Barbadian athlete, Shane Brathwaite.
Photo by George Alleyne

Shane Brathwaite edged United States’ Freddie Crittenden III to breast the tape in 13:31 seconds in the 110 hurdles and cop Barbados’ sole gold medal and become star of the island’s show at the 2019 Pan Am games.

In fact, Brathwaite’s win on the penultimate day of the three-week event proved to be the only saving grace for Barbados as the total of 31 athletes had no other medal to show for their efforts in Lima, Peru.

The Barbados Nation newspaper reported the hurdler admitting to a sleepless night before the event and nervousness at the beginning of the race.

“I had to forget my lack of sleep when I got to the line and remind myself how good these guys were, knowing that they would bring it. … I remained focused on my lane, as that is what I had been working so hard to achieve,” he told the Nation newspaper.

“I don’t think the start was the best but I stayed in the race right through the middle. I know that my strongest part of the race is in the end with my foot speed.

“So, crossing that hurdle I went for it all. There was nothing to lose, there was all to gain.”

But with Golden Boy Brathwaite being the sole highlight, Barbados’ overall performance at these games which ended last Sunday has given an official reason to call for a review of funding priorities with a focus more on bringing home medals rather than just participating.

The Nation newspaper reported Barbados’ Chef de Mission to the Pan Am Games, Orson Simpson, saying, “I believe that the Sports Council, the BOA (Barbados Olympic Association) and the federations need to sit down and discuss their plans for sports in the country. We have a number of disciplines where 12 were represented in Peru. But we have to look at what is priority because funding is very limited.”

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