A hurdler and a surfer are Barbados Olympic Association’s senior athletes of 2018.
Ryan Brathwaite, who’s most outstanding feature in a spectacular year was the two gold medals in the Central American and Caribbean Games (CAC), is the island’s triumphant male athlete.
Bajan queen of the waves, Chelsea Tuach, won the Martinique Surf Pro Qualifying Series 3000-level strengthening her chances of making the cut for the World Surf League Tour next year and in the process earned herself recognition as Barbados’ female athlete of the year title.
The island’s top performers were named at the BOA’s annual awards ceremony last week when the organisation celebrated 50 years of involvement in the Olympic movement by recognising Barbados’ first team at the 1968 XIX Olympiad.
Continuing a tradition of the island’s athletes giving credible performances abroad, 28-year-old Brathwaite bested the field in the 110 hurdles at the CAC games in Colombia in 13.38 seconds.
In that same competition, he then teamed up with Mario Burke, Burkheart Ellis and Jaquone Hoyte to score another gold in the 4X100 relay.
Brathwaite went on to the North American, Central American and Caribbean Championships in Canada where he clocked a bit slower at 13:52 in the hurdles to take bronze.
These performances were a rewarding end to 2018, a year in which Brathwaite thought he had ‘a rough season at the beginning.’
Explaining he “made some adjustments going into CAC and NACAC. I was able to get through the rounds and get a gold and season’s best time, so to run consistently like that overall I would say it was a good season.”
“It’s always a great feeling to be recognised for your achievements on the track. I’m happy to get these awards, but they’re only stepping stones for me to move forward for the next couple seasons,” he said.
Tuach, who ranked 19th in the World Surfing League, was the only Caribbean surfer to make it through the stages of the Martinique Surf Pro Qualifying Series 3000, and for this reason she stood as a beacon for the region moving on to be the top woman performer in that contest.
Also, this year, she placed fourth in surfing qualifiers in Peru, thereby earning a place in the Pan American Games next year.
“Just coming to the awards tonight and hearing the stories of other Barbadian athletes fills me with so much pride and inspiration to do Barbados proud and let the world know how great Barbados athletes are,” said 23-year-old Tuach.
“So, good end to the year and I am looking forward to putting the work in and having a great time in 2019 as well.”