Gearing up for the Games in China: Ambassador Ke visits the BOA

Bridgetown, Barbados – Chinese Ambassador to Barbados, H.E. Ms. Wang Ke, paid an official visit to the Barbados Olympic Association (BOA) on Thursday.

Accompanied by Mr. Zhu Songhua, Political Counsellor and Mr. Ye Yi, Third Secretary, the Ambassador toured the Olympic museum and met with members of the Executive Council and staff of the BOA. She praised Barbados for being able to compete on the world stage in many different sports given the island’s size and expressed her admiration for some of the outstanding local athletes, including Olympic Bronze Medalist, Obadele Thompson and World Gold Medalist, Ryan Brathwaite.

President of the BOA, Steve Stoute, welcomed the Ambassador and thanked her for the avid interest that China has expressed in assisting with the development of sport in Barbados. “We are privileged to welcome Ambassador Ke, Mr. Songhua and Mr. Yi to the BOA this morning. This visit is timely especially as Glyne Clarke, our Chef de Mission for the upcoming Youth Olympic Games in China and Ryan O’Neal Brathwaite, our Youth Ambassador for the Games, are off to Nanjing. Our athletes at present continue to go through qualification stages for the Games. We intend to fly the Barbados flag high in Nanjing this year and we appreciate the tremendous support that we have received from the Chinese community.”

The Ambassador applauded the BOA for its efforts and suggested that many Chinese nationals will indeed be eagerly watching Barbados, especially as bilateral relations between the countries continue to grow. She referenced a recent documentary on Barbados, which has been televised on Chinese national television resulting in a greater understanding and appreciation of what the island has to offer her people. She mentioned in particular the fantastic weather, friendly people and cricket, a sport now being played in China but not overly popular as yet.

Ambassador Ke urged Youth Ambassador, Brathwaite, to make the most of his trip and to use his role as an opportunity to encourage the competing athletes to learn more about China and really enjoy the Nanjing experience. She reiterated China’s plans to host a spectacular Youth Olympics, similar to the Beijing Games, and expressed the country’s decision to bid for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games.

Following the tour the Ambassador and her party mingled with several members of the BOA Executive Council. She was particularly interested in hearing more about Barbados hosting the International Table Tennis Federation World Cadet Challenge, a first for the island. This event is expected to attract close to 100 competitors from across the world and will take place from October 23 – Nov 1 this year. The Ambassador referenced China’s dominance in table tennis and expressed her hope that Chinese coaches could perhaps visit the island to conduct training sessions.

At the end of the visit Stoute and the Ambassador exchanged gifts from their respective organisations.