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Good morning ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for attending this morning’s press briefing. We are
extremely pleased to announce that the BOA will be hosting this month-long, multi-sport games event in
Barbados, annually, during the month of November. This comes after last year’s successful 50th
Anniversary Independence Games, which generated an impressive level of enthusiasm among the
sporting public of Barbados for a one-off project. Twenty different sports events participated in last
year’s Games, and all indications are that we will exceed twenty-five sports this year, and will generally
see an even bigger scale of events being promoted.
The various events will be branded as the BOA Independence Invitational Games.(BIIG), and are
intended to reflect a number of key characteristics that are representative of the assigned name.
Characteristics such as the Olympic values of excellence, friendship and respect which come with the
BOA’s influence; the national independence spirit of pride and industry; the welcoming attributes of
inclusiveness and the environmental imperative of sustainability will be promoted.
When compared to our inaugural Independence games, everything this year will be ‘BiiGer’.
In addition to the search for the 2018 BiiG Champion in each sport, we will again be seeking to identify
the most outstanding National Sports Federation; the most outstanding junior athlete; and the most
improved sports event for 2017. The BIIG competition will therefore not only be on the athletic field, but
also in the various associations’ administrative meeting rooms and even at the opening ceremony.
Structure of BIIG
Again this year, The BOA will be responsible – through the BiiG Organizing Committee, (BiiGOC) for the
quality, coordination, marketing, and promotion of the Games, while each individual Sports Federation
has agreed to take responsibility for their particular sporting discipline. This approach worked very well
last year as National Federations were able to deploy significant levels of expertise in their various
disciplines and in many cases, to put on really fantastic programs.
The BOA will also be stepping up its marketing and promotion responsibilities this year, benefiting from
a much longer planning lead-up to the events.
One of the major challenges to sports administrators in Barbados is the lack of available and affordable
venues. It has only been through ingenious, innovative, thinking, that such good results were achieved last year. We, on the organizing committee, will not be surprised to find even more exciting and creative
innovations coming from our sports leadership this year. We have already been hearing serious talk of
“Boxing on the Beach” and “Sprinting on the sand” as possibilities on the menu for BiiG 2017. Far from
being a liability, this national challenge may well lead to some exciting innovations in sport.
The Games will take place during the month of November. Our opening ceremony is scheduled for
Saturday October 28, 2017 at the Pirates Cove Beach and the closing ceremony will be on December 2.
In the interim period, events have been deliberately scheduled in an effort to give maximum exposure
to each sport, by minimizing clashes wherever possible…. especially with finals.
In the spirit of inclusiveness, BiiGOC will be seeking to encourage inter-disciplinary support for all events
– with the various athletes supporting each other’s sports during the Games.
The BIIG Beach Games
Due to overwhelming interest, the Beach Games component of the Games, which was held over one day
last year, will now be extended to run from November 16 to 19. We at the BOA see this Beach format as
having significant potential for future development. The enthusiasm with which many sports have
adapted their rules and tactics to suit this environment has been impressive. It certainly seems
conceivable that for a number of our sports, our outstanding beaches can become our future athletic
Mr. Dave Farmer, who is leading that initiative, will give an overview of the Beach Games concept.
Measures of Success
For last year’s Games, the organizing committee outlined a number of objectives which would have
defined success for the project. These objectives were focused on quality and presentation. The
response from the organisers was overwhelming, with impressive scores by many federations and in
some cases, with near perfect performances.
It is clear that our sports administrators have the knowledge and skills to operate at international
standards. We have therefore decided to raise the stakes in 2017. So, in addition to the quality of
organization and execution of the events, we have added two new areas, inclusiveness and
environmental awareness, to our core objectives for organizers.
Nelson Mandela said that sport has the power to change the world, but in order to do so, sports leaders
need to include, and involve, many other non-traditional publics into their sports world. BiiGOC will be
challenging each sport to come up with an initiative that includes others, who would not normally be so
inclined, into their BIIG championship or tournament. Possible target groups are; special needs persons,
retired persons, residents of children’s homes, Special Olympics colleagues, church or youth groups…..
The other major change for 2017, is that we will join in the fight for environmental sustainability. We
have therefore adopted BiiG as the Green Games. Credits will be given for the adoption and promotion of green initiatives during all BiiG events. The reduction of the use of plastics, the promotion of
conservation ideals such as “reduce, reuse recycling”, and other green initiatives will be encouraged.
Finally, we decided to expand our opening ceremony in a quest to promote the spirit of inclusion. This
year, each participating federation will be invited to enter a team of athletes to compete at the opening
ceremony in a trilogy of fun events to test the relative readiness of each sport for the BiiG challenges
and to build a spirit of inclusiveness among athletes…. with major bragging rights at stake..
The events to be contested are:
• An O-SMART team treasure hunt
• An Independence team quiz
• A knock-out, Pound-for-pound, bare-foot-in-the-sand, Tug–o–War challenge
This will serve as an opportunity for those federations that complained of being hard-done-by at
Olympic Day, when Rugby dominated the tug-o-war rope on their home turf. Let us see if it will be a
different story on the sand.
One athlete and one senior administrator from the winning federation will be given the honour of
lighting the Games flame to declare BiiG Event 2017 officially opened.
The Organising Committee is very excited about the BiiG Events planned for November. We anticipate
high levels of organization, top quality competition, and keen rivalries among our various sports bodies
and this all bodes well for the future of sport generally.