IOC President’s visit to Barbados a success

The local sporting community had an exciting few days as the country welcomed the President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Thomas Bach OLY, to Barbados’ shores from March 8-10. 

Barbados, which he commended for its enthusiasm and commitment to sport, was the sixth stop on his two-week tour of Central American and Caribbean National Olympic Committees (NOC), including Costa Rica, Jamaica, and Aruba. A highlight of his visit was the National Primary Schools’ Athletics Championship (NAPSAC) which he attended on March 10, along with officials from the Barbados Olympic Association (BOA) Inc. at the Usain Bolt Complex.

Speaking to the hundreds of children present, he encouraged the young athletes to strive for the best in their respective sports. Addressing the students moments before declaring NAPSAC open, he referred to the Olympic Motto – ‘Faster, Higher, Stronger – Together’, suggesting that if they adopt it, “then maybe one day we can even see you in the Olympics Games, participating with the best athletes in the world, and putting Barbados on the top of the world map in sports”. 

Following the initial races, President Bach presented the first medals of the day to the successful competitors in the Open Boys and Open Girls High Jump, Open Girls 600m and Open Boys 800m.

The previous day, his delegation, which included President of Panam Sports and IOC Member, Neven Ilic, engaged athletes from various sporting disciplines, such as road tennis, tennis, and fencing, for which he won an Olympic gold medal in 1976. They also toured several sports facilities at the Garfield Sobers Sports Complex, among them the home of the Barbados Football Association, the Wildey Hockey Turf, the skatepark and the Aquatic Centre. BOA President Sandra Osborne and other BOA officials facilitated that tour. Following the tour, President Bach helped unveil the BOA’s new billboard featuring Commonwealth and World Championship medallist, Sada Williams.

While in Barbados, the IOC president also paid courtesy calls to President of Barbados, the Most Honourable Dame Sandra Mason, and Prime Minister, the Honourable Mia Amor Mottley. President Bach is the first Olympic champion to be elected President of the IOC and the third IOC President to visit Barbados since the Olympic Movement recognized the BOA in 1955.