Olympic solidarity was at its height when officials from Nanyo City, Japan, paid a courtesy visit to the Barbados Olympic Association Inc. (BOA) in Wildey, on Wednesday.
A number of participating countries in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics have been paired with a city in Japan. The Barbados visit was part of a cultural exchange that entails visits by officials and citizens of one country to the other.
In November 2017 the Mayor of Nanyo City, Takao Shiraiwa, led a delegation to Barbados to meet with the Barbados Olympic Association and in December 2018 a delegation led by the BOA’s President, Sandra Osborne, visited Nanyo City and confirmed and signed the final version of a Memorandum of Understanding between that City and the BOA. This was followed by a visit earlier this year in February by a contingent of artists and athletes to Nanyo City. On this occasion, it was Japan’s turn to visit Barbados.
Japan’s Ambassador to Barbados, His Excellency Teruhiko Shinada, accompanied a group of 14 people led by the vice mayor of Nanyo City, Toyohiro Onuma. An official meeting was held with the president of the BOA, Sandra Osborne, and other BOA Board Members, during which preparations for the pre-Games camp were discussed. Members of the delegation were also treated to a tour of the BOA’s museum.
A brief ceremony took place before lunch in which gifts and pleasantries were exchanged. Vice Mayor Onuma read a letter from the mayor of Nanyo City to President Osborne.
In the letter, the mayor thanked Osborne for welcoming the group to Barbados and said that he was looking forward to hosting the Barbados athletes for the pre-Games camp.
“There are about 350 days left until the Olympics. We are preparing to host the Barbadian athletes for the pre-Games camp next year. I am hoping that as many Barbadian athletes as possible will be able to participate in the Olympic Games,” Onuma read.
In response, Osborne said that she was very pleased to host the delegation and invited them to enjoy the island. She said that she knew lasting friendships would be made from the exchange, which underscores the power of sport and the Olympic values.
“I want to warmly welcome you to Barbados and the BOA. I am proud to have all of you here almost 350 days before the Games begin. It is wonderful to see all the friendships and exchanges that come through sport,” Osborne said.
The delegation arrived on Sunday, August 4, and departed Thursday, August 8. Included in the delegation were the President of the Nanyo City Sports Association, Hiroshi Wada, and a City Council Member, Atsushi Takahashi. Barbadian Dawn Springer, who is currently working as the host town promoter in Nanyo City, accompanied the group as interpreter.
Featured Image: Members of the Nanyo City delegation arriving for their visit to the BOA.