Sport in Barbados can no longer be seen as just a pastime.
This was the assertion of Sports Minister, Stephen Lashley, as he delivered the opening remarks at the Evening with the Stars gala at the Hilton Barbados on Saturday night.
The occasion saw 25 of the Barbados’ Sporting Icons being honoured as Barbados gets set to celebrate its 50th anniversary of Independence in November.
Minister Lashley explained that the event sought to celebrate sporting excellence and “the great contribution made to Barbados in the area of Sports by the great men and women we called our Icons, our Stars.”
“These individuals are drawn from a cross-section of sporting disciplines and have all done us proud. We also gather to recognise the exploits of our up-and-coming stars whose growth and development we are seeing unfold on the world stage in their various fields of endeavour.”
Lashley pointed out that sports has opened opportunities for many around the world.
“High performance has brought much acclaim and the spin-off careers have kept most going when the performance years were over. As a result, many of our young people are now recognising that sport can be a viable career choice if they put in the hard work and remain dedicated to the task.”
The Sports Minister said that the idea for the event, which can be considered the Barbados Sports Hall of Fame, was born four years ago when as the Minister responsible for Sports, “I thought of how we could honour our sportspersons, especially our legends who have placed Barbados in the international sporting arena. It was then that the idea of an ‘Evening with the Stars’ was born. It took a while to come to fruition, but tonight that vision has been realised.”
The Minister is hoping that the event will become either an annual or biennial event as “one Evening with the Stars would not be enough to recognise everyone.”
He highlighted that it was a very difficult task to select which group of persons would be honoured on the initial occasion.
“But rest assured, tonight’s list is not exhaustive.”