Sporting Barbados 2015

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Credits Publisher – Hiltop Publications Ltd, 11 Cottage Ridge, St George, Barbados, BB19071 Tel (246) 228-9122 Fax (246) 228-0243 Email Editor – Pamela L Hiles Editorial – J Clarence Hiles, Pamela L Hiles, Mark Wheeler, Martyn Norworthy Advertising – Pamela L Hiles Photography – J Clarence Hiles, Pamela L Hiles, Peter Marshall, Andre Williams, Diamonds International, Sandy Lane Charitable Trust, Sandy Lane Hotel, Apes Hill Golf Club, BMTI,


Ralph White, Best of Barbados, Limacol CPL 2T20, David Speiler, Hightide Watersports, Rachel Roett, Winston Edghill, Jolly Roger Cruises, CEI, Himal Reece, Gerrard Wilson, Roberto Hardie, Corey Reece, Barbara Secher Greenidge, Zary & Kristina Evelyn, Alan Burke & Brian Talma Design and Art Direction – Neil Barnard at 809 Design Associates, Barbados Distribution – Hiltop Publications Ltd, CITO Distribution (UK) Printed in the UK The Material and editorial contained in this publication was deemed correct at the time of going to print but may be subject to change thereafter. No part of this publication should be reproduced without the consent of the publishers.

Copyright 2015 Sporting Barbados



Change is a great dynamic and although we are sometime reluctant to embrace it, the results can be invigorating, stimulating and rewarding. Every year Sporting Barbados has a new dynamic, driven largely through our everchanging photographs and a central theme that we identify to place an emphasis on a particular sports tourism sector. This year the emphasis is on ‘people who make sports tourism happen’ and we hope you enjoy the different roles these people play in the industry. Change has also caught up with the Barbados Tourism Authority and we welcome the Government’s new structure with its specific emphasis on marketing. We also welcome the new initiatives to bring top class international sports tourism events to the island and in particular, last year’s Top Gear promotion at Bushy Park. Times have been tough in recent years, but tourism is the central core of our economy and we can’t sit back and expect it to happen without being proactive and visionary. Sports tourism is a niche market within the tourism industry, but it is fastgrowing and needs to be understood, evaluated and developed to maximise its


potential. Many people in the industry recognize its potential, but tend to be reactive as opposed to proactive and inevitably miss golden opportunities. For example, the England test team will be in Barbados in May for their first test match since 2009. Thousands of England supporters travel to support their team and Barbados is one of their favourite destinations. The potential spin-off for hotels, villa rentals, restaurants, nightlife, activities, attractions, and rum shops is tremendous. Let’s not miss the opportunity to do business with visitors who love our island and have made this the destination of their choice. The England cricketers won’t be the only sports people to come to Barbados in 2015 as hundreds of thousands of sportsoriented visitors come and go every year. We hope through the pages of Sporting Barbados and our dedicated website and the Sporting Barbados Facebook page you get a flavour of the wide range of sporting and recreational activities that take place on this beautiful tropical island. Sporting Barbados comes free to all its readers either electronically or in hard copy. This would not be possible without the support and patronage of our loyal advertisers and tourism partners. We thank you for your belief in this publication, which has been responsible for promoting Barbados sports tourism for nearly 20 years all over the world and bringing thousands of people to the island. We also thank our very supportive Government Ministers the Right Hon. Richard Sealy and the Hon. Stephen Lashley for their generous Forewords and our feature writers, photographers, Neil Barnard at 809 Design and Colin Moffatt at our printers Graphic Design. Enjoy Sporting Barbados 2015 and all that we have to say about this beautiful island and its assets. Pamela Hiles Editor

Contributors CLARENCE HILES Feature Writer Clarence is the Feature Writer in all Hiltop Publications magazines and has a wealth of journalistic experience and business acumen covering finance, real estate, consultancy and sport. NEIL BARNARD 809 Neil has been the design talent behind Sporting Barbados since inception and is one of the most talented designers in the Caribbean.

PETER MARSHALL Photographer A popular Barbados businessman Peter turned a passion for photography into a successful hobby on retirement with sailing at the top of his favourite subjects. ANDRE WILLIAMS Photographer Andre Williams is a freelance photographer in Barbados and can be seen at many sporting and social events around the island. His work has been featured in a number of top publications.

Log onto for up to date news on events in Barbados!


Living The Dream franklyn stevenson Page 76

Hotel Team with a Difference Bougainvillea Beach Resort Page 88

The Petra Factor Petra Roach Page 92

The man with the silver tongue Jonathan Simpson Page 106


Businessman with The Midas Touch Jacob Hassid Page 118

Sporting All-Rounder Adrian ‘Ockie’ Donovan Page 136

Irie Man Reigns Supreme Brian ‘Irie Man’ Talma Page 160

Team Harrison’s Cave is a Proven Winner Page 162


Foreword by the Hon. Richard Sealy, M.P. Minister of Tourism and International Transport All the evidence shows that this outstanding magazine, Sporting Barbados, has recognized sports as a vital element of the tourism sector, and indeed, the role which it plays now and will continue to play in attracting visitors to our shores. I commend you for highlighting a different aspect of our Sports Tourism product each year. The Government of Barbados has given considerable support to Sports Tourism. We have a long history of excellence in sports as several world-class athletes in many disciplines have placed the island on the sports map of the world. The size of our island and our scarce natural resources have not limited our ability to produce top sports personalities who add value to create a quality tourism product. As Barbados continues to improve its tourism product offering, quality and excellence have become an integral part of our aspirations. We in Barbados pride ourselves in being the best at whatever we do, whether it be cricket, swimming, motor-racing or draughts and as a result of this a number of international events have graced our shores including the SAP 505 World Sailing Championship, the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) and more recently the Top Gear Festival which attracts millions of people from around the world. The Government of Barbados has been fully exploiting sports tourism which has the potential to increase Barbados’ recognition internationally as a prominent tourism destination. We will continue to aggressively promote major world-class sports events in Barbados which showcase Barbados to an unprecedented number of visitors and which persuade the world’s viewing public to come and experience Barbados


for themselves. Once here in Bim visitors are always thrilled by our rich heritage and beautiful land and seascape. I am very pleased that Sporting Barbados is paying tribute to those individuals and agencies who ‘make sports tourism happen”. I join with the magazine in saluting all those who have contributed and continue to contribute to the development of sports tourism. I say a special thank you to our coaches who have made a difference in the lives of our athletes by recognising their talent and encouraging them to achieve excellence by inspiring them. I urge Sporting Barbados to continue to promote sports and in so doing, to bring benefits to Barbados as a tourism destination. Congratulations on your 18th edition. I look forward to contributing to many more editions.

Hon. Richard L. Sealy, M.P. Minister of Tourism and International Transport


Foreword by the Honourable Stephen A. Lashley, M.P. Minister of Culture, Sports and Youth The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Youth is proud to endorse this publication of Sporting Barbados, now in its eighteenth year of existence. I also congratulate the Principals of Sporting Barbados, for having established what has become an invaluable source of information for the Global Sports Community. Barbados continues to be an attractive sporting destination, boasting an incredible sixty-nine sporting disciplines and catering to people ranging from the professional athletes and fitness enthusiasts to amateurs, leisure seekers and fun loving spectators. This diversity was demonstrated during 2014 with Barbados’ hosting of a number of regional and international events in various disciplines. These included the nail-biting Caribbean Premier League Cricket Tournament, the prestigious Top Gear Motor-racing Festival as well as the famous Soccerex Americas Forum. I am particularly pleased that the 2015 edition of Sporting Barbados focuses on those agencies and individuals who are the driving forces behind the delivery of our high quality sports events and the ability to enhance Barbados’ sports tourism profile. Their efficiency and their professionalism confirm to the world our high level of expertise and our immense capacity as a sporting nation. Sporting Barbados presents, in a very dynamic manner, our country's range of sports and leisure assets. In doing so, the publication highlights our four world class golf courses, our polo fields, the newly installed track and field facilities and football astroturfs, a Formula 3 motor-racing circuit, splendid watersports in beautiful weather and competitive ball games ranging from the


traditional ones to our uniquely Barbadian game of road tennis. This appealing package is complemented by our world renowned culinary delicacies, by the many rich cultural festivals and by our UNESCO World Heritage property – Historic Bridgetown and its Garrison of which we are extremely proud. I assure you that during 2015, the Government of Barbados will maintain its strategic thrust of hosting premier sports events, thereby enhancing our sports and entertainment packages and delivering fantastic sporting and holiday experiences to all, including our visiting enthusiasts and fun seekers. As we look forward to welcoming the world to Barbados, I once again congratulate the publishers of Sporting Barbados on highlighting to the world the excitement and the lure of our beautiful island Barbados.

The Honourable Stephen A. Lashley M.P. Minister of Culture, Sports and Youth

beauty in the details.

Global Customer Service | Certified Appraisal | 30 Day Insurance Plan | Follow us on Facebook Member of the Dufry Group, a Swiss company established in 1865 and operating in over 60 countries | #24 BROAD STREET • ALMOND BEACH VILLAGE • CAVE SHEPHERD, BROAD STREET • GRANTLEY ADAMS INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT • HARRISONS, BROAD STREET HILTON BARBADOS RESORT • SANDALS BARBADOS • SUNSET CREST • THE BRIDGETOWN CRUISE TERMINAL • THE CRANE RESIDENTIAL RESORT • VISTA MALL



Sporting Contacts BALL SPORTS CRICKET: BARBADOS CRICKET ASSOCIATION President: Joel Garner CEO: Jefferson Miller Tel: 246 274 1325 Add: Kensington Oval, Fontabelle, St. Michael BASKETBALL: BARBADOS AMATEUR BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION President: Derrick Garrett Tel: 246 2431517 NETBALL: BARBADOS NETBALL ASSOCIATION President Nisha Cummins Tel246 231 4344 (c) FOOTBALL: BARBADOS FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION President: Randolph Harris Tel: 246 228 1707 Bottom Floor, ABC Marble Complex, Fontabelle, St Michael GOLF: BARBADOS GOLF ASSOCIATION President: Cally Boyea Tel: 246 2301945 Secretary: Trenton Weekes Tel: 246 826 3626 RUGBY: BARBADOS RUGBY CLUB President: George Nicholson HOCKEY: BARBADOS HOCKEY FEDERATION INC President: David Rouse Tel: 246 233 Email: Mr David Rouse Mr Kofi Hinds secretary Barbados Ball Hockey League Stevar House, Suite 1 Rockley, Christ Church Barbados WI BB15137


VOLLEYBALL: BARBADOS VOLLEYBALL ASSOCIATION President: John Griffith Tel: 246 231 1848

COMBAT GAMES JUDO: BARBADOS JUDO ASSOCIATION President: Hoskins Caddle President Tel: 246 436 2608 (h) 246 263 7792 (c) TAEKWONDO: TAEKWONDO ASSOCIATION OF BARBADOS Contact: Anthony Williams KARATE: THE BARBADOS KARATE FEDERATION Contact: Joel Linton Tel 246 245 5454 Contact: Paul Bernstein FENCING; THE BARBADOS FENCING CLUB Contact: Jospeh Rodriguez Tel: 246 425 1360 AMATEUR BOXING ASSOCIATION OF BARBADOS Contact: Anthony Jones Tel: 246 258 9833


Tel: 246 2715174 BARBADOS BADMINTON ASSOCIATION Contact: Mr. Kevin Wood (President) / Mr. Mervyn Gordon (Secretary) Telephone: {President} (246) 420-1800(w)/231-7390(c) {Secretary} 437-1305(h)/420-1902(w) Address: P.O. Box 659, Bridgetown, Barbados Email:

TARGET SPORTS ARCHERY President: John Annel Tel: 246 437 9479/429 1998 SHOOTING: BARBADOS RIFLE ASSOCIATION President: Michael Holder Secretary: Brian Hennis Tel: 246 428 0158 Add: PO Box 608, Bridgetown, St. Michael BARBADOS SHOOTING COUNCIL President: Antonio Rudder Tel 246 826 3650 International Practical Shooting Confederation (IPSC) Geoffrey Browne, President Tel 246 262 9984 KENDAL SPORTING Contact: Richard Bradshaw Tel: 246 437 5306 BARBADOS CLAY TARGET SHOOTING ASSOCIATION Contact: Bruce Skeet Tel: 246 231 1691

HEALTH AND FITNESS SURFSIDE WELLNESS GYM Tel: 246 436 1024/ 246 436 5669 Add: Unit 1B, 5 Wildey Industrial Estate, St. Michael

Elegance is an attitude Kate Winslet

Limegrove Lifestyle Centre, Holetown, St. James Tel: 271-8228 Upper Broad Street, Bridgetown Tel: 430-2421/22 Grantley Adams International Airport Tel: 418-2300 800-51-JEWEL •

Conquest Classic


BARBADOS BODY BUILDING AND FITNESS FEDERATION Contact: Shirley Garnes Tel: 246 424 0888 Add: PO Box 383, Bridgetown, St. Michael BARBADOS AMATEUR GYMNASTICS ASSOCIATION President: Jukka Terho Tel: 246 230 2511

Tel: 246 429 7946

GAME FISHING BARBADOS GAME FISHING ASSOCIATION President – Joe Brooker Add: PO Box 80, Bridgetown, St. Michael

YACHTING MIND GAMES DOMINOES: THE NATIONAL DOMINO ASSOCIATION OF BARBADOS President: Rodney Inniss Email Tel 246 232 9704 WARRI Contact: Lee Farnum-Badley Tel: 246 432 1292 BRIDGE Contact: Roglyn Hinds Tel: 246 269 3607 Barbados Chess Federation Contact: Rohan Waithe Tel: 246 269 3607

TRACK AND FIELD AMATEUR ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION OF BARBADOS President: Catherine Jordan Tel: 246 427 4684/ 246 231 1071 Fax: 246 427 2658 BARBADOS OLYMPIC ASSOCIATION Contact: Erskine Simmons Tel: 246 429 1998ß SPECIAL OLYMPICS (BARBADOS) PR Edward Thompson 246 423 0967 BARBADOS FEDERATION OF ISLAND TRIATHLETES President: Peter Gibbs Tel:246 417 4374

SWIMMING BARBADOS AMATEUR SWIMMING ASSOCIATION President: Andrew Kirby Facilities Manager: Andrei Cross


BARBADOS YACHT CLUB Tel: 246 427 1125 Add: Bay Street, Bridgetown, St. Michael BARBADOS SAILING ASSOCIATION Secretary – Penny McIntyre

SURFING BARBADOS SURFING ASSOCIATION President: Christopher Clarke Secretary: Margot Tuach 246 231 0296 BARBADOS JUNIOR SURFING CLUB President: Alan Burke Tel 246 2302456 Email WINDSURFING AND WATER FESTIVAL Contact: Brian Talma Tel: 246 428 6596 BARBADOS KAYAK AND CANOE FEDERATION Contact: Nicholas Neckles Tel: 246 256 3848

CYCLING BARBADOS CYCLING UNION President: Keith Yearwood Tel 246 228 1699 EQUESTRIAN BARBADOS EQUESTRIAN ASSOCIATION President: Monique Archer Tel 246 422 0400

SOME USEFUL TELEPHONE NUMBERS BARBADOS TURF CLUB AT THE GARRISON Tel: 246 426 3980 BARBADOS POLO CLUB AT HOLDER’S HILL Tel: 246 432 1802/ 246 230 1308/4375410 CLIFTON POLO CLUB Tel: 246 433 8800/ 246 826 POLO APES HILL POLO CLUB Tel: 246 432 9550/2623270 LION CASTLE POLO CLUB Tel: 246 427 0022 NATIONAL SPORTS COUNCIL Contact: Ryan Toppin Tel: 246 430 7700 Email NATIONAL STADIUM AT WATERFORD Tel: 246 426 0627


YMCA: Tel: 246 426 3910

Martyn Norsworthy, High Tide Diving Coral Reef Hotel, Holetown, St James Tel 800 970 0016 246 230 2890

YWCA: Tel: 246 425 7308

MOTOR SPORT BARBADOS MOTORING FEDERATION Contact: Andrew Mallalieu Tel: 246 266 3791 BARBADOS RALLY CLUB: SOL RALLY BARBADOS Add: PO Box 71, Bridgetown, St. Michael - Jeanne Crawford BARBADOS AUTO RACING LEAGUE Tel 246 266 2344

BARBADOS TOURISM MARKETING INC Tel: 246 427 2623 UK- Canada- Miami- New York- California- BARBADOS NATIONAL TRUST – HIKE BARBADOS Tel 246 436-9033 Email Barbados Hash House Harriers

SPORTING IMAGES Racing at the Garrison Savannah: Photo: Andre Williams


Limegrove Lifestyle Centre, Holetown, St. James Tel: 271-8228 Lower Broad Street, Bridgetown R West Coast Mall, Holetown, St. James

Grantley Adams International Airport Tel: 430-2400 R 1-800-51-JEWEL

SPORTING IMAGES Rugby at the Barbados Rugby Club Photo: Winston Edghill







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SPORTING IMAGES F1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton at Top Gear Festival Barbados at Bushy Park Circuit: Photo: Gerrard Wilson


SPORTING IMAGES Mount Gay Regatta Photo: Peter Marshall


SPORTING IMAGES Sir Garry Sobers at the Sandy Lane Children’s Trust Golf Tournament


#32 Broad Street, Bridgetown. Tel. (246) 429-7072 Cruise Terminal Bridgetown Port (246) 431-0296 -

SPORTING IMAGES Rob Weir from the UK gets it wrong during Sol Rally Barbados at Mount Misery, St. Thomas: Photo: Gerrard Wilson



The art of island living Since 1887, the historic Crane Resort in Barbados has been famous for the ‘healing powers’ of the spectacular Crane Beach, cool breezes and the surrounding pristine, natural landscape of the island’s South East coast. In more recent times, the resort has been at the forefront of luxury resort living, effortlessly combining unparalleled living spaces with an unmatched lifestyle. Now, an exciting new Crane chapter is about to unfold with the introduction of a new luxurious, residential community – The Crane Private Residences.

scaled natural stone bathrooms with large soaker tubs and glass showers. Residents wake up to a dream, as the grand master bedrooms face the same dramatic views as the living spaces, while the secondary bedrooms welcome in the Uniquely positioned as a gated residential lush tropical internal gardens. community within a gated resort, the master-planned luxury development will Enjoying the best of both worlds, owners consist of five residential buildings, each will become members of The Crane’s housing spacious (1,880 to 3,796 sq. ft.) established luxury resort community two- and three-bedroom apartments. which features an impressive array of Spread over five acres, each building world-class amenities and services that makes an impressive statement with truly perfect the art of island living - four clean architectural lines complementing exciting restaurants including Zen (rated the distinctly Barbadian coral stone finish #1 for food in Barbados by Zagat), two on the lower floors. bars, spectacular cascading pools, day spa, flood-lit tennis courts, fitness Ground floor residences boast large facilities, acres of tropical landscaped private pools, while penthouse residences grounds, a retail shopping village which include private roof decks that command includes an art gallery, ice cream & bakery sweeping coastal views, dining gazebos shop, general store, duty free stores (with and swimming pools. Ideal for long-term more to come) and most importantly, the living, the private residences feature world-famous Crane Beach – easily underground parking from which an accessible by a glass-fronted elevator! elevator transports residents directly to the foyer within their residence. There, The Crane certainly enjoys an first impressions are lasting, as unprecedented abundance of luxury panoramic views form the pièce de amenities and services, but for many, it résistance of the generous, open-plan has become so much more. Naturally living space. attracting like-minded individuals who prize peace, tranquility and natural Bright and expansive, each residence beauty, there is a tangible sense of features large kitchens complete with community that exists among owners, granite countertops and top-of-the-line guests and staff. Ownership in The Crane stainless steel appliances; spacious, Private Residences is a unique private patios perfect for dining, lounging investment that pays dividends in the and entertaining, as well as generously form of an enviably luxurious yet truly


relaxed lifestyle, welcoming smiles and a lifetime of cherished memories. Crane Private Residence owners will also enjoy the peace of mind that comes with the security provided by personally encoded alarm systems; video communication with guests in the lobby; hard-wired addressable smoke detectors; in-residence sprinkler systems and heat detectors; security cameras in select locations and an emergency response key-chain pendant to contact security personnel from the garage. Monthly fees, structured similarly to traditional condominium fees, benefit from The Crane’s economies of scale and its unique vertically integrated approach to property management. An attractive and very well thought out rental management programme allows Owners to enjoy a profitable return on their investment. Introductory pre-construction prices are currently approximately half of comparable luxury ocean front real estate in Barbados. The first phase of The Crane Private Residences has just been released for sale and the response has far exceeded expectations. Prices are expected to increase on a monthly basis. For sales information, contact The Property Sales Office located at Crane Resorts, Crane, St. Philip, Barbados (246) 416-6560

SPORTING ISLAND IN THE SUN In the past we have always highlighted Barbados as a holiday destination and given readers a wide perspective of our history, geography, climate, business, culture, amenities and activities. This year we have taken a different approach and highlighted the island from a sporting and leisure perspective.


Barbados Open Water Festival 2015 “Swim the Bay” Casual conversations between masters’ swimmers, usually après swims, about hosting International Open Water Events in Barbados became a reality in 2013 when the inaugural “Barbados Open Water Festival” was hosted in Carlisle Bay. Since then three events have been successfully hosted, attracting hundreds of swimmers, from recreational to elite and ranging in age from five to eighty three years old. At least fifteen countries have been represented at the event and swimmers with impressive resumes, such as 2010 World Open Water (25km) Champion, Alex Meyer and elite distance

swimmer Erica Moffett have attended. Following the introduction of an open water 10 km race at the 2008 Olympics the popularity of open water swimming has substantially increased and Barbados possesses excellent conditions for such swimming with the favoured location being the historic and magnificent Carlisle Bay. The Bay is a designated Marine Park and in the heart of a UNESCO World Heritage Site: “Historic Bridgetown and its Garrison”. Laurie, visiting from Calgary in 2013, thought the swim was “truly paradise since Canadian open water swimmers usually only experience cold murky water conditions”. In her Club’s newsletter she noted: “Many starfish were easily seen on the white sandy bottom and several sea

turtles were swimming the same loop as the competitors”. A British Swimmer said: “Think, pinch yourself-perfect conditions” and this about sums it up! While the swim races are the focal point of the day (1.5km and 5km), the kayak relay races and the stand up paddling races provided great excitement for spectators and raised funds for Variety: the Children’s Charity. It’s a fun-filled day for competitors and spectators with the races, a beach barbecue, music and wonderful water! Swim the Bay & Barbados Open Water Festival osVacations Twitter: @BarbadosOWSwim


BEACHES AND TRANQUIL TURQUOISE WATERS Everyone identifies Barbados with warm tropical breezes and idyllic beaches so little wonder it is a haven for watersports enthusiasts from all over the world. Surfers capture the limelight because it is said they can surf somewhere around the island any day of the year, but the same could be said for sailors, fishermen, divers and sea swimmers. Surfing has various disciplines with the Soup Bowl on the breezy East Coast the Mecca that attracts these wonderful athletes every day of the year. Minimokes with brightlycoloured surfboards on the roof can be seen heading east across the island from sunrise and then returning in the evening sunset after unforgettable fun and enjoyment in the salty sea spray of a unique part of Barbados.


The surfers can surf all around the island depending on the prevailing conditions, but Soup Bowl offers the most consistent conditions and they are virtually guaranteed. Kitesurfers, windsurfers and paddle surfers tend to congregate on the South Coast where locations like Silver Point are particularly popular. The South Coast offers predictable light breezes, reef protected shallow waters and lovely beaches, which are very accessible to a wide range of South Coast hotels. Beautiful Carlisle Bay overlooking Bridgetown and Port St Charles in the north are the centres of sailing. But Carlisle Bay is much more than the home of Barbados Yacht and Cruising Clubs. It is a vibrant landscape of yachts, sailing boats, cruisers, kayaks, catamarans, divers, and swimmers. It is the hub of

Everyone identifies Barbados with warm tropical breezes and idyllic beaches so little wonder it is a haven for watersports enthusiasts from all over the world


watersports because it offers such a variety of amenities and all beside a magnificent expansive beach. Barbados is renowned for its pristine white beaches, but the tranquil waters of Carlisle Bay and the West Coast are in stark contrast to the bubbling East and South Coasts. The North Coast is rugged, spectacular, difficult to access and largely undeveloped. Barbados is an isolated island on the eastern edge of other Caribbean islands and although the sailors enjoy trips to the Grenadines and beyond, the trek back against the wind is hard going and takes much longer. Sailing up and down the West Coast is a favourite pastime of the recreational sailors, especially on Sundays. The competitive sailors operate from the Yacht Club and depending on


the type of racing either sail around Carlisle Bay or down the South Coast and occasionally around the island as in the Mount Gay Round Island Race in January. Port St Charles is a superb marine development just outside Speightstown and home to many small and large boats. The visionary Port Ferdinand sits nearby and is due to be formally opened in mid2015. Between them they offer the best lifestyle marine developments in the Caribbean. There are several islands that claim to be the diving centres of the region and Barbados has a good case to be one of them. Several boats have been sunk in the shallow waters of Carlisle Bay to provide diving locations and several others along the West Coast are immensely popular within the diving

Port St Charles is a superb marine development just outside Speightstown and home to many small and large boats. The visionary Port Ferdinand sits nearby and is due to be formally opened in mid-2015. Between them they offer the best lifestyle marine developments in the Caribbean.


community. The reefs just off the coastlines are also accessible to snorkelers and provide a lot of fun and excitement with minimal effort and low risk. Swimming is generally safe on the popular South and West Coasts, but can be dangerous on the East Coast unless you are an accomplished surfer. Red flags are used when the conditions are bad, but currents are often active along the coasts and best advice is to stay within your comfort zone. CRICKET LOVELY CRICKET EVERYWHERE If there is one sport that is synonymous with Barbados then it is cricket. Our Cricket Legends are icons of the sport with six of our superstars knighted for their service to the game-Sir Garfield Sobers, Sir Everton Weekes, Sir Frank


Worrell, Sir Clyde Walcott, Sir Wes Hall and Sir Conrad Hunte. Add the names of Gordon Greenidge, Desmond Haynes, Joel Garner, Malcolm Marshall and Charlie Griffith and you can see why this small island has such a special place in the history of the game worldwide. Cricket pitches are all over the island and they vary in shapes and sizes. No village would be complete without a cricket ground and although they may not look pristine when you are driving past in midweek, all that changes before match day as the outfield is trimmed and a good track prepared for the game. Obviously the big senior grounds are treated with more care and attention, but cricket is a game of the people and everyone everywhere enjoys it with a passion. That passion reaches fever pitch when test matches or CPL (Caribbean Premier League) is in town and the population

If there is one sport that is synonymous with Barbados then it is cricket. Our Cricket Legends are icons of the game with six of our superstars knighted for their service to the game-Sir Garfield Sobers, Sir Everton Weekes, Sir Frank Worrell, Sir Clyde Walcott, Sir Wes Hall and Sir Conrad Hunte.


swells with visiting cricket followers. The big matches are played at the Kensington Oval on the outskirts of Bridgetown close to the port. It is one of the finest cricket stadiums in the world and steeped in history. Many visitors include it in their “must see” plans and include a visit to the Cricket Legends of Barbados Museum, which is just outside the main stadium and offers a magnificent array of cricket memorabilia and souvenirs. The University of the West Indies Complex is located two miles from the Kensington Oval and its 3Ws Oval is the island’s second premier ground and lists all the top achievements of Barbados test cricketers down the years in a special commemorative monument. A statue of Sir Garfield Sobers is also situated at the Kensington Oval and both offer excellent photo opportunities for cricket enthusiasts.


Cricket is a big part of the sporting culture of Barbados and it is reflected in many paintings, books and crafts. These works are wonderful cricket gifts to carry home. BEAUTIFUL BEAUTIFUL COUNTRYSIDE Most of the heavily populated areas in Barbados are on the South and West Coasts, but within a few minutes drive from the main roads the whole landscape changes to rural tranquillity. The landscape of inner Barbados was once dominated by sugar canes, but in recent times the decline of King Sugar has altered the traditional picture. That said, sugar production is still very important to the economy and the remaining towering canes swaying in the breeze provide a picturesque backdrop to many sports and leisure activities that take place in the countryside.

Cricket is a big part of the sporting culture of Barbados and it is reflected in many paintings, books and crafts. These works are wonderful cricket gifts to carry home.


Motorsport is huge in Barbados and it is said it now outnumbers cricket as the island’s major spectator sport. There are several popular motorsports, but rallying commands the biggest support and Sol Rally Barbados in May is the biggest event. Preceded by the Scotiabank King of the Hill event Sol Rally Barbados is spread over three days and takes participants and their followers all over the island. The narrow winding roads test a driver’s skills to the limit and provide a bevy of thrills and spills for everyone. All the overseas visitors highlight the beautiful countryside as one of the main reasons they love this event and keep coming back. And it’s also great excitement for over 20,000 spectators as


there are numerous safe viewing points at all the sections. The centre of motor racing is at Bushy Park in the South-East, which is being developed as a modern State-of-the Art racetrack and will be a huge fillip to motorsports when finished. But apart from the vibrant Sol Rally, the countryside is generally peaceful and quiet most of the time and that allows many other more sedate sporting and leisure activities to take place in idyllic conditions. Hikers and bikers love the countryside because there are so many treks and quiet roads to explore and enjoy. You can do it on your own steam or join the local Hash Harriers or a National Trust Walk.

Sol Rally Barbados is spread over three days and takes participants and their followers all over the island. The narrow winding roads test a driver’s skills to the limit and provide a bevy of thrills and spills for everyone.

DON’T MISS THE SHOPPING Everyone shops on holiday. It may be presents for family and friends, it may be a small memento to remind you of a special holiday, it may be groceries or it may be something that catches your eye and can’t be missed. But everyone shops on holiday.


Parliament Buildings, Bridgetown


Fortunately Barbados has a large variety of shopping and most of the merchandise represents great value for money. We all love jewellery and all over the world jewellery shops offer unique and exciting merchandise that you may not find elsewhere. Barbados is no different. We have three very special jewellery shops in Diamonds International, Colombian Emeralds International and the The Royal Shop. They are all located on the Mecca of Barbados shopping - Broad Street, but also have outlets all over the island. You can’t shop for jewellery without seeing it and in many cases without wearing it. Don’t miss the opportunity to indulge and remember duty-free prices don’t make your purchases cheap, they make them great value. Something authentic is always a popular


goal with holidaymakers, something that is Barbadian and can’t be got anywhere else. We have many shops that offer local craft, paintings and pottery but for easy shopping and a wide selection you can’t beat Cave Shepherd. The Flagship store is on Broad Street and it’s Barbados’ only department store with everything from perfume and make-up to designer clothes at Broad St Mens and Womens Designer Wear on the bottom floor. There are also branches islandwide including Sunset Crest and Worthing. The Best of Barbados shops are just what they say – the best shops offering a huge range of useful and innovative souvenir products and some very special original art from the gifted Jill Walker and daughter Sue and granddaughter Holly. A visit to one of these stores is a must. Big favourites are the placemats, trays and

Fortunately Barbados has a large variety of shopping and most of the merchandise represents great value for money. We all love jewellery and all over the jewellery shops offer unique and exciting merchandise that you may not find elsewhere.


tea towels with everything from flowers and images of the island to glorious turtles. If you’re into pottery then don’t miss a trip to Edgehill in St Thomas to Earthwork’s Pottery. There’s a family culture to this magical place as owner David Speiller learned the craft from his talented mother Goldie and all their works are original, unique, colourful and beautiful. Little wonder they adorn so many local homes and have been carried all over the world. Don’t worry about carriage if your purchase doesn’t fit into your luggage as they can ship it anywhere. Barbados’s newest shopping hotspot is the glitzy Limegrove Lifestyle Centre in the heart of Holetown and the Platinum

Jill Walker at work


West Coast. With feature stores like Polo Ralph Lauren and Cartier selling the best in clothing and jewellery, Limegrove attracts many rich and famous shoppers. The trendy complex features a number of quiet courtyards and squares, close to the bustling restaurants and coffee havens. Relish is a big favourite and an enjoyable place to rest from the rigours of a hectic shopping schedule. Give yourself plenty of time to explore Limegrove as you will find an amazing variety of lovely merchandise. Everyone shops on holiday and sometimes the shopping is at the Supermarket for groceries or simply for much-needed essentials like wine. Massy Stores are the best on the island and more likely to stock the items you get at

The Best of Barbados shops are just what they say – the best shops offering a huge range of useful and innovative souvenir products and some very special original art from the gifted Jill Walker and daughter Sue and granddaughter Holly.


home. They may be a little more expensive, but remember they had to get here and if price is a big factor then shop local. Barbados produces a wealth of local vegetables and fruit at greatly reduced prices compared to imports. There’s no better name for a wine shop than the Grapevine. The Grapevine offers an extensive range of wines from all over the world and have outlets at Sunset Crest and Warrens. For an Aladdin’s Cave and treasure trove of furnishings and accessories then visit Natz just off the Warren’s Roundabout on the ABC Highway. This is where you will find that unique piece for your home as Natz travels far and wide to bring innovative and unusual items to her store.


Harley Davidson is not unique to Barbados as the merchandise enjoys international fame, but you can’t walk past a Harley Davidson shop without stirring some inner passion. The range of products is wide and of course that Harley Davidson brand is worth its weight in gold. And if you don’t get to one of their shops around the island you can still purchase at the airport. The Legends of Barbados souvenir shop beside the Kensington Oval is a must for cricket lovers and their shop at the airport is perhaps the last shopping opportunity before you board the plane and head back home. Don’t miss it or you won’t sleep easily on the plane!

For an Aladdin’s Cave and treasure trove of furnishings and accessories then visit Natz (below)

PLENTY TO DO! For many people the biggest bummer on a holiday is nothing to do. That might mean nothing to see or nothing to participate in, but when it comes to Barbados it won’t be a problem. We have outstanding scenery and places to visit, but for those visitors who enjoy plenty of action then we have loads of activities.


Brian ‘Irie Man’ Talma


Perhaps it’s not surprising that many of our activities revolve around the sea. After all, we have pristine beaches and a great variety of coastlines that can be calm or rough depending on the weather or time of the year. We also have reefs close to the shoreline and that are great for snorkelling and diving opportunities. Hightide offers great diving packages for both the rookie diver and the experienced diver with some interesting accessible wrecks close to the shore. Alan Burke’s Surf School will teach you how to surf and if you are a little more ambitious then “Irie Man” Brian Talma offers a wide range of classes covering kitesurfing, windsurfing, paddle surfing (SUP) and just about anything on the water at Silver Sands Beach. If fishing is your passion then High Seas Fishing and Billfisher III Deepsea Fishing Charters offer charter-fishing trips that are unforgettable experiences, especially if the catch is good. There’s also the

added bonus of spotting a whale as these great mammals are now making more appearances around our coastline. Trips around the island are always great fun and a wide variety of options are available from taxis, coaches and fourwheel safaris. Island Safari tops the list with journeys into inner Barbados and friendly guides to explain and enlighten the inquisitive visitor. Guests are picked up and delivered back to their hotels and the six-hour trip in comfortable open-air jeeps includes lunch and some breathtaking views all over the island. If you fancy the more sedate, air-conditioned option then Suntours is just the thing for you. If you have a group they can tailor a package to suit your needs or if it’s just transport from one point to another, they are perfect! You can also catch views from the air if you enjoy the thrill of para sailing. Falcon Para Sailing gives you a bird’s-eye view of the beautiful West Coast and the

Brian Talma

“Irie Man” Brian Talma offers a wide range of classes covering kitesurfing, windsurfing, paddle surfing (SUP) and just about anything on the water at Silver Sands Beach.

Chelsea Roett



opportunity to see some magnificent homes and hotels from a unique angle. Another way to enjoy the popular West Coast is by water on one of the popular Jolly Roger party cruises or a more leisurely catamaran cruise with the chance to swim with the turtles. Believe it or not the turtles love tourists and gather in numbers at the popular stops every day where they are guaranteed top class meals of fresh fish for playing their part in promoting Barbados sports tourism. Tiami Catamaran cruises are great fun with friendly crews and good hospitality. Visitors often say if you have to make one choice then a local cruise should be at the top of the list. Flower Forest offers an interesting insight into our horticultural assets and

Harrison’s Cave takes you down 160 feet below the surface to the wonderful world of stalagnites, stalagmites, waterfalls, sunken lakes and amazing caverns. The whole Harrison’s Cave experience is userfriendly with a lift down to the ground level and trams through the cave. There is also a café and a range of excellent art, craft and gift shops in a lush tropical setting. If the quiet reflective atmosphere of a museum is your passion then the Barbados Museum at the Garrison, the Legends of Barbados Cricket Museum at Fontabelle, the Jewish Museum in Bridgetown, and a wide variety of old churches like St. John’s and St. Michael’s Cathedral are enthralling experiences. There is also George Washington House,

Billfisher III

Another way to enjoy the popular West Coast is by water on one of the popular Jolly Roger party cruises or a more leisurely catamaran cruise with the chance to swim with the turtles.

Jolly Roger



beautifully restored and an integral part of the island’s famous World Heritage Site at the Garrison. Steeped in history big plans are in the making to enhance this famous military and sporting area including opening up the tunnels below the race course once used by soldiers hundreds of years ago. The Concorde Experience is NOT to be missed if you’re an aviation fan. These sleek beautiful planes flew in to Barbados regularly and BA kindly gave one to the island when, sadly, they were retired. You can view it in a magnificent settling close to the airport and relive the days when we

could cross the atlantic in 4 hours! Nightlife is a matter of choice, and it comes in all shapes and sizes in Barbados. The once famous South Coast nightlife hub at St. Lawrence Gap is fighting back, but for the young partygoers and visitors who enjoy a cultural dinner show Harbour Lights has maintained its high standards for decades and remains the most popular nightspot on the island. Take in their Beach party floorshow on Monday or Wednesday nights and see the green monkeys, Stilt walkers and local musicians perform some great acts.

Harrison’s Cave

The Concorde Experience is NOT to be missed if you’re an aviation fan. These sleek beautiful planes flew in to Barbados regularly and BA kindly gave one to the island when, sadly, they were retired.

The Concorde Experience



For those who prefer the quiet and romantic setting of a lovely restaurant then the choice is mind-boggling. Barbados has a wide range of great restaurants and at tariffs that will suit any pocket. We can’t list them all, but dining out in Barbados would not be complete if it didn’t include Champers on the South Coast, the wonderful Indian cuisine of Apsara in St Lawrence Gap, the amazing Waterfront Café in the Careenage, and Daphne’s and the Lone Star on the West Coast with magnificent beach front settings. For value for money the Stream beside the Graham Hall Sanctuary before the entrance to St. Lawrence Gap is the new 39 Steps, while Chefette has no equal when it comes to quality fast food in numerous locations islandwide. It’s a big


favourite with both locals and visiting families, not least because all the Chefette Restaurants have modern safe and secure play areas for the kids. Nothing to do in Barbados-you can’t be serious?

Chefette has no equal when it comes to quality fast food in numerous locations islandwide.





The news that England will play one of their three tests on their 2015 Caribbean tour in Barbados in May was greeted with elation throughout the island as no visiting team arouses as much excitement as the Brits. And it’s not just the cricket on the field that stirs the passion, but the prospect of sharing the occasion with thousands of England supporters that love Barbados, including of course, the Barmy Army. No test nation has a travelling support to match this mighty troop of partisans and nowhere do they receive as warm a welcome as at the Kensington Oval. Test matches between the West Indies and England at the Kensington Oval are very special, not least because full houses are guaranteed and the presence of so many visiting supporters creates a unique atmosphere almost akin to a test match in England. The travelling support will also be a huge boost to a sagging tourism industry, which has stuttered in


recent times due to global economic meltdown so hotels, villas, guesthouses, restaurants, rum shops, nightclubs, attractions and activities will all benefit. Barbados has a special relationship with the old mother country and despite the island’s emergence as a progressive young nation since independence in 1966 many British relics remain in place names and culture that preserve the heritage. That’s why the visiting England supporters love the island and why so many will return in 2015. Many visitors bring their families and some clubs organize tours around the test match to make it a special cricket holiday. Barbados is renowned for club tours throughout the year and local clubs are great hosts off the field, but daunting opponents on it. There is always a big demand for tour matches around test match time so clubs coming to the island should plan early or they might not get any fixtures. After all, much of everyday

life stops when test cricket hits Bridgetown and although the support for an ailing West Indies team has sagged in recent years, there’ll be plenty of interest in the matches against England. Visitors who have not been to the Kensington Oval for some time will see a lot of change. The ground was completely transformed for the 2007 World Cup and in addition to new modern stands the playing area was shaped in a proper oval. Long gone are the famous old dilapidated wooden stands although the household names remain on the modern stadia. Also, long gone is the old Pickwick pavilion that served Barbados and West Indies cricket with such distinction for over 100 years and which welcomed all the cricketing greats from all over the world. In its place a massive edifice stands embracing the 3 Ws name and a plethora of hospitality boxes, bars, fast food outlets, souvenir shop and offices. Outside the ground the Sir Garfield

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Sobers statue is the most photographed monument on the island and just around the corner the Legends of Barbados have their museum and after-match bar. The museum is packed with cricket memorabilia and a must-visit attraction for cricket lovers, but perhaps not on match days when is it sure to be packed. The bar and dance hall at the back of the museum is now a favourite haunt for post-match drinks and deliberations with a good chance to meet some of the famous Barbadian cricketers who made West Indies cricket great. Many of the former test players mingle freely with the fans and are always willing to sign autographs and pose for photos. They are great ambassadors of West Indies and Barbados cricket and every genuine cricket lover should support their branded merchandise and museum.


In the old days the narrow lane outside the Pickwick pavilion was where hoards of cricket fans used to congregate before and after the match and at the intervals for a beer, a rum, a fish cutter, chicken, burger, fish cakes or whatever, as the range of cuisine and merchandise at the stalls was wide. The façade has dramatically changed and all the outside stalls have disappeared, but inside the ground below the Greenidge and Haynes Stand a new melting-pot has been created with just as many fast-food outlets, souvenir shops, and bars. This is the new hotbed of action on match days and where people come to be seen and be heard! Inside the stadium all the famous old names remain, but it is a much different picture than ten years ago. A huge electronic scoreboard dominates the

skyline close to the party stand area where just about anything goes during the course of a day’s play. The towering media centre is located opposite the main 3 Ws stand and the entertainment off the field is orchestrated by the inimitable MacFingall and his motley entourage of musicians, entertainers and party animals, all intent on having a great time. Yes, the Kensington Oval has changed in the last decade, but many of its traditions remain and with England on the field we can be guaranteed it will be a colourful and unique occasion. The cricket may be serious, but Bajans enjoy their national sport win or lose and they always give visiting fans and their team a tremendous welcome.






In a thrilling final badly affected by rain at the Warner Stadium in Basseterre last August the Barbados Tridents clinched their first Limacol CPL title at the second attempt. The nature of the victory was a little disappointing because the match was still in the balance when a heavy deluge chased the players off the pitch and the Duckworth-Lewis Method was brought into play. Unfortunately no further play was possible and since Barbados held a slight advantage they were crowned the winners. The Guyanese Warriors were aghast, but many neutrals felt they were chasing at the time and had their destiny in their own hands. The Tridents made the final because they finished top of the league section so


they thoroughly deserved their success despite the circumstances. They also batted and bowled well against the favourites and although the rain greatly assisted at the end, it highlighted the uncertainty and unpredictability of the Twenty20 circus. In the passage of time it probably doesn’t matter who wins a Twenty20 cricket tournament because the thrills and spills are spontaneous and quickly forgotten as another match and another set of thrills and spills takes its place. That’s not to say bragging rights are not important, but the Limacol Caribbean Premier League (CPL) is very different from regional cricket where players are nationals and selected to represent their

In a thrilling final badly affected by rain at the Warner Stadium in Basseterre last August the Barbados Tridents clinched their first Limacol CPL title at the second attempt.


country as the CPL teams are based on a franchise and include players from other Caribbean islands and overseas. And while the teams carry the country name it has an additional name to separate it from the traditional identification. Hence Barbados Tridents and Trinidad and Tobago Red Steel are not strictly Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago, but their CPL equivalent. That said, the passion for the ‘home’ team remains a huge part of CPL culture, which has made a massive impact in its first two years. And while local fans may find it strange seeing their local stars in the opposition it adds an extra edge to the competition and makes CPL different. It also ensures matches are highlycharged with not only prize money at stake, but personal bragging rights amongst the players. Who will argue that


fast bowlers Fidel Edwards and Tino Best don’t raise their game when playing against the Barbados Tridents at the Kensington Oval and don’t the fans love these personal duels? The CPL cricket circus created a great buzz of excitement when it was in town and Tridents skipper Kieron Pollard made the most of local support. Understandably the crowds were lighter on working weekdays, but the Saturday game was played before a packed Kensington Oval. And the excitement wasn’t just on the field as local calypsonian MacFingall and his motley band of nomadic musicians kept the crowd entertained and enthralled. Everyone benefitted as the crowd included many tourists, some of whom had planned their holidays around the Barbados CPL games. CPL cricket is

spread over a month and involves 20 plus matches all over the region and that means the momentum drops when the circus leaves town and television takes over. The television coverage has been excellent although someone at CBC obviously doesn’t see it as a high priority as Lotto draws and local news take precedence irrespective of the stage reached in an CPL game. Does anybody at CBC ever think about this? The biggest difference between CPL and conventional cricket is that Twenty20 cricket is in vogue and the game of the hour because its global appeal in the past few years has been phenomenal. Fuelled by the success of the IPL (Indian Premier League) with its huge cash incentives and television coverage, this form of cricket is fast and exciting and consequently many


new fans have been attracted to it. The Twenty20 game does not sit comfortably beside traditional cricket, but the latter has been sagging for years and the fastfood edition has rescued cricket’s image and boosted attendances beyond all expectations. The players and commentators were easily won over because of the huge money involved, but it is the fans that create the atmosphere and therein lies the dilemma for CPL chiefs. In its first year the semi-finals and final were played in cricket-mad Trinidad, but last year the St. Kitts Government bought the rights to stage the final games and the big venues and thousands of fans lost out. Also, the timing of many of the games had to be scheduled to accommodate UK television and this meant earlier starts in some matches and inevitably reduced attendances, as people have to work on weekdays, especially in these challenging economic times. This seriously affected the crowds and while the organizers will claim the CPL is a business and is largely controlled by revenue generation the competition


suffered and did not go from strength to strength after an amazing inaugural year. Hopefully the promoters will take cognizance and make the tweaks necessary to get it back on track, as this is a format that is ideally suited to calypso cricket. However, fans want to share in the enjoyment and sponsors want to see stadiums filled to promote their product. Television has its place in all sport, but televising matches with half-empty stadiums is a bummer anywhere. The Kensington Oval, Sabina Park and Queen’s Park Oval are the biggest and most famous grounds in the Caribbean and the venues that attract the largest crowds. It is great to see CPL involve the smaller islands, but it comes at a cost to the integrity of the competition and may ultimately harm it. That doesn’t need to happen if the right cricket decisions are made. Sport and business have to live with each other and CPL will continue to prosper if both parties understand and appreciate each other’s position. After all, nobody wins if we kill the goose that lays the golden egg!

The Kensington Oval, Sabina Park and Queen’s Park Oval are the biggest and most famous grounds in the Caribbean and the venues that attract the largest crowds.


Living The Dream franklyn stevenson

You never forget a meeting with former cricket superstar Franklyn Stephenson. He’s a big man with a warm outgoing personality and a smile to melt any face. However, opposing batsmen in the 1980s may not have seen the friendly side of Franklyn’s personality when he hurled down deliveries in all directions at over 90mph. He was a fiery fast bowler and prolific batsman who loved to strike the ball, but for all his aggression and combative exploits on the field, he was a gentle giant off it. Not much has changed in that respect 20 years later, but all of his sporting passion and endeavour these days is channelled into his Cricket Academy and his work as golf professional at the prestigious Sandy Lane Golf Resort. In both roles he makes a significant contribution to sports tourism in Barbados as many of the golfers at Sandy Lane are visitors and have greatly benefitted from Franklyn’s tuition over the years. The Franklyn Stephenson Cricket Academy is a little different and the culmination of a dream the former world-class all-rounder has held for many years; “ In a way I’m living my dream as I always


wanted to set up a Cricket Academy on my home island, but there were many challenges and to have finally got it up and running in the last couple of years has been very rewarding. I’m very community minded and have always seen sport as something that transcends politics, race, religion and everything else in life. I’m therefore as delighted to welcome teams and players from overseas as I am from the various communities in Barbados and it never ceases to amaze me how they interact so well with each other in playing the game which has brought me so much fun and enjoyment over the years.” Fun and enjoyment certainly formed a big part of Franklyn Stephenson’s sporting career, but there was also a controversial side for the player many regard as the best Barbadian cricketer never to play for the West Indies. That Franklyn Stephenson never played a test match is one of the great travesties in West Indies cricket because it had nothing to do with his ability. Even in an era that was rich in Caribbean talent he was up there with the superstars and marked his debut for Barbados as a night-watchman in St. Kitts with a magnificent 165. It should have been the platform for a sparkling test career, but he was somersaulted into cricketing folklore for all the wrong reasons after he opted to tour South Africa at the height of the apartheid ban in 1982. The apartheid ban removed South Africa from international sport and was a controversial issue that split world opinion. Many people believed sport should not have been involved while others felt it should be included as it would lead to changes in a country that loved sport and its global image as a top cricket and rugby nation. The infamous

rebel tours of the 1980s brought the issue to the forefront of world opinion and while the players were understandably motivated by economic as much as humane reasons their involvement had serious repercussions. For Franklyn there remains a bitter-sweet taste that will never disappear; “I’ve been asked many times about my decision to tour South Africa and I’ve always said I have no regrets. I felt sport could make a difference and it did. When we first went the political landscape was very straightforward down colour lines, but gradually we won respect as sportsmen and ultimately as people because of the way we carried ourselves. Back home the Caribbean was divided, and as cricketers we suffered the consequences, but history has shown we played a part in changing the politics of South Africa. That was a huge thing although I didn’t know it at the time, but unfortunately my international cricket career was over at 23.” The whole experience had a profound effect on Franklyn Stephenson and while he once harboured political ambitions, he now channels his energy into community work with his cricket academy. And what a wonderful role model for any aspiring young cricketer or visitor. Franklyn played for West Indies Under 19, then three English counties, Orange Free State and Tasmania, Barbados and of course the West Indies Rebel Tour teams. He hit many significant milestones, but his 1988 season with Notts was very special as he scored over 1,000 runs and took over 100 wickets, the last player to achieve this feat. In the final match against Yorkshire he scored a century in both innings and took 10 wickets and in 1989 he was named a Wisden Cricketer of the Year. He was the top all-rounder again on 1994

playing for Sussex and in his 1st Class career he scored 8,622 runs including 12 centuries. His 792 wickets included ten in a match on ten occasions and 44 fivewickets in an innings feats. Judged by any standards he will always be remembered as an outstanding player, although West Indies cricket never got the rewards his career should have produced as most of his playing records were achieved overseas. The Franklyn Stephenson Cricket Academy is located at Cockade Estate a stone’s throw from the Green Monkey Golf Course at Sandy Lane and a short distance from Franklyn’s home. It is an idyllic setting with 1st Class practice and training facilities and a compact picturesque ground ideal for touring

teams or visiting teams looking for specialised coaching. Four English counties have already used the facilities and the West Indies test team has held training camps at the complex. The Academy is very active with coaching and training sessions and summer camps that cater for all age groups. Franklyn’s work as a coach is supplemented by a small group of specialist coaches and his wife Julia who has been loyally at his side in a wide variety of roles through ‘thick and thin. The Academy is a wonderful advertisement for cricket development, and for Franklyn Stephenson, who is living his dream. He is a great advertisement for sports tourism in Barbados.

GOLF FOR EVERYONE If golf is now accepted as the largest growing sport in the world then it is largely because the sport has reached out to a wider player base than its traditional roots.


Apes Hill


The big growth areas in golf over the last two decades have been in attracting more female players and in promoting participation across the whole spectrum of age groups. Long gone are the days when young players were restricted in playing at clubs and long gone are the days when the older players bowed to ageing limbs and ailments and packed away their clubs in their twilight years. We live in an era where more emphasis is placed on health and fitness and that means golfers don’t age as quickly as they used to do. This has created a huge resurgence in participation amongst the seniors in our society and also opened new horizons as cheaper travel and more accessibility to golf resorts has brought a new dimension to holiday golf. Also, many more couples now play golf and they involve their nearest and dearest. Golf is now a recognized family sport and thrown away the old culture where Dad used to head off for five hours to play with his mates. These days golf clubs

Sandy Lane Old Course


are much more family-oriented and receptive to everyone, young and old, male and female, and of great significance-visitors! Many golf clubs are facing challenging times due to world recession and green fees from visitors forms a big part of revenue on the Annual Balance Sheet. And for golf resorts they are the lifeblood of the business model. The global explosion in golf development has produced magnificent golf resorts all over the world and marketing destinations for golf holidays or holidays with golf attached has been a major growth area in international sports tourism promotions. The importance of the niche has not been lost on Caribbean business people and all over the region excellent golf resorts have been added to the local tourism inventory. Barbados is no exception, but many hotels have been slow to seize the business opportunity and tend to be reactive rather than proactive in marketing golf packages.

There’s business out there, but you can’t sit back and expect it to fall on your lap and if the marketing personnel don’t know about it then they aren’t doing their job. Thankfully the golf resorts haven’t missed the opportunity and the big Barbados golf resorts at Apes Hill, Royal Westmoreland and Sandy Lane all offer accommodation packages with their golf product. DIFFERENT STROKES FOR DIFFERENT FOLKS Barbados has five 18-hole courses and two 9-hole courses and each has its own attraction. Playing golf on the island is relatively straightforward and although some restrictions apply to tee times, it’s not too difficult to play any of the courses if you are prepared to be flexible and pay the tariff required. And therein lies the dilemma as playing at the exclusive resorts is not cheap. But this is not a cheap holiday destination and like everything else in Barbados the costs are

high in comparison to budget destinations. If price is a consideration then the magnificent Green Monkey Course at Sandy Lane is unlikely to be in most people’s budget, but for those who can afford to play anywhere it is a wonderful golf experience. At the other end of the scale both the Barbados Golf Club and Rockley Golf Club offer budget packages that are within the financial reach of every golfer. It pays to shop around these days and although Apes Hill is a superb high-end golf resort the club has excellent offers to both guests at their villas and visitors outside the peak Christmas period. At the end of the day it’s different strokes for different folks and that’s not just related to cost. Other considerations such as location, length of course, difficulty of course, Pro Shop and clubhouse facilities are just as important to some golfers. All of the high-end golf resorts are on the West Coast and within easy access to all the major hotels and rented villas.

Driving to them from the South Coast takes around 30-40 minutes depending on traffic, and getting to them from most West Coast hotels takes 5-10 minutes. WHO’S WHO IN BARBADOS GOLF In the league of opulence the Sandy Lane Resort offers just about everything for the discerning golfer. You can stay at the magnificent Sandy Lane Hotel and be treated like royalty on and off the course. The golf resort is a few minutes drive inland from the hotel and offers two fine 18-hole championship courses and the Old Nine, a charming remnant of the former course close to the hotel and a big favourite with long-term returning visitors. Everything about Sandy Lane is at the top end of the market. The course is superbly manicured, it has first-rate practice facilities, golf lessons are available, the carts are High-Tec and can accommodate food orders, the drinks cart is regular, and the changing rooms would match any 1st Class hotel. In

addition, the Pro Shop is well stocked with quality merchandise, the clubhouse is spacious and relaxing with a wonderful panoramic view of the West Coast, the staff are intelligent and friendly and the bar/restaurant is excellent. It may come at a price, but it’s the complete package. The Royal Westmoreland Resort is a gated community with restricted tee times for visitors, but excellent packages for guests at their rented villas. The golf facilities are superb with a challenging 18hole course and a fine driving range, practice green and bunker practice facility. The views down the West Coast are stunning, especially from the airy spacious clubhouse which houses the Pro Shop, retail shops, real estate sales, bar and restaurant. Apes Hill is the coming resort as every year something more is added and the golf experience is enhanced. The clubhouse is temporary, but it would satisfy most mortals although the changing facilities, Pro Shop, bar and


Rockley Golf Club

restaurant are small. Some people like it that way, but a magnificent new clubhouse is under construction and this will transform the Apes Hill experience and add another amenity to their superb golf course and various other sporting amenities. The Barbados Golf Club is located a few minutes drive from the Grantley Adams International Airport and within easy reach of all locations because it is situated close to the ABC Highway. The club doesn’t offer high-end facilities, but it doesn’t charge high-end prices either and as a result it is more akin to a traditional golf club than a golf resort. The course is a good standard and the clubhouse facilities are more than adequate with Pro-Shop, changing accommodation, bar and restaurant. Golf lessons are available and there is an excellent driving range on the course to fine-tune or improve skills. The club is a hive of activity on Saturdays, which is the main competition day, although a number of groups play during the week in regular “Pot” competitions with a few hours socializing to follow. The minnow in Barbados golf is the Rockley Golf Club, which is a few minutes


drive from the main South Coast Road and within easy reach of all the popular hotels. Rockley is a charming 9-hole parkland course nestled amongst a few hundred condominiums and towering trees, but flat, testing and enjoyable. The club’s reputation has been built on having the best 19th hole in Barbados golf and it is run along traditional golf lines with Men’s’ and Ladies Captains, Club Committee, weekly competitions and clubhouse presentations after every event. Birdies on the Green Bar/Restaurant offers good cuisine and drinks at reasonable prices and the clubhouse also has a small Pro Shop, changing accommodation, sports shop, real estate office and excellent hairdresser. Golf lessons are also available. Many of the sponsored competitions on Saturday are followed by entertainment and the membership doubles in the tourist season when the Snowbirds return from overseas. Some have been coming to Rockley for years and stay as long as six months and take a leading role in the club’s activities. Visitors are always made welcome at Rockley and can compete in the weekly competitions.

THE GOLF TEST For the golf connoisseur the only thing that matters is the quality of the course and in that respect the high-end courses are the jewels in the Barbados golf crown. It would take a genius to define which course is best, as each individual will have there own preference and the only way to compare is to play them all. Apes Hill is the most recent addition to the Barbados golf product and it is very special. Set in the hills above Westmoreland it offers panoramic views of both the West and the East Coasts at its highest point and its design makes maximum use of the natural terrain without damaging it. Conservation is a big part of the Apes Hill culture and why the course has received international awards for its preservation of wildlife, water and environment. The course is over 7,000 yards long at it stiffest and when the wind blows it can be a daunting challenge. Set amongst spacious lots, most of the properties have yet to be built so the landscape will change dramatically over time. The skill in playing Apes Hill is positioning the tee shot to make access to the green straightforward as wayward tee shots can


Barbados Golf Club

be swallowed up by the heavy vegetation or make it impossible to see the green from an obscure angle. The greens are also a severe test as they undulating, large and difficult to read with many breaks and twists. Several holes at the top of the course are particularly difficult off the back tees and although the views are breathtaking, accuracy off the tee and with the approach shot is a must. The par-three 12th into the heart of a gully is a magnificent golf amphitheatre, but both the 13th and 14th are just as spectacular as they require precision shots from tee to green through gullies, towering palms trees and rock faces. The fun hole is the last, which usually has the support of a backing wind and allows the big hitters the opportunity to flex their muscles and blast the ball down a generously wide fairway, something of a luxury on the rest of the course. Renowned golf architect Tom Fazio designed the two 18-hole Sandy Lane courses, which have different characteristics, but similar resort golf features. They are both excellent courses and can be set up for maximum difficulty or user friendly for all standards of golfer. The Country Club Course hosted the 2006 World Championship Matchplay


Tournament won by Germans Bernard Langer and Marcel Siem. It’s a pleasant parkland course with spacious wellmanicured fairways and fast testing greens. The biggest variable is the wind, especially at the top of the course where shots with the wind can be just as challenging as those against it. Fazio utilized nine holes of the old Sandy Lane course in his design and as a result had the benefit of mature trees and established fairways, but he blended his new design beautifully and there are some spectacular holes including the parthree finishing hole across an idyllic little lake in front of the elevated clubhouse. The Green Monkey Course is a quarry design and lightly used so everything is pristine, squeaky clean and picturesque. The signature holes around the lake are particularly enjoyable, not least because the view down to the West Coast is a magnificent vista and a huge distraction to the casual golfer. The rolling hills of Royal Westmoreland have been skilfully sculptured by American golf architect Robert Trent Jones (Jnr) to produce a superb 18-hole championship course that has tested such golf luminaries as Sir Nick Faldo, Ian Woosnam and Tom Leeman, plus a

host of seniors when they held annual tournaments on the elevated site several years ago. The course can be set up tough or user-friendly, but at its stiffest it can be daunting, especially if the wind blows. The complex has matured over the years and the adjoining luxury villas are not a golf factor, although they add to the ambience of a lovely setting. The par-thee holes are gems and make maximum use of the gullies, lakes and rock faces that put Royal Westmoreland amongst the best courses in the Caribbean. The parfour finishing hole is a great finale with the elevated tee-box affording a spectacular view. The final tee shot needs to be carefully threaded down a narrow descending fairway lined and protected by gully and thick vegetation. The approach shot to the narrow green has to be accurate with danger all around, but a par four on the card is the ultimate reward. The Barbados Golf Club course at Durants is spacious and generous for the wayward hitters. The strong wind makes the holes back to the clubhouse challenging, but downwind the par-five opening hole is a great birdie opportunity and an accurate tee shot down the parfour 3rd can get the ball close to the green. Overall the course is fair and a


Royal Westmoreland

good test of golf with some tricky shots around the man-made lake, which borders the 5th, 15th and 16th holes. The beauty about this course is that it suits all standards of golfer and it is comfortable to play because it is flat and open. The par-five 18th to the clubhouse is a great finishing hole and tempting for big hitters trying to close with a birdie. Many people have done it and eagles too, but the protective little picturesque lake in front of the green is full of golf balls belonging to those players who didn’t quite make it. The tight little Rockley 9-hole course is vastly different to the old Nine at Sandy Lane. Playing Rockley requires a lot of accuracy off the tee and excellent golf management skills. There is out-ofbounds on every hole and although the course is relatively small at just under 3,000 yards each nine, the tight fairways and well-protected greens ensure nobody takes it apart. Rockley is a parkland course with condominiums, towering mahogany trees, bamboos and monkeys lining the fairways. The 7th hole has a huge tree in the centre of the fairway and the 8th hole has a large tree in front of the green making approach shots to both very daunting. Several holes are short


par-fours, but more often than not the temptation to hit big rather than strategically manage the approach shot will prove the downfall for the over aggressive golfer. Rockley is a pleasant little course where you can get round quickly and enjoy either nine or 18 holes in a relaxed and peaceful setting. The Old Nine at Sandy Lane is long and challenging, but a superb design and a great favourite with many local and visiting golfers. The par-five 3rd is a long grind where three good shots are needed to reach the green and the signature parthree 7th from an elevated tee box is an easy shot, but an exhilarating hole because of the setting. The 9th hole parfive requires accuracy, not distance, and the opportunity to finish with an easy par or birdie before reaching the clubhouse or starting another nine. THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT BARBADOS GOLF The Barbados Golf Association is the central body for golf on the island and is largely responsible for organizing local tournaments, championship tournaments, youth development and representative teams. Many members of

clubs are also BGA members and golfers who have no official handicaps at a club can get one through the BGA, which is affiliated to the USPGA. There are a number of major sponsored golf tournaments and national events held throughout the year and many overseas visitors travel to compete. The Sir Garry Sobers Tournament is the biggest event and an open tournament played over four days at different courses and involving almost 300 players. The entry package offers great value, excellent prizes and hospitality, but it is heavily subscribed and as a result play can be slow. Some players also have the bonus of playing with the great man, still an avid golfer and popular figure in local sport. Look for the deals in Barbados golf and contact the clubs direct to see what offers are available as there are many promotions to attract players, especially outside the busy winter tourist season.


Hotel Team with a Difference Bougainvillea Beach Resort

Most hotels in Barbados have a good awareness of sports tourism and its importance within the tourism industry, but few live it with the passion of the Bougainvillea Beach Resort staff. From the family of Chairman Gordon Seale to virtually every member of the team there is a sporting interest. With present and former Barbados national players in Rugby, Volleyball, Hockey and Football along with several active club cricketers amongst their staff, there is a clear indication that these people don’t just talk the talk. Not surprisingly, the hotel’s cricket team, has enjoyed considerable success in past tournaments under the captaincy of Financial Controller, Mark Estwick and with star all-rounder, Jamal Phillips from their In-room Maintenance Team. The Bougainvillea Beach Resort on the South Coast has an idyllic beachfront setting, beautiful landscaped gardens, waterfalls, pergolas, sunken pools, pool bar, two restaurants et al. Little wonder it has been a popular destination for weddings and special celebrations for years. The staff is very efficient and ultra friendly, but just as important are the amenities that make it different and for sports and leisure lovers they are very


special. We live in an era where the discerning Caribbean hotel guest looks for much more than the traditional idyllic location, good room, friendly staff, relaxing bar and good food. They want added value and for the Bougainvillea guest that means a lot of sporting and leisure options. They start at the beach with kayaks, paddle boards, boogie boards and for a small tariff a romantic trip on the resident Hobie Cat with Corey. There’s also a permanent net if you can cajole a few others to join in a game of beach volleyball. The beauty about the Caribbean is that so much happens outside under a beautiful blue sky, which is great for a game of tennis, shuffleboard or giant chess, but there is also airconditioned comfort for the real enthusiasts at Bougainvillea’s outstanding gym, which has weekly aerobics classes and when in demand, Pilates and Zumba too. The hub centre for amenities is the Activities Desk in the main reception area where the staff are only too eager to lyrically share about all the healthy options of a Bougainvillea vacation.

They’ll highlight the Games Room for everyone with table tennis, pool, air hockey and foosball, nearby golf at Barbados Golf Club with its preferred rates for Bougainvillea guests and if you want to play on other courses they’ll check out availability and make the arrangements. And therein lies one of the staff’s biggest assets-their willingness to go that extra mile to ensure their guests are completely satisfied. But, at the end of the day a Caribbean vacation still has to be a relaxing tropical holiday and that usually means a cool swim and few drinks in the sunken bar before dinner. Bougainvillea boasts two excellent restaurants close to the sea at the Water’s Edge and Lanterns by the Sea so you are never short on choice or quality. The Bougainvillea team has such a sporting culture they are certainly people who makes sports tourism happen. And with so many cricketers involved they’ll be delighted to entertain the England supporters and many return guests when they come back in May for the test match. Well-done Bougainvillea!

The winning McManus team with Gay Smith!

Russ Abbott

Julian Sacher, Derrick Smith, Pip Challis & John Lodge

Ricky Smith & Mia Mottley

The Sandy Lane Charitable Trust Sir Garry Sobers & Ian Woosnam

Bob & Sue Moreton

Runners-up: Michael Challis, Pamela Hiles, Nick Barham, Guy Beauvais with Gay Smith

The Sandy Lane Charitable Trust continues to do immense work in the provision of amenities, medical expenses, community projects and facilities for the less fortunate children of Barbados. It has set high goals, but every year the Trust sets new benchmarks in achievement in the delivery of muchneeded aid and in the funds they raise. Last year nearly $4million was raised mainly though their Annual Golf Tournament and Gala Dinner, an event that attracts many leading business, sporting, political and showbiz celebrities to the prestigious Sandy Lane Clubhouse. The Gala is the catalyst that generates the resources needed to fund the Trustยนs ambitious aid programmes, but it also highlights the work being done in a short fifteen minutes video where the children and their families get the chance to say thanks for the support that has made such a huge difference in their lives. The pictures are harrowing, humbling and in some cases quite overwhelming. They certainly bring reality to the work of the Trust and set the scene for Russ Abbottยนs lively and productive auction that follows dinner. The generous support of the donors of auctioned items and the buyers has been vital to the Trustยนs major fund-raising event and is much appreciated by the hard-working Trustees. The work of the Trust is amazing, especially as it continues to run so efficiently with no salaries or expenses thanks to the commitment of the Trustees, Patrons and friends. Understandably they take great pride that every dollar raised goes directly to providing a better life for the needy children of Barbados. The Trust supports a wide range of projects and good causes. Education features high in their activities through Day Care and classes at the Sunshine Early Stimulation Centre, funding intervention programs in schools, sponsoring leadership programs, conferences and organizations, sports, recreation and community outreach activities. These activities also embrace the provision of school uniform, lunch programs and important supplies that ensure needy children are not disadvantaged or made to feel different. A lot of work is done with children who have disability challenges including a wheelchair provision program and providing assistance to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and the Evaline Smith Childrenยนs Ward in St. Philip. The Trust also supports individual needs in association with the Ministry of Health, local doctors and families, for assistance both home and abroad. In short, the work of the Trust is phenomenal and if the Annual Golf Tournament and Gala is the public image of their fundraising then the work being done throughout the year is the most rewarding. Long may it continue to prosper.


The Petra Factor Petra Roach their destination of choice. Their delegation will include a full representative side and ladies and veteran teams, who will be taking part in a series of matches on island. Last year we bid to host the 2017 Finn Masters World and I’m pleased to say that Barbados was successful. Where does sports tourism sit in current and future strategies? Sports is a key niche that we have identified as having massive potential as the global tourism market gets increasingly competitive with more and more destinations wanting to increase their market share. Our island has a number of She’s dynamic, vibrant, bubbly and knows key assets at its disposal including a her stuff. There are few people in the wonderful year-round climate and excellent Barbados tourism industry more qualified and few with the experience and track record facilities across numerous sporting disciplines, which gives us the basis for an to make things happen. Who better that active sports tourism product. Our great Petra Roach to answer some of the big organizational capability and sound questions in Barbados sports tourism infrastructure bodes well for sports event today? tourism and the outstanding wealth of talent that originates from our shores, Is it difficult to sell Barbados as a sports especially in cricket, also gives us a unique tourism destination? selling product in the world of celebrity and Barbados is an aspirational destination, nostalgia sports tourism. We have which remains highly sought and what we leveraged all of these assets successfully in have to ensure is that we keep coming up the past with some great events including with ideas that are innovative and exciting and which are unique to Barbados. There is the 2006 World Cup of Golf, the 2007 ICC much more elasticity in pricing for sporting Cricket World Cup, the 2010 Fireball Worlds, the 2013 SAP 505 World Championship and events and sports fans are willing to pay a the annual visits of various English county premium for a holiday, which incorporates cricket teams for pre-season training. their passion. What we have to ensure is Visitors are also able to combine other that we have quality facilities and that our elements into their stay for the total organization of the events is highly efficient. Barbados experience – embracing a wealth Some groups know better than others what of attractions and activities, visiting we have to offer. restaurants and taking in all our nightlife For example, the UK Civil Service Sports has to offer. Club has been coming to the island regularly to participate in a number of sporting What can we do better to promote sports disciplines and next year the Club Cricket tourism? Conference will be celebrating their Where necessary, we need to continue to Centenary Year and has chosen Barbados as


foster and nurture our relationships with relevant sporting bodies. A lot can be gained if we combine our knowledge and consolidate our efforts. It is also very important that the organizers of various events on the island have an understanding of the overall vision for sports tourism. The bar is set high and it is imperative that the events hosted are of the highest quality with a common goal to exceed visitors’ expectations. We need to continue to work together to identify mutually beneficial opportunities. As it stands we have a great working relationship with most sporting bodies on the island, but we acknowledge that more can be done to maximize these relationships. There needs to be constant dialogue as the sharing of information will be crucial to the overall success of our objectives going forward. Who are some of the big names you have worked with? In the cricketing world, some of our very own legends-Sir Garfield Sobers, Joel Garner, Gordon Greenidge and Sir Wes Hall. In the UK-former test cricketers Gladstone Small and Dean Headley come quickly to mind as they previously worked on our Sports Camp programmes. With our British Airways Football Legends Tournament, it was great to work with people like Roberto Di Matteo, the former manager of Chelsea FC who famously led them to the 2012 Champions League title. There was also Gianfranco Zola, Alan Shearer and Dwight Yorke and through our Chelsea partnership, Didier Drogba and Daniel Sturridge. And, we can’t forget our Bajan goalkeeper Jamal Blackman. In motor racing, cult figures include Jeremey Clarkson, Richard Hammond, James May, The Stig, and Formula One

celebrities Eddie Jordan and 2008 World Champion Lewis Hamilton. Our work is ongoing so we will continue to meet with the top sports people in their fields.

will be huge cricket attractions for the island.

We know your budget is limited by other demands, but how do you compare sports with each other and marketing sports tourism with gourmet promotions, gospel Some people feel cricket has slipped down promotions, cultural promotions and the the pecking order in recent times. Is this a like? fair assessment? It’s a conundrum! Definitely not-I can’t think of a time when In the grand scheme of things, the likes of there has been more cricket or talk about cricket, football, netball and hockey cricket! traditionally tend to draw a larger number of We have test matches, Twenty20 cricket, visitors to the island. Motorsports has regional matches and many variations of the grown in popularity with increasing game. Also, we now have our own numbers attending events and it will get Caribbean Premier League (CPL). This bigger as the Bushy Park Circuit develops. sports discipline has one of the most loyal Similarly, we have done well to attract a fan bases that cover a number of different number of international sailing demographics. Tournaments such as The championships to the island with more Sir Garfield Sobers International Schools events scheduled through to 2017. These Cricket Tournament continue to attract a disciplines have received a lot of attention number of teams to the island. Each year because of their potential. That’s not say Barbados also welcomes numerous private that we haven’t recognized the potential tours by schools (cricket, netball, hockey value from other sporting opportunities as etc) from all over the UK. The Kensington we have extended support to include golf, Oval is still considered to be the Mecca of tennis, badminton and even darts. cricket in the Caribbean and thousands of How it compares with gourmet cricket lovers flock to the island because of promotions and the like, we view these its history and our affiliation with the UK, opportunities under the broader banner of not to mention the lively experience when ‘Events Tourism.’ Whatever the motivation you’re part of the action. The visit of for travel, it is very important for us to target England in May to play a test match at the other segments and add to the diversity of Oval and the CPL matches in July/August our tourism offering.

What is your strategy going forward? Are we on the threshold of bigger and better sports tourism initiatives or will it be much of the same going forward? We are always on the lookout for new and exciting opportunities, which fit comfortably with our ambition to be the most sought after sporting destination in the Caribbean. With the Barbados Tourism Authority (BTA) transitioning into a new entity the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI), one of the areas earmarked for even greater attention is sports tourism. The appointment of a dedicated Director charged with the responsibility for attracting international sports events to make the island a yearround destination is a positive step to take sports tourism in Barbados to new heights. Watch this space – there are even bigger and better sporting events planned for the island! Finally Petra, what are your sporting passions? I am a sea nymph–I love diving and sailing and have recently taken up paddle boarding. With spectator sports, I am a keen football fan and support the best football team in the world–the Arsenal. Oh dear Petra…….and you were doing so well!


THE SPORT OF KINGS Gold Cup, Derby, Guineas, and Triple Crown-Barbados horseracing has them all and plenty more. And if there’s one sport that runs throughout the calendar year then it’s the Sport of Kings.


Barbados horseracing is centred on the Garrison Savannah Racetrack and the annual programme takes place over three seasons that have racing every Saturday. The Garrison Racetrack is steeped in history dating back over 150 years when the races involved the British cavalry officers riding off against the local plantation owners. The big Race days were huge social events and a Who’s Who of Barbados society as everyone wanted to be at the Garrison to watch the Derby. Ladies dressed to kill and the men strutted around to be seen as much as to watch the racing. The setting in the old days was akin to Royal Ascot and although the dress and facilities have changed in the modern era, the occasion


remains much the same on Sandy Lane Gold Cup Day, which is one of the biggest sporting and social events on the island. The Garrison scene is also the hub of racing during the week as many of the stables are close to the racetrack and every morning jockeys and grooms put their horses through their paces under the watching eyes of trainers and owners. Some owners ferry their horses from stables in the country and all this takes place early in the morning long before many people rise from their beds. In this industry the horses have usually finished their training and are en route back to their stables long before many commuters have left home to go to work. The big races pull the biggest crowds

Barbados horseracing is centred on the Garrison Savannah Racetrack and the annual programme takes place over three seasons that have racing every Saturday.


and all races takes place on Saturday afternoon from lunchtime to darkness. The exception is the popular Diamonds International Boxing Day Meeting, which attracts as many visitors as locals. The beauty of the Garrison is that you can watch the racing from vantage points all round the perimeter, although for a modest charge you can sit in the luxury of the grandstand with Tote and refreshments close-by. There are also facilities around the track, but not as convenient as the grandstand or with such a great view of the parade ring and the finish. SANDY LANE GOLD CUP DAY The biggest race in the Eastern Caribbean is the Sandy Lane Gold Cup and Race Day in early March creates a huge buzz all over the island. To win the


Gold Cup is the ambition of every jockey, owner, breeder, trainer, groom or connection and to win it more than once puts everyone into racing folklore. The race has produced some great champions and some mighty winners like owner Sir David Seale with six successes from his stable and former jockey/trainer the late Bill Marshall, who was a legend in both England and Barbados racing. The Sandy Lane Gold Cup Festival features a number of events including a polo tournament, a glitzy reception to announce the arrival of the trophy by British Airways, parades, shows, and parties. Race Day usually features nine races with the main race slotted late in the afternoon when the crowd is at its largest and the Garrison is bursting at the seams with spectators. The race is preceded with plenty of fanfare and

The biggest race in the Eastern Caribbean is the Sandy Lane Gold Cup and Race Day in early March creates a huge buzz all over the island.


razzamatazz as local calypsonian MacFingall warms the crowd, commentators and television crews beam media coverage all over the world and dancers, bands and acrobats take part in a special parade in front of the grandstand and hospitality boxes. At the same time there are several thousand fans and racegoers mingling inside the course enjoying the wide range of stalls, attractions and activities that make this occasion very special. MASSY UNITED DERBY DAY Last year sponsors Massy United went out of their way to make Derby Day special to commemorate 30 years sponsorship and 75 years of the big race, which is always held in early August. The special Race Day featured a spectacular parade similar to Gold Cup Day and a big

crowd was in attendance. Hot favourite Noble Intent was a worthy winner. JOCKEYS FOR EXPORT It may sound strange, but some of our best jockeys have been ‘exported’ to Canada to further their careers and the best of them Patrick Husbands has become a legend at top racetrack Woodbine. A multiple winner of the coveted Sovereign Award for the top jockey, Patrick also makes sporadic appearances back at the Garrison and last year captured the Sandy Lane Gold Cup for the fourth time riding overseas entrant Major Marvel. He may be over 40 these days, but there are few better jockeys in the saddle than Patrick Husbands at any racetrack.

Trainer Edward Walcott, Gay Smith, Derrick Smith & their jockeys


Race Day usually features nine races with the main race slotted late in the afternoon when the crowd is at its largest and the Garrison is bursting at the seams with spectators.


HISTORY Racing at the Garrison was first recorded in 1845 and it is known polo was played there prior to the Barbados Polo Club being formed in 1884. The Barbados Turf Club was founded in 1905 and has been the governing body of horseracing since. It is responsible for all aspects of local horseracing including organizing and promoting all the big Race Meetings. The horseracing and breeding industry makes a significant contribution to the Barbados economy through the large number of people employed and through sports tourism as thousands of visitors are racing enthusiasts. It may be dubbed the Sport of Kings in history, but it is the sport of the people in modern Barbados racing.

Sir Charles & Lady Williams


It may be dubbed the Sport of Kings in history, but it is the sport of the people in modern Barbados racing.

Robert Peirce & Peter Odle

Patrick Husbands

Boxing Day at The Races with Diamonds International

The Aquerones and The Hassids

Mr. Derrick Smith, trainer Edward Walcott and wife Alison Hinds leading in the winner

Diamond International’s Carson Springer

Jan & Everton Husbands


Yvette Mills & Ferida Fernandez

His Excellency HE Larry Palmer and wife


The man with the silver tongue Jonathan Simpson

It’s his quick wit and warm outgoing personality that sets Jonathan Simpson apart and why he’s one of the most popular characters in equestrian sport. He’s the voice of polo at Holder’s and if visitors can’t remember the teams or the players they’ll always remember the witty commentator. Nothing escapes his mischievous eye and his wicked tongue, and no polo experience would be complete without his unique humour. But polo participation is not his only equestrian passion as every Saturday afternoon he’ll be at the races preparing and cajoling his horses to beat their peers around our famous racetrack. And let’s not forget his real job! He’s a realtor with Realtors Real Estate Limited on the West Coast, one of the top real estate companies in Barbados. He sells, rents, and auctions real estate and he’s also good at that too. And all that happens after he’s been up and about long before daybreak sorting out his early morning training chores. Jonathan may not have the appearance a strapping athlete, but he’s Action Man to many sporting visitors and a useful


contact for anyone looking to rent a villa. No doubt the conversation could drift into horseracing or polo, but who’s complaining, as there are few more knowledgeable sources of breaking news in Barbados than our man with the silver tongue? Jonathan is one of the best-known equestrian personalities on the island and has a natural talent for interacting with people. He was born into racing, although it took some time before he decided to become a trainer. He’s now one of the most recognizable trainers at the Garrison although his stables remain close to his home in a beautiful rural pastureland on the south of the island. And he’s had considerable success in recent years culminating in last year’s Sandy Lane Gold Cup when he was the local trainer who fine-tuned overseas entrant Major Marvel to a stunning victory. But there wasn’t too much time to rest on his laurels as the following day he was behind the microphone at Holder’s introducing the polo teams for another exciting encounter and regaling the hundreds of visitors with his witty oneliners, snappy jokes and outrageous comments. He’s a one-off in the commentary stakes and much loved and appreciated by all and sundry for the humour and entertainment he adds to the polo experience. Everyone has their favourite Jonathan Simpson quips and here are a few we love; “And here comes Super Mario at full throttle with a face that only a mother could love!”

“And here comes three lovely girls- a yard of material would cover all three of them!” “The ball is delivered to Bruce. Fed Ex couldn’t have done it any better!” Someone estimated Jonathan’s zany remarks totalled over 1,000 on a normal polo afternoon and if that’s the case then they should be bottled and sold later in the bar, as they are hilarious. Better still, perhaps tape them and play them back when you need a lift later in the week. That’s what this guy does for fun-he lifts people and entertains them and in a world where more and more people have to be paid to entertain he just does it because he loves his sport. Priceless!





There was a time not so long ago when polo in Barbados was the sport with the biggest buzz and there appeared to be no end to its development. Thousands of spectators attended the biggest tournaments and several new polo fields were added to the sport’s inventory. Then we had world recession and economic meltdown and like all sports that operate at the high-end of the market international polo took a knock and the downturn eventually reached Barbados. That’s the bad news, but the good news is that polo on the island still thrives and there’s still a great buzz every January when the International season starts. For the uninitiated polo in Barbados on a late Sunday afternoon is as close to sporting bliss as it gets. The dying sunset on the West Coast is a magnificent backdrop to most of the polo fields and while all the physical action is centred on


the pitch there’s always plenty of activity in and around the clubhouses and of course, it’s a Who’s Who of Barbados and visiting society. Not everybody goes to polo to be noticed, but many people do, and there’s no problem with that. Paparazzi abound and there’s probably no other sport on the island that is more photographed off the pitch than on it! The Barbados polo scene is centred on the Holder’s Hill Polo Field, which is an idyllic setting and home of the Barbados Polo Club, the cornerstone of the sport on the island. Polo has been played at Holder’s for nearly 50 years after the club moved from its traditional home at the Garrison inside the racetrack. The historical connection with the Garrison is strong because it was the British cavalry officers who first brought the game to the island and helped establish the Polo Club back in 1884. In those days all the

The Barbados polo scene is centred on the Holder’s Hill Polo Field, which is an idyllic setting and home of the Barbados Polo Club, the cornerstone of the sport on the island.

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matches were played close to St. Ann’s army barracks and involved many of the local plantation owners, who were also excellent horsemen and always keen to pitch their skills against the officers. The area was originally swamp land, but it was drained and levelled by the Royal Engineers, initially for drilling and training purposes, but gradually it was embraced by a number of sporting interests including horseracing, cricket and polo. Polo had a quiet, but enjoyable growth curve over many years as horse ownership limited its scope to build membership numbers. The polo ponies were usually cast-offs from horseracing and it took time and patience to get them skilled at another discipline. This was a culture that remained for a long time and it is only in the last decade that genuine polo ponies became integrated into the sport. This is largely due to imports from


polo strongholds like Argentina and breeding by local polo enthusiasts. Some ex-racing horses are still involved and a few skilled and dedicated trainers and grooms work hard with the cast-offs to give them a ‘second chance’ in equestrian sport. Polo is dominated by a small group of enthusiasts who have ownership or access to horses. The reality of the sport is that is will never be an open sport in the true sense as horses and their upkeep are expensive and consequently only those with the resources can take part. It is also a sport that needs extensive sponsorship and patronage and Barbados has been fortunate to have cultivated both in recent times. Sir Charles Williams is by far the biggest provider of ponies and his polo field and stables at Apes Hill is one of the sport’s most prized assets. Several other

The polo scene is one of genial social interaction off the field and fast, pounding and pulsating sporting action on the field.


impressive polo fields are located at Lion Castle, Clifton and Buttals, although most of the matches at the current time are shared amongst Holder’s, Apes Hill, Clifton and Lion Castle. Polo development took off at the end of the Nineties when several successful local businessmen took up the sport and threw their energy, enthusiasm and resources into developing and raising it to another level. The better facilities and more tournaments spiralled polo to another level and a number of leading sponsors like Diamonds International and Colombian Emeralds International played a large part in marketing the sport to a bigger audience and raising its profile. For their part the members increased their stock of polo ponies and built up an impressive fixture list against overseas teams. The Barbados Open first appeared in 2004 and featured many overseas players, while the Battle of the Sexes captured the imagination of the


spectators as the ladies against the men aroused plenty of passion and excitement. Both these tournaments have stood the test of time and although some tournaments and facilities have contracted in recent times due to economic pressures, these two tournaments are still very popular. The polo scene is one of genial social interaction off the field and fast, pounding and pulsating sporting action on the field. Both horses and riders are highly skilled and the spectacle offers plenty of entertainment in relaxed and idyllic rural settings. Admission is modest and while the local players play regularly against each other in club matches, the main focus of the season is the International Season, which runs from January to May and features a number of visiting teams and established tournaments. Don’t miss the opportunity to savour the occasion. Everyone is welcome.

the main focus of the season is the International Season, which runs from January to May and features a number of visiting teams and established tournaments.


Businessman with The Midas Touch Jacob Hassid an entrepreneur with boundless enthusiasm, energy and vision. He is also one of those rare businessmen who can see the bigger picture and the value of corporate objectives that can also benefit social, sporting and community interests. As a result his company and their brands have become synonymous with good causes, charity, sports events and consequently sports tourism. Perhaps, this is not surprising for a man with strong personal sporting interests and three kids that love a wide range of activities that embrace sport, music and local culture. As Jacob explains;

and with a target market at the high end this has produced many benefits for all parties. Diamonds International has sponsored golf since 1997, and was later one of the principal driving forces that saw polo explode into a major sport and tourist attraction. The highly popular “Battle of the Sexes” Tournament was hatched between Jacob and polo player Monique Jacob Hassid is a dynamic visionary who Archer and it remains the best-attended understands the power of networking and polo series in the annual calendar. The partnerships to enhance business, company has also provided huge support cultural, sporting and social objectives. for horseracing including sponsorships of His inspirational leadership at Diamonds a number of race days and the popular International has propelled the profile of Boxing Day Race Day that attracts his company far and beyond his adopted “When Diamonds International first opened thousands of spectators to the Garrison island of Barbados and with his wife Race Track. A key part of the Diamonds operations in Barbados we recognized that Michal as Joint Managing Director they International sponsorships is the support we were operating in a very special form one of the most energetic and for good causes and charity and amongst environment. The island is much more inspirational husband and wife teams in many beneficiaries are the Substance developed and diversified than most other local business. islands in the region and to its credit there is Abuse Foundation, Rotary Club West, The Hassids settled in Barbados in the a high level of professionalism and corporate Queen Elizabeth Hospital and the Sandy early Nineties and with three children Lane Children’s Charitable Trust. As Jacob participation across a spectrum of areas. It subsequently born here, their roots are continues: was only natural to get involved - yes of firmly established in both business and course for exposure, but also as a way of community. Jacob’s initial business contributing to the growth and development “We are very hands on, but this is not totally challenge was to grow the fledging of the island in these areas. It was also a driven by any marketing strategy, it is about Diamonds International brand and he has natural marriage for many of our focusing on promotion and developing the every reason to look back over nearly 20 international brands that have strong ties island’s natural talents. And for us it’s also years with immense pride at what has within the sporting world. Hublot worldwide important that we are involved in the been achieved. Not only is Diamonds for example, is one of the most aggressive charities, so it’s a societal contribution with International now one of the biggest advertisers in major sporting events.” marketing value. Many of our brands are names in local business, but the brand is internationally connected with sports and also one of the best known across the What Jacob Hassid will never highlight sporting events so it’s natural for us to adopt Western Caribbean and has an is his own personal contribution, which this in our marketing strategy. Of course, international presence. It is no mean has been the catalyst that has made this brings us into closer contact with our achievement in such a short time, but things happen, especially in sports clients, but in retail it’s important to be then Jacob Hassid is not the typical tourism. He has been innovative and accessible and know your client base as a everyday Caribbean businessman, he is creative with many of his sponsorships rule. In a small island like Barbados this


strategy is obviously beneficial to everyone.” Many of the Diamonds International sporting sponsorships attract tourists and in the case of polo and golf a number of the visitors either plan their holidays to take part or to watch. This makes a direct contribution to the Barbados sports tourism product and not only boosts the economy, but it promotes the sport and raises funds for good causes and charity. The value of networking and partnerships is inherent in Jacob’s marketing vision going forward: “Barbados is established as an exclusive destination and one that attracts the right clientele for high end brands. Like many places we have experienced difficult times

recently, but our foundations are solid and I think in the near future, perhaps in a year or so, we will see a distinct revival for retail across the island. The Private Sector and Government are already working together to promote sports tourism in many areas as seen by last year’s highly successful Top Gear Festival, the Mount Gay Regatta, the Sandy Lane Gold Cup and many other sporting events. But we can’t take our past success for granted so we need to continue to build and improve standards to ensure our island paradise has a lot to offer visitors.” We can be assured Jacob Hassid and his Diamonds International team will be at the forefront of that drive.



When two of the biggest brand names in world motor sport get together to have some fun - this includes the first-ever 'race' between a Mercedes Formula 1 car and a four-wheel-drive Ford Fiesta Rallycross car, by the way and they choose to do so in a quiet corner of the Caribbean, there will be some fall-out . . . but this was fall-out of the very best kind! This was Top Gear Festival Barbados . . .


Oh, and by brand names, I do not mean Ford and Mercedes-Benz! Lewis Hamilton, Britain's 2008 World Champion, and American Rallycross and Gymkhana icon Ken Block boast nearly 7.5 million Facebook 'likes' between them, while Hamilton has 2.2 million followers on twitter, so whatever they get up to crosses continents within minutes. Despite TGF Barbados falling on the one spare weekend between Grands Prix in Spain and Monaco, he was happy to fly the best part of 10,000 miles to take up Top Gear's invitation . . . and even managed to slot in a visit to disadvantaged children in Haiti as part of his support of UNICEF UK. In his regular BBC Sport column, Hamilton, whose immediate family are from Grenada and Trinidad, said: "I had so much fun, although being there meant more than having a good time, as I am the only representative of that part of the world in F1. Thousands turned up - I heard people flew in from Jamaica and

Global Rallycross at Bushy Park Circuit


Trinidad just to see me - and Jeremy Clarkson said to the crowd that '15 per cent of the people are here to see Top Gear and 85 per cent to see Lewis'". Talking of Clarkson and his fellow Top Gear presenters Richard Hammond and James May, you can add in another 7 million or so followers on twitter . . . so, you can see where this is going, in terms of sports-tourism, which is such a vital component of the island's key industry. Exposure, Exposure, Exposure . . . And the message about Top Gear Festival Barbados and by association about the island itself was not only being spread through social media. The inclusion of the opening round of the Red Bull Global Rallycross Championship in the weekend's line-up not only thrilled the onsite crowds with an astonishing level of car control and competition, but also guaranteed worldwide TV coverage a week later on NBC . . . and that served to introduce Bushy Park Circuit as a venue well-suited to (and well-capable of)

staging a world-class event. Indeed, the Rallycross crowd have compared every subsequent venue on their 2014 calendar to Barbados, and it seems to come out on top every time. As industry specialists have often said, this is a form marketing and exposure that Barbados simply could not pay for because the budgets are not there. With two more years of Top Gear Festival Barbados already in the works, there is clearly even more to be gained in the future.


Motor sport across the Caribbean is undergoing a huge period of change, as it transitions from a largely amateur sport, which has attracted massive spectator support for more than 50 years - up to 10 per cent of the population in Barbados to a more professional business model, which will greatly enhance the sportstourism products of some of the region's most popular destinations. 124


Motor sport across the Caribbean is undergoing a huge period of change, as it transitions from a largely amateur sport, which has attracted massive spectator support for more than 50 years - up to 10 per cent of the population in Barbados to a more professional business model, which will greatly enhance the sportstourism products of some of the region's most popular destinations. Barbados is currently the hub of this expansion, also a catalyst to progress elsewhere: territories such as Guyana, Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago, all with motor sport heritage dating back decades, are making strides to follow the example of the Barbados Motoring Federation (BMF). The island's governing body for almost 15 years, the BMF has worked with its member Clubs to present a united face to Government and to develop a competitor licensing scheme, safety plans and training programmes in line with the recommendations - and with the support of - the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA), the world governing body, which is now showing greater interest than ever before in motor sport in this region. Already at the forefront of rallying development in recent years, the island can now also boast the region's best racing facility in the redeveloped Bushy


Park Circuit . . . but more of that shortly. First, exciting plans are in hand for Sol Rally Barbados 2015, as the Barbados Rally Club (BRC) celebrates the 25th Anniversary of its International All-Stage Rally, first run in 1990. With 20 newcomers a year since 2011, first-time participants have driven the total number of overseas competitors hosted by the event close to 400, from nearly 30 countries. While Sol RB has become a 'must-do' event for many in the UK, its traditional core market, the spread is more far-reaching these days, with television coverage of the event beamed through 30 networks into more than 700 million homes worldwide. Steady growth in competitor and media interest has gone hand-in-hand with a more professional approach to all aspects of the event. In addition to a year-round marketing and PR programme, which keeps Sol RB in the public eye and has earned the event long-term support from some of the island's blue chip companies, the BRC has worked hard on the event's structure. With safety an overarching consideration, the aim is to run a seriously competitive rally, but fought out in a relaxed, clubman-style atmosphere. Since 2008, the first year of Sol's title sponsorship, Rally Barbados has followed a 'shakedown' event the previous

First, exciting plans are in hand for Sol Rally Barbados 2015, as the Barbados Rally Club (BRC) celebrates the 25th Anniversary of its International All-Stage Rally, first run in 1990.


weekend; now carrying title sponsorship from Scotiabank, King of the Hill has become an integral part of the event, just as hotly-contested, as the results form the basis of the running order for Sol RB. On the racing front, since I was last asked to pen a piece for Sporting Barbados, something remarkable has happened - in 39 weeks, the 1.3-kilometre Old Bushy Park race track, first laid out in 1971 and beloved of local fans, was transformed into a world-class multi-purpose venue, in time to host Top Gear Festival Barbados in May 2014. While most of the original layout remains (albeit completely reconstructed), a new southern loop has increased the lap to 2kms, with internal links creating a 1.2kms kart circuit, each layout targeted for certification by the sport's world governing bodies (FIA and CIK), to permit the staging of international events. TGF Barbados was a resounding success, thousands of fans thrilled by the antics of the region's only Grand Prix driver Lewis Hamilton and Global Rallycross stars Ken Block, Tanner Faust

The pitlane at Bushy Park Circuit


and Scott Speed. And we must not forget Top Gear's regular presenters Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May, who worked through a host of routines that would cause any selfrespecting Health & Safety professional to lose sleep - the phrase "please don't try this at home" rang through loud and clear! Former GP team owner Eddie Jordan, ex racer Tiff Needell and BBC F1 presenter Lee McKenzie helped seal the weekend's success. While TGF Barbados and the Red Bull Global Rallycross Championship are inked in to the island's motor sport calendar for the next two years, the circuit will also host a broad cross-section of national and regional competitions, including the Seaboard Marine Caribbean Motor Racing Championship (CMRC). Under new management, the CMRC is enjoying something of a resurgence, with new young drivers coming through, along with some exciting new machinery arriving in the region. Trinidad & Tobago staged its first race meeting in eight years in August 2014, rejoining Barbados, Guyana and Jamaica to host a CMRC

round, and all have announced their intentions of either upgrading existing race tracks or building afresh . . . along with The Bahamas, another regional territory with a rich motor sport heritage. In concentrating on the key developments, I must not ignore the extensive motor sport grass roots in Barbados: from low-speed autocross (a great way to hone your car control) through drag racing, karting and off-road 4 x 4 navigational rallies, the BMF licenses around 400 competitors each year, pretty much the highest per capita motor sport participation in the world! Some interesting motor sport links:

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After 18 years success the Banks Masters Football Festival runs as smooth as a Rolls Royce engine. Only the weather lies outside the control of the organizers and after consuming a few of the sponsor’s products some of the participants feel they have that under control as well! The tournament has come a long way since it first appeared in 1996 when most of the winners were local teams. These days most of the winners are from overseas, which says much for the quality of the visitors and their commitment to the competition as well as the gruelling social schedule off the pitch. There are 25 matches in total spread over the three days of the Whitsun weekend and impressively all of the games start on time. Good management and excellent planning are the hallmarks of the festival and although the organizing committee


of Paul “Starsky” Wright, Grant “Gloom” Trebble and Adrian “Ockie” Donovan front the administration with considerable aplomb, they will be the first to credit their strong back-up team of tried and trusted volunteers. The football is played at Dover and Wanderers, but the pivotal centre of the competition is at Dayrell’s Road, home of one of the island’s most famous cricket clubs. Some of the biggest names in West Indies cricket have strutted their sporting talents on this famous turf and some useful footballers too. Former Liverpool and England forward Jimmy Case comes quickly to mind as does former West Indies pace bowler Sir Curtley Ambrose, who paraded his silky soccer skills with one of the Antiguan teams a few years ago. Overseas teams are the lifeblood of the

Overseas teams are the lifeblood of the Masters Festival and they have travelled from all over the world to participate, all by invitation.


Masters Festival and they have travelled from all over the world to participate, all by invitation. Unfortunately numbers are limited and while several clubs have been coming for years, new additions are always welcome to keep the competition vibrant and the camaraderie healthy. And therein lies the underlying culture of the festival because it is a fun tournament with a competitive edge. The overall objective is to bring more people to Barbados through football and to let them enjoy the fellowship of the sport and at the same time enjoy the attributes of Barbados. The invitation also includes the sponsors Bank’s Beer, who have been partners in the festival since inception and who claim their sales go through the roof over the three days of the tournament. There’s even a trophy for the biggest partygoers! After all, it’s thirsty work playing football in the Tropics so mixing business with pleasure isn’t such a hardship. Teams from neighbouring islands are regulars at the festival and last year there were also teams from Canada, USA and


Guyana. Over 500 visitors come for the tournament and their participation goes much further than playing football as they take full advantage of the many restaurants, bars, and activities on offer on our holiday island. Everything builds up to Finals Day at Dayrell’s Road on Whitsun Monday and the Presentation Ceremony followed by a night of revelry and fun. But there are rules! Players must be at least 40 years old, and 20 players must be registered and used during each game. Grey hair and wide girths are optional, but picture IDs must be given to the referee before games. After all, we don’t want Ronaldo sneaking in behind dark glasses! Come and enjoy or come and watch the action. You won’t be disappointed.

Over 500 visitors come for the tournament and their participation goes much further than playing football as they take full advantage of the many restaurants, bars, and activities on offer on our holiday island.

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Divi Southwinds has had the privilege to host major sporting teams, including 2010 Olympic women amateur boxers, William Patterson swim team, Caribbean volleyball teams & more. Let us host your sporting teams; start by reserving your space today! Call us at (246) 418-7300 ext. 7408, (246) 418-7307 or email us at Exciting restaurants • Fully equipped kitchens in every suite • Freshwater swimming pools • Poolside bar • Fitness center • Activities coordinators


Sporting All-Rounder Adrian ‘Ockie’ Donovan

If there is one person in the sport and recreation business that is a genuine allrounder then it is Adrian “Ockie” Donovan. This ebullient no-nonsense administrator wears so many hats it is difficult to see where he gets the time, but then Ockie lives and breathes sport 24/7 and where there’s a will there’s a way. Ockie’s many hats include his fulltime job as Senior Coach at the National Sports Council, cricket coach, summer camp coordinator, tour organizer, team manager, club administrator, event organizer, President of Dover Juniors Cricket Club, President of Paradise Football Club and ace networker. The former secretary of the Barbados Football Association knows just about everyone in Barbados sport and just about everyone knows him. He’s a charismatic endearing character who has helped hundreds of visiting clubs organize sports tours and although his ‘kingdom’ is the Dover Sports Ground in St. Lawrence Gap he’s been a leading figure behind the highly successful Banks Barbados International Masters Football Festival, which is centred on both the Dover and Wanderers grounds. His impressive sports CV also includes


international recognition after he was awarded the top grade International Sports Administrator Award in 2102 at the Annual Congress of sports administrators from all over the world held in the US. You don’t have to tell Adrian Donovan the value of the Banks Barbados International Masters Football Festival to the island’s sports tourism product because he’s been promoting it for almost 20 years. This fun football competition for ageing limbs and wider girths will enter its 19th year in 2015 and that’s no mean achievement for the visionary Wanderers organizers Paul “Starsky’ Wright, Grant “Gloom” Trebble and Adrian “Ockie” Donovan. They have been the engine-room since inception back in 1996 and in tandem with major sponsors Bank’s Beer they have brought thousands of visitors to the island. Bringing sporting people to Barbados has been an integral part of Adrian’s role at the Sports Council, and his huge inventory of contacts has enabled him to coordinate a wide variety of tours including Diaspora groups. Nobody knows the value of networking better than Mr. Sport and if he ever ventures into politics many people see him as a natural Minister of Sport. If there is one attribute that sets Ockie Donovan apart then it is no nonsense approach to any issue. He’s never been afraid to speak his mind and he has strong views on the future of sport, particularly local and regional soccer, which has been languishing in the doldrums for many years. He was an outspoken critic of the controversial former FIFA Vice-President Jack Warner’s “reign” and in last year’s Masters Festival programme he wrote passionately about

his vision for the future in the wake of Warner’s demise and new leadership; “Do not forget our Masters’ footballers, these role models just by their fitness alone and who are representing their respective clubs and countries, need a look in. Most of the players who will be competing over this Whitsuntide weekend include former national players, coaches, administrators, and football fanatics who are the ones to spread the goodwill of the game. The organizers of this popular tournament would be looking forward in the coming future to see in what way this could be a CONCACAF brand now that a fresh breeze is blowing through the Caribbean. What about a Caribbean Masters Cup?” Well-spoken Adrian Donovan and keep up the good work as sport and sports tourism continues to benefit from your huge input and wide experience.




2015 will be a huge year for Barbados hockey, as it will see the return of the Astroturf surface, which has been out of action for six years. During that time club hockey on the island was treading water and in the case of the International Hockey Festival it was spiralling downwards. However, the picture will be completely different with the return of the Astroturf and the move back to the Sir Garfield Sobers Complex at Wildey, which has been the traditional home of the tournament for many years. Club hockey in Barbados is strong and very competitive in both ladies and men’s sections. Veteran’s hockey is also popular and traditionally all the groups came together every year for the festival weekend at the end of August. This festival dates back to 1986 and has a close affiliation with sponsors Bank’s Beer, not least because the tournament has a strong social and fun element that has made it special in global hockey. The festival is unique because it has retained its competitive edge and at the same time preserved the fun element with a heavy social itinerary that tests even the strongest constitution on tour. It has also a genuine international culture and although that has taken a knock in the past five years because of the absence of the Astroturf surface, local administrators know the tournament will regain its former glory as word spreads of the ‘new arrival.’ The return of the Astroturf could not have come soon enough, but in some ways it seems appropriate as it marks the anniversary of the 30th festival and what better way to celebrate the milestone? International hockey has risen to another level in the modern era as the game played on Astroturf is far removed from the old game played


on grass and all-weather surfaces. These dinosaurs have served the game well, but the modern game thrives on the synthetic surface and is more exciting, fast, and highly skilful. However, one negative will be the move away from the lovely grass surface at the Kensington Oval Cricket Ground and a lost opportunity for hockey and cricket enthusiasts to enjoy playing in this magnificent stadium that has hosted many of the best cricketers to grace the game. The return of more overseas visitors will inject a new impetus into the festival, and bring back some of the colourful and imaginative names of teams that have travelled from all over the world. Some of them were good enough to be winners, no mean achievement against the highly competitive locals. Who can forget 1990 winners Auld Reekies from Scotland, 1996 winners Artful Dodgers from Wales, 1999 winners Pigs will fly from England, and 2012 winners Aixen from Germany. And let’s not forget habitual local winners Old Gold Roosters, Remnants, All Stars, Rockets, ABC and Du Bad.

Teams are warmly welcomed to compete in four disciplines-men’s, ladies, veterans and Mixed. There’s even room for individuals as the Old Gold Roosters is a festival club only and has players from all over the world competing every year. Renowned for their social staying power they have also had their successes on the field. And therein lies one of the great challenges of festival hockey-the ability to produce the results at the end of the week when the demands of the social itinerary have made an impact. Little wonder the canny locals always seem to come good in the play-offs during the last two days. The hockey festival opens on a Sunday with the traditional Assembly of the Teams and closes the following Saturday with the presentation of Prizes and Award Ceremony and farewell Party. In between there’s plenty of hockey, parties, Karaoke, nightclubbing, island cruises and hangovers! For more information contact:




Even in their wildest dreams ten years ago Barbados rugby enthusiasts could not have envisaged playing at the Commonwealth Games or competing at the prestigious Hong Kong Sevens. After all, the sport has had slow growth since it established roots inside the Garrison Race Track in the mid-1960s when a wooden clubhouse was erected by a motley array of passionate enthusiasts, perhaps more interested in the social revellry associated with après rugby than trying to establish an international presence. The fact that the funds needed to build the clubhouse were raised through amateur drama performances rather than corporate funding speaks volumes for the passion and enthusiasm of the participants, mostly ex-Pats with a few locals, but little for their long-term vision or Business Plan to compete with contemporary team sports like cricket, golf and hockey. But all that has suddenly changed and the catalyst that has transformed the rugby landscape is Sevens rugby. It is a


revolution that many people feel is more at home with Caribbean conditions and our sporting culture. However, there will always be a place for traditional rugby and over the years Rugby Barbados has welcomed many clubs and schools and provided good opposition and hospitality. There has also been a close affinity with visiting naval teams for decades. This was all possible because the rugby visionaries invested heavily in developing the game 15 years ago in the local schools and changing the membership from mainly ex-Pats to local players. It couldn’t have been done without the ex-Pat contribution and they remain an important part of the sport’s culture, but the modern face of Barbados rugby is one of fit young players who understand the game much better and have developed skills and understanding from excellent coaching, training and teamwork. Some of them have also gone overseas to play the game at a higher level. Much credit for this transformation goes

to former players like President George Nicholson and his dedicated team of coaches and administrators, who have put back ten times as much passion and enjoyment into developing the next generation as they derived from playing. Special mention too for Dennis Hargreaves who has worked tirelessly in the schools and was largely responsible for the Barbados Under-19 team reaching the regional finals before losing narrowly to Mexico. This dedication that has seen Rugby Barbados win the Caribbean Regional Championship, compete in the preliminary rounds of the World Cup against Canada and the USA, host a plethora of regional competitions and develop youth and ladies teams. And at the same time the club has hosted many visiting rugby teams and built up a healthy reputation for the quality of their hospitality. Many minority sports would have been delighted at the evolvement, but getting enough rugby players to provide the platform to compete at 15-a-


side representative level was always going to be a major challenge and one which National coaches like Joe Whipple identified long since. The reality is that only a few clubs feed the national side, and realistically it would take four times that number to provide enough competition and to build a strong base to compete with the larger countries. For many years 10-a-side rugby was played to accommodate the small playing membership and it proved very effective and competitive, so perhaps the progression into Sevens is not totally out of character. After all, more and more Sevens rugby is now being played across the region and the format seems to fit better into resources and ambitions. Success in Sevens came quickly after several players were selected for the regional Sevens teams and after succeeding at regional level they formed


the nucleus of Barbados Sevens teams to follow. The change in strategy and direction has increased ambition and vision and when the opportunity to participate in the Hong Kong Sevens arose it was snapped up. After all, this is the Holy Grail of International Sevens rugby. Inevitably the Barbados team was hammered, but to be on the world stage was a meteoric rise for a sport fighting to survive in the most challenging conditions in the hot Caribbean climate. Undeterred, the rugby stalwarts have maintained their momentum and participating in last year’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow was another major coup for local rugby. Once again the results on the field were poor against the giants of world rugby, but the squad has never been better prepared and learned a lot from the experience. Better times will follow. Commonwealth Games participation

gave Rugby Barbados an international profile and in their build-up many television crews and media giving the minnows as much coverage as the favourites. Barbados got tremendous publicity and everyone will benefit from the experience. International rugby teams now want to come to Barbados and a major goal will be to organize a world-class International Sevens Tournament in the future to accommodate them. That would be a huge boost for Barbados sports tourism and the island’s international profile. It sounds an exciting time for Barbados rugby and while the Sevens players hold court let’s not forget 15-a-side rugby continues and offers a wonderful opportunity for visiting teams to come to an idyllic island and play their favourite sport. Well done the rugby men and women who continue to make it happen.

LIFE ON THE OCEAN WAVES The island of Barbados is the first landing point for many sailors crossing the Atlantic Ocean and as a result it has a long and colourful association with the sea.



Sailing has been part of that tradition although ironically the seas around the island do not provide ideal sailing conditions and being the most easterly of the Caribbean islands sailing to it against the Trade Winds can be challenging. But sailors are renowned for their pluck in the face of adversity so sailing has not only prospered down the years, but more and people are taking to the sea for recreation so it is developing stronger and wider participation. There are many facets to sailing and boating in Barbados and although the racing fraternity capture the headlines and the bulk of publicity, there’s action all year round as boats and various crafts come and go at the Yacht and Cruising Clubs in Carlisle Bay and Port St. Charles in Speightstown. Carlisle Bay with its Yacht Club and Cruising Club is the focal point of sailing and boating in Barbados although Port St. Charles is now the main entry point


for visiting yachts. There once was a time when the cross Atlantic-trading ships anchored in Carlisle Bay and had their supplies carried into Bridgetown in smaller boats. There were also turbulent times when foreign ships attacked the Garrison at Needham’s Point and were kept at bay by dozens of British canons, some of which still lie in the shallow waters below the ramparts. It seems a far cry from the picture of tranquillity in modern times as the bay is covered with small yachts, catamarans, diving boats, dinghies, kayaks, SUP enthusiasts, swimmers and divers. The shallow and peaceful bay with its long magnificent beach is one of the island’s top attractions and to facilitate the divers man-made diving sites have been provided by sinking several small ships. They add to the ambience of a living and dynamic sailing scene. The divers are carefully shielded from the main sailing channel in and out of the

Yacht Club, but in reality seafarers show great respect for each other and everyone gets along amicably. The Barbados Yacht Club and the nearby Cruising Club are clubhouses with strong social backgrounds. The Yacht Club was once called Shot Hall and the base for the Royal Engineers when British troops protected the island from unwelcome European invaders. None succeeded and while the island has retained its colonial heritage at places like the Yacht Club, the modern membership reflects a generation free from the burden of bias and discrimination that existed in bygone years. The Yacht Club offers bar, restaurant and meeting facilities and of course, berthing and docking facilities for a wide range of craft. Sunday Brunch is a big favourite with everyone and there are regular Friday night Limes with music and entertainment.


THE SAILING SCENE The sailing scene today is vibrant and healthy. The National Dinghy Championships are held in September, and many aspiring sailors of all ages cut their cloth at this entry point and the Barbados Sailing Association does sterling work in promoting sailing at all levels. The dinghy class is very competitive and many of these sailors form the crews of the bigger boats in the major regattas. In recent times there has been a huge surge of interest in the J24 class and this has produced some of the best racing ever for local sailors. There are regattas throughout the year, but the premier event is the Mount Gay Round Barbados Race Series held in January, which essentially kicks off the Caribbean Regatta circuit. It is on record that the first race around the island took place in 1936 when five trading schooners took


part. The winner was Lou Kennedy in a time of ten hours and 20 minutes, a far cry from the 4 hours, 42 minutes and 20 seconds it took the mighty Monster Project crew in 2014. THE MOUNT GAY RUM SAILING CONNECTION Mount Gay Rum is one the island’s best-known business brands and dates back to 1703 making it the oldest rum brand in the world. The rum is sold all over the globe and the company’s marketing is strategically aligned with sailing and it sponsors over 100 regattas. The distinctive red caps issued for each regatta are coveted sailing memorabilia and some of the most difficult to get are now collector’s items and traded on eBay. Local sailors guard them with their lives and they feature prominently all year round during races. They have become

synonymous with sailing and a marketing dream tool for the sponsors. BRIGHT FUTURE Barbados tourism chiefs have invested heavily in promoting Barbados as a sailing destination and in recent times the island has hosted the World Fireball Championships and the 505s World Championships. Both events were superbly staged and others are in the pipeline for the future. The Port Ferdinand Marina beside Port St. Charles will also be another major asset to sailing and boating and the Government’s stated intention to allow tax concessions for sailing equipment to help promote sailing are also to be commended. These are exciting times for sailing and boating in Barbados.


WAVE RUNNERS It is incredible to think that in an era when so much emphasis is placed on providing top quality sports facilities that Barbados has without doubt the most exciting and ideal watersports facilities provided by Mother Nature at no cost.

Josh Burke


It is incredible to think that in an era when so much emphasis is placed on providing top quality sports facilities that Barbados has without doubt the most exciting and ideal watersports facilities provided by Mother Nature at no cost. The beaches and shores off our little island offer magnificent opportunities for watersports enthusiasts to indulge in their favourite passion and there is no shortage of options. All around the island sport and leisure activities take place every day of the year and they include surfing, windsurfing, kitesurfing, paddle surfing (SUP), ocean swimming, sailing, cruising, canoeing, kayaking, water polo, diving, snorkelling and fishing. We offer an amazing array of beach and water activities, so little wonder visitors travel from all over the world to participate. The Blue Riband of Barbados watersports remains surfing and although it is often said Bajan children grow up with a cricket bat in their hands just as many have a surfboard. It is second nature to ride the waves and the tradition has been passed down from generation to generation over many years. Some top sportsmen like rally

Chelsea Roett


champion Paul “Surfer” Bourne have excelled in other disciplines, but they can’t and won’t shake off their surfing background. And why would they? Most surfers head for the East Coast and Bathsheba where all the action centres on the “Soup Bowl” with its consistent waves and frothy waters. World champion Kelly Slater rated the Soup Bowl amongst his Top Ten surfing destinations and that recommendation says much for its amazing surfing ambience and unique atmosphere. You have to relax in this environment as the pace of life is slow and easy, commercialism is non-existent and the dress code is largely baggy colourful shorts or flimsy bikinis. But don’t underestimate the talent on show, as these surfers are superb athletes and great exponents of their skill. From their midst Barbados has produced some outstanding surfers and the best of them continue to ply their trade in local and international tournaments. They include teenager Josh Burke, son of multiple National Champion Alan Burke, one of the sport’s driving forces, and globetrotting Chelsea Tuach the island’s

best ever lady surfer. Barbados watersports is not short of colourful personalities and some of them have made a career in the business selling their expertise, coaching newcomers, offering surfing holiday packages, providing surfing lessons and accommodation. Without doubt the biggest Bajan watersports personality is Brian “Irie Man” Talma, an ebullient outgoing character who has been a magnificent ambassador for Barbados all over the world. Irie Man may not ride the professional waves he did with such aplomb 20 years ago, but he’s still the most versatile surfer on the island and runs a successful Surfing Shop and hire business from his “home pad” at Silver Sands Beach on the South Coast. It is said you can surf any day of the year in Barbados, but the East and South Coasts offer the most opportunities as the West Coast is largely placid most of the year and the North Coast is fiery and dangerous for even the best exponents. That means there are waves to suit every standard and there are rental facilities for the novice or beginner. Alan Burke, Zed

Brian ‘Irie Man’ Talma


Layson and Christian Boos have excellent surfing schools on the South Coast in glorious idyllic settings. While surfing still commands the highest interest many Bajan surfers have added other skills or moved to other disciplines to develop their passion. Kitesurfing, windsurfing and in recent times stand up paddle surfing (SUP) are extremely popular and most of the action is centred on the South Coast from Silver Sands to Carlisle Bay. Silver Sands Beach is the Mecca for all three disciplines with its consistent soft breezes and sheltered water. This is Irie Man territory where the guru himself plays an important role in developing his own brand of beach culture in everyday activities, but particularly through his annual Waterman Festival, which has attracted surfers from all over the world. There is nothing more spectacular than seeing the entire Silver Sands Beach covered with the beautiful colourful sails of the windsurfers and the athletes racing in and out from shore to reef and beyond. Windsurfing is a tough sport, but kitesurfing looks ten times as challenging! These surfers are amongst the best in the business and combine their surfingboard skills with some amazing aerodynamic gymnastics. On the water or in the air these surfers are spectacular to watch and if you want to join their ranks then where better than Silver Sands under Irie Man’s tuition? The more gentile art of paddle surfing seems a far cry from the hustle and bustle of free flowing windsurfing and

De Action is at Silver Rock


kitesurfing, but it can be very rewarding. SUP surfing is all about balance and leisurely moving around the waves rather than speed and racing, although the Last Man Standing Competition offers a touch of both. Irie Man and his brother Kevin are two of the island’s best exponents. Soup Bowl and Silver Sands aren’t the only hotspots for watersports as Carlisle Bay on the outskirts of Bridgetown offers the widest range of activities. Sailing, cruising, diving, snorkelling, skiing, sea swimming, kayaking, canoeing and SUP surfing all take place throughout the year and on busy Sundays there is a lot of intensity. Carlisle Bay has a rich maritime history dating back to the turbulent years when the canon guns at Needham’s Point protected the busy commercial port and ensured Barbados was never invaded by foreign forces. Understandably the picturesque bay in modern times is a much more tranquil scene with dozens of large and small boats moored a short distance from the Barbados Yacht Club and the Barbados Cruising Club. Sailing boats and cruisers come and go daily and most of the sailing races are held in the bay. The area is also famous for its diving and several wrecks are located close to the surface and in some cases can be enjoyed by snorkelers. Kayaks, canoes, paddleboards and small dinghies meander in and around the boats at will, while the fun catamarans also use the bay as a stopping point. On most weekends fun swimmers congregate early in the morning to swim across the bay although

the less energetic get as much fun from their early morning swim every day of the week. Early morning swims are particularly popular with the elderly and help promote a healthy lifestyle. Another early morning swimming culture exists at Miami Beach just outside Oistins where the legendary West Indian cricketer Sir Everton Weekes has been swimming for decades. Cricket and motorsport may have the largest spectator following in Barbados, but watersports has surely the biggest participation. After all, it costs nothing to visit a beach as all the beaches in Barbados are open to the public and what’s better than a plunge into the warm turquoise surf? Come and enjoy life in the sea, on the sea or just to see. After all, a lot of conservation work is done to protect and promote the sea turtle population and more and more whales are being sighted just off the shores these days.


Irie Man Reigns Supreme Brian ‘Irie Man’ Talma No local sportsman has done more to promote Barbados sports tourism than Brian “Irie Man” Talma. He’s a one-off in watersports and a dedicated surfer who has travelled all over the world to promote his sport and his island with equal aplomb. Irie Man has operated from Silver Sands Beach on the South Coast since 1988 and his brand is beach culture. He lives the brand 24/7 and for over 20 years he has developed every aspect of beach culture to


become one of the most rounded and gifted watersports entrepreneurs in the Caribbean. He’s a highly skilled athlete, who was good enough to compete on the world professional stage for over a decade with several outstanding wins under his surfing belt. He also represented Barbados at the South Korea and Barcelona Olympic Games and put windsurfing on the Barbados map. Ten years ago he introduced SUP (Stand Up Paddling) to the island. But perhaps he is

best known for his big cheerful smile from a beaming tanned face with his long golden locks, bronzed body and baggy colourful shorts, a picture that has featured on the front pages of many international surfing and watersports magazines across the world. Ire Man is something special in his chosen field. He can blow the conch shell, write songs and sing them, paint beautiful art, compose poems and read them. He has written books, and promoted some of the biggest watersports festivals in the Caribbean. And his festivals don’t just stop at watersports as they offer the complete package-entertainment, cuisine, party and culture-beach culture, a la Brian Irie Man Talma. Talma’s love affair with watersports has been a lifelong trip following his passion and few people have done it with as much passion and sincerity. He identified, packaged and brought Barbados beach culture alive and has since taken his product all over the world on promotional

tours. Thousands of people know Barbados because of Brian Talma and many of them have come to the island because of his infectious and inviting personality. His Annual Waterman Festival is a prime example as it has featured competitors from all over the world including several world champions. The ebullient Irie Man has that drawing power. Brian loves the sea and his passion for it shines through in everything he does and talks about. A conversation with him is often one-sided as he has so much to tell and to sell as he lives and breathes beach culture. But he’s no beach bum. This guy could sit on the board of any top marketing company, run for Parliament or make millions promoting his brand in a bigger market. After all, he has a BA Degree in Business Administration and he was the youngest person to be awarded the Barbados Service Star Award in 1994 in recognition of his achievements. That was over 20 years ago, so think of what might be considered nowadays!

The years will never catch up with Irie Man for many reasons. He sails with the wind, he rides with the waves and he moves with the times. Some people might even add five young children to keep him young, active and innovative. His battle cry is “Action man” and his dynamic is boundless and infectious. His DeAction Surf Shop at Silver Sands Beach is his base camp, but his kingdom is the beach and the waters that surround our island. He’s probably seen more of it than anyone and he is still fit enough to compete with athletes half his age and to paddle around the island hours ahead of anyone in the annual SUP Race. Brian Talma had the talent to create his own brand and the drive and enthusiasm to take it all over the world. Irie Man has been a wonderful asset to Barbados sports tourism and he continues to exude everything that is good about Barbados, Barbados beach culture and its people. He’s a one-off!


Team Harrison’s Cave is a Proven Winner Harrison’s Cave Marketing Manager Veronica Millington may not be at the forefront of sports tourism when compared to organizers of the major international events, but when it comes to everyday attractions that are happening in Barbados her team is right up there with the best. Team Harrison’s Cave takes you to the hidden delights of the cave some 160 feet below the surface. The Harrison’s Cave marketing team call their gem the “8th Wonder of the World” and there’s no doubt the spectacular display of speleogens, stalactites, stalagmites, fossils, lakes, rivers and huge ghostly amphitheatres is the island’s most treasured natural attraction. It may not be sport, but it is certainly leisure that has attracted many local and visiting sports people amongst them many top cricketers and entertainment superstars Rihanna, Katie Perry, Chris Brown and Fantasia. It’s something the cave’s Marketing Manager feels goes hand in hand with sports tourism; “It is a great break from the hustle and bustle associated with big sporting events. When visitors come to the island for cricket, watersports, golf and boxing tournaments, and other events, their families and friends who accompany them still need some fun and recreation before or after the sporting event. Many groups stay on in Barbados for a few days to take in the site, sounds and


flavours of Barbados as a destination, and this is where attractions like ours fit comfortably into their overall island experience. And it is an activity where you can do as much or as little as you wish; from soft adventure to more exciting rugged treks through the cave.” The main cave is situated in Welchman’s Gully in St. Thomas and while it was known for hundreds of years it was never really “discovered” and developed until 1974 when Danish cave explorer Ole Sorensen and local explorers Tony Mason and Alison Thornhill delved deep into its dark and mysterious environs. Crawling through narrow waterways and jagged rocks with water percolating through wet greasy cracks in almost total darkness will seems a million miles away from the modern experience where visitors are bussed around in comfortable trams along wide carefully sculptured tunnels. The cave was first opened to the public in 1981 and has grown from strength to strength. Today the knowledgeable guides are able to highlight many of the magnificent features of these crystallized limestone galleries because of strategically placed lights and of course there are several stops for posed pictures. However, the whole 46-minute journey down into the cave is a unique photo opportunity where many of the silhouettes and uncanny sculptures look like a sunken shipwreck that has been sitting peacefully at the bottom of the sea for years. Nothing happens quickly in the cave world and some of the most striking features are thousands of years old and while stalactites dropping from the ceiling of the caves look relatively close to their stalagmite partners below, it may take over 20,000 years before they join. The Harrison’s Cave experience has been a proven winner with sports groups for many

years. Group discounts are offered and the journey up into rural St. Thomas either by coach or car is like an island tour in its own right. The complex is a modern tourist attraction with plenty of innovative and branded products and local craft to purchase and a small shopping village with a bar-restaurant. The drop from Reception level to the entrance of the cave and the shopping village is by lift although the more energetic visitors can still descend by pathway. The descent is also an exhilarating experience as the gully is a magnificent natural phenomenon and many groups and individuals also avail of the eco-tours that are offered. The whole Harrison’s Cave experience is user-friendly to all age groups and to every age level although children have to be supervised and accompanied by adults. Inside the cave there’s a “don’t touch” policy to preserve these wonderful natural artefacts, but there’s plenty of opportunity to wet your hands in the streams, lakes and waterfalls at the set stops. Harrison’s Cave is a “must see” for all visitors and Veronica Millington feels it plays an important part in sports tourism and could play an even bigger part if the all the parties involved harnessed their efforts to promote the island; “We are all industry partners and if we could work together to create itinerary options for sports groups and individuals everyone will benefit. Visitors would welcome a full vacation package that includes dining, accommodations, island tours, attractions and activities. It would be amazing and let visitors see the best that Barbados has to offer as a destination and hopefully see many of them return with family and friends in the future. The Harrison’s Cave team is committed to playing our part.”

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The explosion in fun running all over the world has been embraced in Barbados and particularly in the showpiece event of the year-The Run Barbados Series. This unique event started back in 1983 with the Marathon and 10K races and amongst the many competitors were serious athletes and club runners, many from overseas combining an exotic holiday with their chosen sport. The global fun running craze hadn’t started by then although marathon running was popular and had a high profile within the athletics world. From the outset the Run Barbados Series took off and although the culture of the modern event has considerably changed in recent years the combination of fun running with competitive running works well with all the participants. The high profile of the Run Barbados Series owes much to the former athletes who put in on the map with some stirring performances on the road and heaps of praise for the event off it. Two legends stand head and shoulders above others in this respect, namely former England long distance runner Hugh Jones and the diminutive little Boston runner Kim Goff. Both have become icons in the Run Barbados Series, Jones as much for his promotion of the event as his running and in a similar way Goff for her love and passion for the island. Her record of ten marathon wins is phenomenal and her popularity amongst her fellow competitors and the spectators is unrivalled. The Series has been blessed with the

participation of a wide range of fine athletes dating back to 1983 when the charismatic Australian Rob de Castella won the 10K. Castella was later to distinguish himself as a multiple Olympian and world marathon champion and his presence alone gave the rest of the world a taste of the Run Barbados Event. Many fine athletes have followed in his wake including the powerful Africans Kipkoskel, Richard Kessio and Catherine Ndereba. And we should never forget the impressive Caribbean contribution from Victor Ledger of St. Lucia, Pamenos Ballantyne from St. Vincent and Ronnie Holassie from Trinidad and Tobago. Add a plethora of fine Barbados runners and they have all made a huge contribution to the competitive part of the Run Barbados Series. However, there’s just as much emphasis on the fun running element in the modern era as health and fitness awareness is now at their highest peak worldwide and many people have taken to running to be fitter and healthier. Three years ago the organizers embraced the change in running trends and the need to rejuvenate a successful, but ‘tired’ event that showed relatively little change after 25 years. The number of entrants to the marathon had declined and the logistics in staging the event were challenging, so it was removed and other events added. The current series includes a range of races and fun events that capture the passion of a wider group of runners, including serious and casual participants. This has boosted the numbers of overseas participants,

particularly club runners, who travel in groups and combine their running with a pre-Christmas Caribbean holiday. The fun running element of the Run Barbados Series is strong and it embraces charity. Many of the runners run for specific charities and the event has two designated charities, namely The Barbados Cancer Society and the Little Pink Gift Foundation. Schools and runners of all age groups can now participate and the fun run/walk on Friday evening gets the series off to a terrific start. The events now embrace swimming and running and team challenges where companies and clubs can compete in groups against each other. One of the biggest attractions of the Run Barbados Series to overseas visitors is the opportunity to see the island and run through the streets of Bridgetown, a traditional old colonial seaport rich in culture and antiquity. The Friday event is centred on Dover and the bustling nightlife around St Lawrence Gap, while the swimming event makes use of the excellent facilities at the Aquatic Centre at Wildey. However, most of the events start and finish at the Esplanade overlooking beautiful Carlisle Bay and close to the Prime Minister’s official quarters. It is also a wonderful place to plunge into the sea on Sunday morning after completing the race and soothe away any aches and pains. The Run Barbados Series is traditionally held over the first weekend in December and more information can be obtained from the website


DAVIS CUP HEROES! Barbados tennis reached new heights last September when the national team defeated favourites Mexico in a play-off to reach the Americas Zone Group 1 and a place in the 1st round proper of the 2015 Davis Cup. It was an enthralling encounter at the National Tennis Centre at Wildey and the locals made heavy work of their victory going 2-1 down after the doubles. However, on the third day Darian King and Hayden Lewis played the games of their lives to win the last two rubbers and secure an epic victory

in front of a jubilant and partisan local crowd. While King and Lewis were the principals on this historic occasion the other team members were Kevin Yarde, Russell Moseley and Seanon Williams. The win enabled Barbados to mix it with the great Davis Cup nations in the world when major sponsors BNP Paribas made the draw two weeks later in Dubai. In the draw Barbados was coupled with Dominican Republic on 6-8 March 2015.















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