Share News reports that Barbados is supporting Toronto’s bid for the 2015 Pan American Games and its Olympic Association president, Steve Stoute, who is also the head of the Caribbean National Olympic Committee (CANOC), expects the 26-member regional bloc will also back Toronto’s bid.
Stoute and Barbados Olympic Association (BOA) secretary general Erskine Simmons discussed Toronto’s bid with local officials and visited some of the proposed Games venues and facilities recently.
Stoute said, “Canada has had a long and healthy relationship with Barbados and several Caribbean countries and there are a number of programs and projects that the BOA is working with Commonwealth Games Canada and the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) to assist us with Olympic sport in Barbados.
“Canada has assisted the region in many other areas and it’s from this perspective that I feel CANOC members should support Toronto’s bid”.
The BOA and the Canadian Olympic Committee reportedly signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) last May that provides a framework for strengthening the sports relationship between Canada and Barbados as well as cooperation in the fields of physical fitness and development of excellence in sports.
Share News reports both national organizations have pledged to develop stronger partnerships between sport federations of Canada and Barbados with athlete development being a key focus area. This includes the free exchange of coaches, officials, trainers, judges, experts and scientists for participation in seminars, course and counselling.
Simmons said, “the MOU emerged from a Barbados executive board decision to approach the COC. They were quite receptive to the idea and we think it will go a long way in developing our sport in Barbados”.
Stout said it’s time for the Games to return to this part of the hemisphere. He said, “I am somewhat prejudicial coming from an English speaking country and we would very much like to see the Games come back to an English speaking destination. Apart from that, Toronto’s infrastructure, diversity, security and excellent facilities along with its accessibility, make it very attractive. There are direct flights between Barbados and other Caribbean countries to Toronto”.
Toronto 2015 has promised to provide extensive television coverage of the Games while no major U.S. network has covered the last three editions of the Games and North American newspaper coverage has been very limited, reports Share News. Stout called this “a very important element” of Toronto’s bid.
The PASO five-member Evaluation Commission will be in Toronto August 30 and 31 to meet with the city’s bid team and visit proposed Games venues and facilities. The commission will assess key elements of the bid and report back to PASO.
The vote for the 2015 Games takes place in Guadalajara, Mexico, hosts of the 2011 Games, in early November. Toronto’s competitors for the 2015 Pan Am Games are Lima, Peru and Bogota, Colombia.