Barbados is preparing for two significant events that will further raise its already burgeoning cache for hosting magnificent sporting occasions.
The third Caribbean Awards Sports Icons ceremony coincides with the Commonwealth Boxing Council having its annual general meeting in Bridgetown in November with a week of activities involved.
CASI founder Al Hamilton, MBE, was recently in Barbados tying up arrangements for the sports awards at the Hilton Hotel in Bridgetown on 29 November, an event that is gaining enormous kudos.
“Having CASI in conjunction with the boxing council’s meeting is a major boost towards what we’re trying to do,” Hamilton said. “This is an ideal time for the government and corporate Barbados to get on board in developing sports.”
CASI also plans a Caribbean American Zonal Championship boxing bout during that week and other events including cricket, football and basketball.
Barbadian light-welterweight Miguel ‘Hands of Stone’ Antoine will make the first defence of his title. He became the inaugural champ in February after outpointing the previously unbeaten Guyanese Mark Austin to take his own record to 14-0, including nine KOs.
Hamilton created CASI to recognise the achievements of the region’s many sporting legends. The first one was in Jamaica in 2008, then the Bahamas the following year. Greats like Usain Bolt, Brian Lara, Sir Garfield Sobers and Mike McCallum have already been honoured.
“The whole idea of CASI is two-fold because it is to highlight the achievement of our past sporting personalities at the highest level and also to encourage the young to attain those heights,” Hamilton said.
Nominees in 12 different categories are put forward to be voted for by a group of the region’s sports journalists, headed by Jamaica Gleaner sports writer Tony Becca. A raft of supporters from England always attend these awards which really have the effect of pulling like-minded people together.
The nominees are then invited to attend the awards ceremony, where the winners are announced. Past attendees include world champion boxers Emile Griffiths and Mike McCallum, cricketer Jimmy Adams, greats from netball, sailing and a host of track champs including Michael Frater. Plenty of sports administrators have attended too, including sports ministers, Jack Warner and Mike Fennell, the Commonwealth Games chief.
Hamilton said: “I am really grateful to the Barbados Tourism Authority for their support and to the Barbados Association of Non-Government Organisations (BANGO). Their collaboration shows that they share with me a vision for the way forward in the region. I’d also like to thank Divi South Winds Resorts for accommodating the delegates.
“I’m also in advance negotiations with Virgin Atlantic who supported CASI in 2008 and Digicel.”