Barbados Paralympic team to train in Medway and University of Kent
5 May 2009
Barbados' Paralympic team have signed a deal to prepare for the London 2012 Games at Medway, the first such agreement involving a region in the South East.
The Paralympic Association of Barbados has signed a memorandum of understanding with the council and the south East region.
Howard Doe, Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Community Services, said: "We are delighted that the Paralympic Association of Barbados are the first team to enter into a training camp agreement with Medway.
"We have a huge amount to offer international teams and Medway Park will be a first-class facility for the Barbados team’s preparations for the 2012 Games.
"We very much look forward to working together in a spirit of sporting cooperation over the next three years and beyond."
Barbados is a developing Paralympic nation and hopes to bring a small team of athletes and swimmers to the 2012 Games.
At the Paralympics in Beijing last year the Caribbean country was represented by a single swimmer, David Taylor, who was knocked out in the heats of both the 50 metres freestyle and the 100m breaststroke.
Taylor was only the second athlete to represent Barbados in the Paralympics since the country made its debut at the Games in 2000.
The other was Daniel Coulthurst, who competed in cycling in 2000 and 2004.
Barbados also keen to develop the blind sport of goalball and to access coaching and sports science expertise.
Discussions with the Paralympic Association began in Beijing during the 2008 Paralympic Games.
Association President and Secretary, Wesley and Maureen Worrell subsequently visited Medway on Monday to view the training and support facilities on offer.
Wesley Worrell said: "It was a pleasure to visit Medway and see all the progress and expectations that are planned and it was so inspiring to see the team's excitement.
"We were very pleased to sign the memorandum of understanding because we can see future growth between the two countries and hopefully beyond 2012."
Padraig Herlihy, the South East Development Agency's (SEEDA) manager for the 2012 Games, said: "Pre-Games training camps offer the prospect of a huge range of links between communities in the south east, such as Medway, and countries around the world.
"Medway’s preparations to welcome countries to train for the 2012 Games have been excellent.
"It is therefore appropriate that they are the first community in the region to sign a memorandum of understanding with a particular country.
"I am sure that a number of other countries will soon follow the lead provided by Barbados and sign up with Medway."
Medway Park, the £11 million centre of sporting excellence being created on the site of the existing Black Lion Leisure Centre in Gillingham, has been approved as a training venue for eight Paralympic sports and 13 Olympic sports.
The development, scheduled for completion early in 2010, includes a new eight-lane athletics track, an accessible health and fitness suite and an on-site sports science and therapy centre run by the University of Kent.
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