FROM LEFT: Barbados Olympic Association President Sandra Osborne, Nanyo City Mayor Takao Shiraiwa; and Japanese Ambassador Teruhiko Shinada show off the signed agreement yesterday at the Barbados Olympic Centre.

Barbados strikes accord with Japanese city

Barbados joined a short list of Caribbean countries that are up for pre-game hostings for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, when they signed a Basic Agreement with the City of Nanyo yesterday.

With the duties marking one of her first since taking up the post, newly-elected Barbados Olympic Association (BOA) President Sandra Osborne, and Nanyo City Mayor, Takao Shiraiwa, signed and exchanged copies of the accord which will see the Barbadian team living and training in the Yamagata Prefecture town for two weeks prior to the Games.

With the signing taking place at the Barbados Olympic Centre, President Osborne called it an important day for Olympic sport in Barbados, adding that the athletes would be spending the time training and getting themselves ready to face the conditions in the July-August Games.

“This offer will allow our athletes in different disciplines to become acclimatised to conditions in Japan prior to Tokyo 2020. We are all aware of how important to an athlete's performance it is to acclimate to local conditions and this training camp will provide that invaluable opportunity. We are very grateful to the Mayor for traveling to Barbados with his delegation to meet with us to sign this agreement of cooperation and to start our planning. The BOA has for many years had a close relationship with Japan in sport and we are confident that this is the start of a lasting relationship between Nanyo City and ourselves.”

Osborne also went on to state that the BOA officials would be taking a first-hand look at the City and its facilities next year after attending the Association of National Olympic Committees General Assembly in Tokyo.

Japanese Ambassador to Barbados Teruhiko Shinada was also in attendance and he highlighted the importance of the signing as it coincided with the 50th anniversary of Barbados/Japan relations. “As Ambassador of Japan to Barbados, I am extremely delighted by today's signing because this event represents a significant step for the strengthening of the friendly relations between Japan and Barbados; and also because we have reached to this point in the very year of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between our two countries,” Shinada said.

With Jamaica and the Dominican Republic as the only other territories from the region that have secured pre-game hostings, Shinada went on to say that Barbados situation was a special.

“While there are already a number of host towns in Japan for various countries participating in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, small countries like Barbados oftentimes face great difficulty in finding host towns of their own. However, in the case of Barbados, owing to personal relations from within my embassy with the region to which the city belongs, Nanyo City volunteered to be the host town for Barbados,” the Ambassador said.

Speaking through Interpreter and Promotion for Host Town Project Member, Barbadian Dawn Springer, Mayor Shiraiwa said that he was pleased to host the Barbados team and wished them the best.

“This year, Nanyo City celebrates 50 years since its founding and at the same time Barbados and Japan celebrate 50 years of international relations. Therefore, being able to promote the host town initiative at this time is a stroke of fate. Hereafter, with our sights set on 50 years or even 100 years in the future, I would like to be active in deepening the bond and strengthening the understanding between our two countries. We are praying that the 2020 Olympics will become a wonderful opportunity for the country of Barbados. We will do all we can to support you,” Shiraiwa said. (MP)

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