Sharma’s eyes set on Olympics

Priyanka Sharma will grace the ice for Barbados in the Peruvian Ice Skating Federation’s inaugural Latin American Regional Inter-club competition from November 3 to 5 in Lima, Peru.

The 17-year-old junior amateur figure skater, who was born to a Bajan mother, is based in Ontario, Canada, but has high hopes of representing Barbados at the 2026 Winter Olympics in the Italian cities of Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo.

To aid in her journey and possibly create new paths for young enthusiastic skaters, parents Raj and Tracey Sharma have recently formed the Barbados Ice Skating Association (BSA), sending out a clarion call to all ice skaters of Barbadian descent.

Raj is the president of the association, while Tracey is the advisor to the board of directors.

“Currently, we are working with the Skateboard Association of Barbados as we identify individuals who would be interested in transitioning from ground to ice. The BSA is in the process of seeking membership in the International Skating Union (ISU). One of the requirements is to build your team of skaters who may just be starting out, or have been skating for many years,” said Tracey.

“There is no need for skaters to relocate or change what they are doing now. It’s about seeking out those individuals, and helping them with a journey. Given the lack of diversity in the sport of ice skating, this is a great way for Barbados to get the exposure and bring that diversity to the sport, just as similar to the Jamaican bobsled team (1988 Winter Olympics). We plan on doing the very same thing to put Barbados on the map as being represented in the winter sports,” she said.

Despite the country’s warm weather and absence of snow and ice-skating rings, the Sharmas are determined to chart a path for Barbados in the Olympic sport.

“What we’re trying to do now is to be able to punch above our weight. Our approach is two-fold, we know that there is a passion for roller skating and speed skating in Barbados, so one avenue is to transition some of those skaters to ice. The other avenue is to identify [persons in] the Barbadian diaspora who may be already doing ice skating in different parts of the world, and see if they would like to represent Barbados at an international level,” said Raj, the president.

“We have two skaters identified already, Priyanka, and speed skater Naila Forde (daughter of former Barbados cyclist Jason Forde) who is 10 years old. She’s also looking to represent BSA as well. We’re looking for interest, excitement, and growth,” he said.

“We’ve been in contact with the Barbados Olympic Association, we’re in contact with the International Skating Union, we’re getting some good support from them already so this is fantastic. It [BSA] was formerly incorporated as a non-profit [organisation] in April, and now we’re trying to go public and make everybody aware of this. We are in discussions with them [BOA] now to be essentially acclaimed as the national association for ice figure skating,” said Raj.

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