AstroTurf for 2015?
Hockey Federation has high hopes for next year
The Barbados Hockey Federation (BHF) has one important New Year’s wish.
And it is hoping both the Barbados Olympic Association (BOA) and Government can make their dream come true.
It might be long overdue, but president of the BHF, David Rouse, is hoping that 2015 turns out to be the magical year in which the federation acquires a new hockey AstroTurf.
In a state of disrepair since 2011, the unavailability of an AstroTurf has significantly hampered the development of the sport on the island.
Its absence has also led to the slow demise of the Barbados International Hockey Festival, which is now struggling to attract overseas participants and is just a shadow of its former self.
In an interview with Barbados TODAY, Rouse admitted that while a new AstroTurf was supposed to have been laid earlier this year, he was optimistic it would be completed early in the New Year.
“We have made a decision to write the BOA – because they are negotiating with the other parties on our behalf – to get an update on the situation.
“We were supposed to have had the AstroTurf in 2014, but that didn’t turn out as well as we would have expected. So I am hoping that better things will happen in the New Year,” Rouse explained.
“The BHF had high hopes in 2014, and we are not giving up hope in 2015. I am an optimist and I am hoping that we can get the turf in time for next year’s Festival.”
With the Festival set to celebrate its 30th anniversary in 2015, he insisted its longevity hinged on the BHF’s ability to secure the AstroTurf.
Rouse, the president for the past three years, revealed that at its height, the Festival was regarded as one of the top five hockey competitions in the world, and attracted between 15-20 international teams.
This year only four overseas teams attended the event, which was held on the grassy surface of Kensington Oval.
To make matters worse, Banks ended their 28-year sponsorship of the Festival.
“If we don’t get an AstroTurf for our 30th edition, that will have a big impact on our plans,” he assured.
“In terms of participation, I’m not sure if we will be able to attract more international teams than we did this year if we don’t get the turf.
“While I would say this year’s competition, which was held at Kensington Oval, was a success, I strongly believe that without an AstroTurf, teams will start to shift their attention to other Festivals in the region. So I think it is imperative that we get the Turf if we are to keep the Festival alive,” Rouse added.