Five to carry Barbados' badminton hopes
Competition will be intense when the Pan American Junior Championship takes place in August but Barbados’ five-member badminton team are ready for the battle.
hakeira Waithe is confident that the team that comprise of Amanda Haywood, Shae Martin, Mackenzie Howard, Dominick Scantlebury and Kenny King can capture some silverware when the August 2 to 9 tournament comes off in Mexico.
“It is a tough competition but every time we go, we go knowing that the competition is going to be very high so we leave it all on the court. We know we got to go out there and work hard, stay focused and just do our best each and every time. The aim is to go out there and bring back some sort of hardware.
“We know the competition is going to be very hard because it is Pan Am. We are not familiar with the South American players but who we are familiar with we will work on,” said Waithe, while expressing pleasure with the way training had been going.
Waithe explained: “Before summer camp there was a challenge getting the court as we would have liked. But once summer camp started they [juniors] were able to play everyday, so a lot more [work] was done. They are practising hard, doing their physical, along with mental training, because every practice session we try to make it competitive leading up to the championship so that they would know what to expect.”
The Pan Am championship has been around for over three decades and Waithe said even though they have a few good players in the singles, when it came to doubles they tended to put up a greater fight.
Amanda Haywood told Barbados TODAY from past experience it had been a tough competition. But she added she would be seeking to win her first medal when she competes in the under-17 division in both the singles and mixed doubles in which she will be teaming up with Martin. He is currently training overseas.
“I haven’t seen or done any homework where my opponents are concerned but I trained everyday this week and I am really looking forward to the mixed doubles with Shae. We basically know one another both on and off court,” said 15-year-old Haywood who is the reigning under-19 national champion.
Harrison College student Dominick Scantlebury is also looking to put on a good show and if the under-13 boys national champ has his way the broken trident will be flown high with a medal around his neck.
“I am just training and putting in the hard work and I hope that when I go to Pan Am Juniors all that I put in could come out. I think that I have put in enough work and I am just about going and doing my best to bring back gold,” said the 12-year-old who will be teaming up with King in the male doubles.
King is also another national champion in the under-15 division and he expressed that preparation had been going well with Scantlebury but there were a few things that needed to be ironed out between him and his partner.
“We have been working well but we need to cut out all of the mistakes that we have been making because we have not been communicating as much as we would like. But once we can communicate then we should do well,” said King who is the more experienced of the two.
Under-13 queen Mackenzie Howard said she was excited to be a part of the team and hoped to medal in all her events. This will be her first year competing at the games. The team departs on Sunday and brothers Nicholas and Dominic Howard will also be travelling with the team but it is not certain whether they will compete.