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Badminton mission

Barbadian players going for championship

It’s strictly business for Barbados’ badminton players who left the island this weekend to compete at the Caribbean and Regional Badminton Championship being held in the Dominican Republic.

A contingent of 20 juniors and six seniors is representing the ultra-marine, gold and black at the August 24 to 31 competition and Barbados men’s captain, Andre Padmore, told Barbados TODAY it had been a while since they won, especially the team event, and with that in mind they knew exactly what needed to be done.

Barbados’ junior badminton players are all smiles before leaving for the Dominican Republic. (Pictures by Morissa Lindsay)

Barbados’ junior badminton players are all smiles before leaving for the Dominican Republic. (Pictures by Morissa Lindsay)

“I think the team is much stronger this year because last year we missed our men’s double champion Bradley Pilgrim to injury and also Dakeil Thorpe who played Commonwealth and was unable to participate. But with their return I do believe we will play in the finals of the team event and we are definitely going all out to bring back the gold to Barbados.

“I think the guys are focused and we have been training for the last couple of weeks early on mornings and late at nights. So everyone has paid their dues and know what is expected,” Padmore said, while not disputing the fact they will have stiff competition on their hands especially from team Jamaica.

He added: “It’s a new look Jamaican team this year and we just have to strategize on the day to see how we can get the edge on them because they are usually very strong competitors,” said Padmore who is the reigning national men’s champion.

Captain of the female team Tamisha Williams is also confident about their chances and said it was just a matter of finding consistency since they had played their various opponents before.

“Our team is pretty strong we have been performing pretty well in the regional tournament in previous years and I think we should do well again this year. We played these countries before so it is just a matter of consistency and keeping our heads in the game because badminton is one of those unpredictable games. You can be ready to play until the day so it is more a mental game than physical so you just have to be ready to perform,” said the local badminton queen.

Members of Barbados’ senior badminton team.

Members of Barbados’ senior badminton team.

The juniors also have a pretty good chance of performing well according to coach Caroline Vaughan who said preparation had been coming along well.

“They have been preparing for the tournament since last year September and basically we have been trying to get their physicals up and then the technical work. However we had a slight problem with court area because as you know once July steps in there is no activity in the Gymnasium because of Crop Over. So between May and July we were without a facility but luckily when the National Sports Council’s camp started we had them in training for at least the entire six weeks so they got in some court time.

“Going into the championship they should have a good chance in the individuals. Our under-seventeen boy and girl who are Shae Martin and Amanda Haywood I think their chances of getting a medal would be kind of good. Like I said to these kids, they are going very far and the level of play is going to be extremely high, nobody is going there to come second, everybody is going there to win so you have to make sure you have your A game on every time you step on the court,” Vaughan said.

Two of the juniors, Krystal Clarke a first-timer and Jehu Gaskin, competing in his third outing, expressed how confident they were ahead of the tournament.

Gaskin, a 15-year-old student of Queen’s College told Barbados TODAY: “With the training regimen, I have a pretty good chance of bringing home gold, so I will play as hard as I can and do my best. I must say I play doubles pretty well because I have a very attacking mentality when it comes to playing doubles as opposed to being a little passive when it comes to playing singles. So if I don’t accomplish a medal in singles I can always fall back on doubles which is my strong area of the game.”

Meanwhile, Clarke also 15, from the St Michael School said: “I feel nervous and excited at the same time but I am happy to be able to represent my country in a sport that I like. I just hope to gain experience and implement what my coaches tell me into my game in order to improve and become better and I really hope this tournament will make me better.”

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