Netball SOS


It is a tall order but the Barbados Netball Association (BNA) intends to raise more than BDS$100 000 in order to compete at the World Youth Netball Championship (WYNC) in Gaborone, Botswana next year.

The Bajan Gems’ outstanding performance at the just concluded Americas Federation of Netball Association Under-21 Netball qualifiers held in St Marteen earned them a ticket to the African continent.

Members of the Barbados Under-21 netball team.
Members of the Barbados Under-21 netball team.

Barbados came out on top in the under-21qualifiers after playing unbeaten in six games to secure 12 points overall ahead of second placed Trinidad and Tobago with ten and Grenada eight, as they joined Jamaica who automatically qualified after capturing bronze at the last WYNC in Glasgow, Scotland, in 2013.

Even though the BNA’s bank account does not have that type of figure in it, if any at all, president Neisha Craigwell assured that her organization would go all out to ensure the players got the best of everything they needed in order to stand a good chance of doing well in Botswana.

“If you look at it realistically we are moving out of the region into Africa. We are going on the other side of the globe so if I am to put a cost to it with everything our athletes need including diet, uniforms, airfares, meals, accommodation and all the other things that we would need for our athletes, it will amount to that figure.

“We don’t have any money, we are a non-profit organization so whenever we return from a tournament whether it is in the region or elsewhere our bank account is drained. So we are basically starting from scratch. The Barbados Olympic Association and National Sports Council have always been good to us and they are the ones that normally put the brunt of the money into any venture as it relates to our national programmes. But we recognized a long time ago we cannot sit back and rely on those two entities alone,” said Craigwell who appealed to corporate Barbados for assistance.

BNA president Neisha Craigwell.
BNA president Neisha Craigwell.

She explained that they have always sought the help of corporate Barbados in the past and would continue to do so, but also pleaded with anyone who might be willing to sponsor a player independently to do so.

Barbados placed seventh at the 2013 youth championship in Glasgow, Scotland and Craigwell strongly believes this particular team has what it takes to come much better this time around but pointed to that fact that the conditions under which they train are not ideal.

The president told Barbados TODAY that the girls currently train at the Netball Stadium three days a week on asphalt and that often resulted in many of them having shin splints. According to her the ideal surface would be a sprung floor after she reminisced on how the players often struggled with their breathing especially during their recent outing in St Marteen.

Craigwell said the Kensington Bond was better than the current venue at which they train but the temporary home to sports that caters to at least 50 other sporting organizations, is in high demand and therefore BNA had to step in line.

“We have been struggling to find the right locations for the players to train so we really need to get them on the right surfaces so that they can get their breathing and stuff right and that was a real struggle for us. Even playing in St Marteen it was tough on the young ladies’ bodies. At the end of each quarter they literally had to go outside of the arena to recover and that is not good and we are not going to have the luxury of running outside of the arena at an international tournament. So we need to have the right condition so that our players can just concentrate on playing because they would have the experience necessary to do Barbados proud.

“The Kensington Bond would be the ideal location to train. At the moment we are playing on asphalt but a sprung floor is so much better. If we do get to practise on a sprung floor and then have to go back to asphalt surfaces, that will not be good for the longevity of our athletes,” Craigwell lamented.

One Response to Netball SOS

  1. Sue Donym September 10, 2016 at 1:38 pm

    Well done, Under 21 Gems!

    How serious are we when similar woes are heard prior to each major tournament? Do the sporting organisations even get to put their plans and policies before the ministry of Sport in a truly interactive and meaningful way?

    The Minister of Sport was in Rio for the Olympics and made a speech about how important it is to support our athletes. It is convenient that Culture and Youth fall (no pun intended) under the same minister, as most forward thinking countries understand that youth development has much to do with stimulation and growth of mind and body.

    It’s no coincidence that well developed nations have continual programmes that encourage young people to be poised, well-spoken, physically fit and exposed to social graces. It does not hurt that people are able to earn and mentor by their involvement.

    Competition does more than select winners – in very tangible ways, we cannot afford not to develop sport and other team activities. We also have to socialise ‘losers’, get participants accustomed to working together and understanding rules and ethics.

    There are surely a few conferences, official vehicles and cocktail parties that we could do without in order to help finance youth development, while at the same time providing appropriate facilities to help avoid injuries that could have long lasting effects. It need not be our sport or our children for us to see that positively occupied, disciplined, confident children are less likely to be distracted by negative activities. In fact, it’s often shown that well rounded youngsters are most likely to be successful citizens.

    Let’s get our priorities in order. Our nation deserves it.


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