Barbados will be aiming to finish in the top three when the Junior badminton team take to the courts next week in the 2013 CAREBACO Regional Championships to be held in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
The juniors narrowly missed out on a medal position last year in the team competition in the Dominican Republic, placing fourth, but manager Carolyn Vaughan is confident that the U19 team has the ability to medal this year. The team has been hard at work in the practice sessions under coach Shakiera Waithe and are ready for the competition.
Within the individual tournament, she also believes that the Under-11 age group of Kayla Miller, Mackenzie Howard and brothers Keenan and Dominick Scantlebury will do extremely well, along with the current Under-15 national triple champion Shae Martin.
Amanda Haywood is another medal hopeful as she won gold, along with 2 silver medals at the last championships. Vaughan added her expectations were two-fold, as she was also focusing on many of younger players for the developmental aspect of their game as many of them were making their debut at the regional level.
“We want to see where they progress, so that on our return, we can then go from there and see how best we can take them to the next level.”
The team will leave on Saturday and will know their group stage opponents when the draws are done upon arrival.
Under-19 singles national champion Sabeel Foster will captain the team. The 17-year-old Harrison College student, who is to pursue an engineering degree, stated he took pride in the honour bestowed on him and was happy to be able to lead the players to the tournament.
He said he expected the team to medal but added he did not want a bronze, but only silver or gold, because he wanted the team to make the final.
“There is only Puerto Rico and Suriname, they are our greatest challenges, but Puerto Rico should be the bigger one,” he said.
He added the team preparations were going well, with an emphasis on their speed on court and game preparation. He noted that personally he had to work on regaining his fitness level, as he was ill a few weeks back, but he was back up and ready to go.
Unfortunately, the senior team will not have the opportunity to better the bronze medal earned last year in the Dominician Republic as team competition was cancelled by the CAREBACO organisers due to a lack of entries.
The players will however still compete in the Individual tournament which will include a number of international players. They will have all to play for as this tournament serves as the second qualifier for consideration to the Commonwealth Games next year in Glasgow, Scotland.
The seniors are scheduled to leave September 9.
Under 11: Kayla Miller, Mackenzie Howard, Keenan Scantlebury, Dominick Scantlebury
Under 13: Nicholas Howard, Joshua Archer, Shomari Smith, Aren Cupples
Under 15: Shae Martin, Gavin Robinson, Kyle Wood, Nicholas Sobers, Amanda Haywood
Under 17: Daniel Duncan, Jaleel Arthur, Onika Moe
Under 19: Sabeel Foster, Cory Fanus, D’Andre Thorpe, Derion Hurley
Manager/Coach: Carolyn Vaughn
Coach: Shakeira Waithe
Females: Mariama Eastmond, Shari Hope, Tamisha Williams, Monyata Riviera
Males: Bradley Pilgrim, Andre Padmore, Dakiel Thorpe, Jade Browne