Shari Watson will captain an experienced four-member badminton squad at the 2014 Commonwealth Games to be held in Glasgow, Scotland. The team, which also includes Mariama Eastmond, Dakeil Thorpe and Andre Padmore, will leave the island on July 17 and return August 5. The squad will be managed by Janelle Denny with Athelstone Forde as head coach.
The players will compete in the mixed team competition, women’s and men’s singles divisions and the women’s, men’s and mixed doubles divisions.
Watson is in her third successive Commonwealth outing, having previously gone to Australia in 2006 and India in 2010. Eastmond also makes her third appearance at this level (Manchester 2002, India 2010). The youngest member of the team, Thorpe, 24, will be attending his second straight games and Padmore is making his second appearance after being at the 2002 games in Manchester. He makes the team after the late injury to Bradley Pilgrim. The draws for the pool play have yet to be set, but the team competition will begin on July 24 and all other divisions will start on July 29 with the competition concluding August 3. Each will play in the respective categories, while in the mixed doubles, Watson will partner with Padmore and Thorpe with Eastmond.
The sport will also have the privilege of having two members officiating at the games. Kelvin Martin, who has officiated at the Olympics, will make his second appearance umpiring at the Commonwealth level, while Gloria Chung will assume the duties of line judging for the second time in her career on behalf of the Commonwealth Games Federation.
Members of the team got some pre-Commonwealth Games warm-up action when they competed in the SOLO Senior & Masters Open Badminton Championships over the weekend at Central Regional Indoor Sport Arena in Chaguanas, Trinidad and Tobago.
Eastmond and Shari Hope took the women’s title defeating Gina Balwant and Stephanie Mitchell 21-1, 21-4, while the new pairing of Padmore and Thorpe were crowned the men’s champions showing great determination and nerves of steel to defeat Keston Friday and Kerwyn Pantin 14-21, 23-21, 21-15.
In the mixed division, it was an all Bajan affair with the pair of Eastmond and Thorpe getting the upper hand this time around on the national champions Watson and Padmore taking the match in two straight games 22-20, 21-17.
Head coach Forde stated he believed the players had tremendous potential and he was pleased with the results as the team worked well together and were focused during the competition.