The Barbados Netball Association (BNA) has no need to worry about funding to facilitate the national under-21 team’s tour to Botswana for the 2017 World Youth Netball Championship.
That assurance was given Sunday to BNA president Nisha Craigwell and others present by interim chief executive officer of the National Sports Council (NSC), Jerry Blenman, during the 37th annual Barbados Workers Union Netball Tournament’s opening ceremony at the Netball Stadium.
Last week Craigwell made a plea to private and public sector for assistance for her charges for what is expected to be one of the biggest, and most expensive tournaments, the Under-19 team will be undertaking. But during his feature address in the presence of general secretary of the BWU Toni Moore and assistant general secretary Orlando “Gabby” Scott, Blenman said that the NSC “would ensure that our local gems get the necessary funding needed” to play at the World Youth Netball Championship in Botswana next year.
In acknowledging the value of the tour to Botswana, Blenman also stressed the importance of developmental competitions such as the BWU tournament. He noted that as an effort was made to place sport in the national development agenda, the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport was cognisant of the vital role which BWU played annually towards achieving that goal.
“One way also to achieve this is to make sports a way of life at the community level. Such action will not take impetus from the participating teams in sports, but will push the button as far as the development of communities and young people are concerned,” Blenman said, while encouraging participants to play with discipline and respect.
During her remarks Craigwell said the BWU’s competition was an important extension of the BNA’s regular netball season. She thanked the union for its continued support and contribution to netball.
Craigwell spoke on the outstanding performance recently of the under-21 team in St Maarteen where they qualified in first position for the World Youth Championship and explained that the airfare for one person to Botswana was over BDS$6 100 and therefore would amount to more than $100, 000 needed to send the Barbados players to the African nation. She appealed once again to all Barbadians, especially corporate Barbados, to make a contribution.
“We want to win. We want our athletes to do well and we want to be successful and this can only be made possible when we come together and make this happen and your financial contributions are all welcome,” Craigwell said.
There are 32 teams participating in this year’s competition with six of those being newcomers. They are Elite, Bacchanal Time Momentum Ballers, the Avengers, Mint Finish Construction, Progressive Ballers, Oklahoma Strikers and Suckoo Ballers. The 32 teams will compete in four zones, namely Leroy Trotman, Linda Brooks, Ulric Sealy and Gabby Scott Zones where they will vie for the chance to dethrone league queens Spooners Hill and knockout champions Brittons Hill Combined respectively.