That is how World Go-As-You-Please draughts player John ‘Jack’ Francis felt about not being named as one of the 25 Barbadian sporting icons who were recognized during a special ceremony entitled a Night with the Stars held last Saturday night at Hilton Hotel.
Francis said he felt his dedication, commitment and hard work have been thrown down the drain by not having such an award accorded to him.
“Apart from Ronald ‘Suki’ King, on statistics I am the most decorated draughts player in Barbados. Apart from Suki I am the only other contender who has brought honour to Barbados in the field of draughts. It hurts me sometimes and not that I am trying to discredit any of the nominees, but I just feel that I have done overwhelmingly more than [some] and therefore I have more merit to be on that nomination list of sporting icons.
“When you can attain a challenger position it goes to show that I have reached the top because without a champion there is no challenger. So it is obvious then that you are at the very top and it is the only chance you get to be a champion by being a challenger and I have proven that by reaching the top in my field. I am the only Barbadian apart from Suki who has played for world titles. So statistics like these are proof I am second to none in my field over twenty-five years now,” Francis said.
Those that were rewarded included Francis’ main rival and 15-time World Go-As-You-Please draughts champion King. The others included Sir Garfield Sobers, Sir Wes Hall, Sir Everton Weekes, Sir Austin Sealy, Gordon Greenidge, Desmond Haynes, Patrick Husbands, Obadele Thompson, Darian King, Roger Skeete, Jim Wedderburn, Joel Garner, Brian Talma, Leah Stancil nee Martindale, Akela Jones, Andrea Blackett, Ryan Brathwaite, Darcy Beckles, Philip Als, Randall Valdez, Freida Nicholls, Tyson Browne, Julian White and Kim Holder.
Based on the names put forward Barbados TODAY understands that six local sporting federations inclusive of basketball, football, volleyball, netball, cycling and chess were not among the awardees.
Going on the assumption that the Barbados Draughts Association had some role in the decision-making and selection process of King being recognized for his invaluable contribution to the sport, Francis, who began playing the sport in 1991, said frankly he believed the association was shortsighted, forgetful and lacked attention to detail.
“I just feel this void and I can’t see how it is possible I have been overlooked in the first place for such an honour. I just can’t see it because sometimes when I sit back and think about it I ask myself what more then must I do because world champion is not all but you can reach the top of your field without becoming a world champion.
“I have medalled several times with consistency. That is the key proving then that I was not medalling by fluke or by chance. It was done with overwhelming consistency over the years. There are no other draughts players near the class of Suki or myself. So therefore I thought that the draughts fraternity should have nominated another nominee or candidate apart from Suki and that nominee should have been Jack Francis and that is my contention,” Francis expressed openly.