The inaugural 2016 Flow Rugby Barbados World Sevens Tournament promises not only to be exciting but highly competitive, says coordinator Brian Stollmeyer.
Speaking at the launch held this morning at the Barbados Olympic Association [BOA], Stollmeyer said 22 of the best teams around the region and the world had confirmed their participation in the December 10 to 11 competition which will also coincide with the first ever 50th Independence BOA multi-sport games commencing November 16.
Stollmeyer explained that the rugby tournament which began in 1986 and is now in its 30th year had attracted international teams from Canada, United States, Scotland and the Caribbean. He said there were 12 teams battling for supremacy in the men’s showdown including defending champions Esher Lions hailing from England. Meanwhile in the women’s category there are nine teams vying to take down reigning queens Aptoella Angels from Canada.
Stollmeyer announced that the winner of the men’s competition would receive US$150 compared to US$15, 000 cash prize which will be given to the victorious women’s side.
In addition there are 12 international referees coming into the island and will officiate the two days of matches scheduled to be played at the Frederick Smith Secondary School ground and the Trents, St James pasture.
Vice president of the Barbados Rugby Football Union, George Nicholson, said the competition would be held under the patronage of New Zealand High Commission Jan Henderson.
During his remarks he also explained the reason behind not using the customary Garrison Savannah which is the home base for the majority of rugby matches played in Barbados.
“One of our challenges with the Garrison is access before nine thirty [in the morning] because of the training of the horses. We can’t access the facility until after nine thirty which is an hour behind our start time. That was one of the challenges and obviously having persons stay on the South Coast and transporting them all the way to the West Coast is not ideal for a tournament organizer. But the surrounding area of Holetown is not only iconic with the oldest Anglican Church in the western hemisphere, but it offers the participants an easy opportunity between games to go to the beach, restaurant, shop and stimulate the commercial sector.
“The second reason for not using there [Garrison] because they [Frederick Smith and Trents] are two of the best rugby fields in Barbados,” Nicholson said.
Outlining the format for the rugby sevens games, Nicholson explained: “The rugby sevens matches will play for 15 minutes with seven-minute halves and one minute of half-time. There are seven players on the field at any point in time. There is a twenty-minute span between games which means we will have two games going on, one on the main pitch and one on the upper pitch.”
Nicholson revealed that the BOA was in the process of purchasing new bleachers for various sporting organizations.
“Rugby sevens is part of the Independence games. We proposed an initiative to the BOA to purchase some bleachers that can be used by all sporting federations. One of our biggest problems is crowd accommodation where you have a nice event and then everybody standing up on the side lines looking over everybody’s shoulders.
“We want to present a professional face to the world and I am pleased to announce that the BOA has agreed to purchase ten 15-foot bleachers which will be kept at the football turf and they will be available to sporting and cultural bodies to use for events,” Nicholson said.
FLOW corporate communications manager, Alan Harris, said his company remained keen on sport as it reminded one about the importance of value, teamwork, perseverance and how to win with class and lose with dignity.
FLOW are title sponsors with added support from Banks Holdings Limited, Courtesy Garage, Intimate Hotels of Barbados and the Tourism Development Corporation.
“Sports is one of the greatest tools we have in today’s society and no other platform allows us to soak up as much quality values. So from the sponsors’ perspective we are very pleased to note that we are positively impacting the lives of thousands. We are very pleased that the profile of rugby continues to rise and this augurs well for our young players,” Harris said.