Nine of Barbados’ best junior badminton players are ready to compete against some of the world’s top badminton players at the upcoming Pan Am Junior Championship.
The rackets of the Bajan juniors will be tested when competition hits off July 21-28 in Markham, Toronto, Canada, as they go in search of medals to turn their misfortunes around from last year when they failed to claim at least one.
Five of the nine badminton players are from the St Michael School and they are Shae Martin, Gavin Robinson, Kodie King, Shomari Smith and Amanda Haywood. Those five also played an instrumental role towards the Martindale’s Road school winning the schools championship at the end of the school term last year. The other remaining players are Keshem Moore, Kennie King, Dominic Scantlebury and Harrison Griffith.
Martin, the undisputed Under-19 male champion in singles, men’s doubles and mixed doubles will seek to secure his first Pan Am medal for Barbados when he contests the Under-19 Division in what will be his seventh and final opportunity.
Meanwhile, his long-standing doubles partner Amanda Haywood will also try to make some impact in her first year competing at the Under-19 level. She is currently the reigning singles champion but no stranger to Pan Am and between her and Martin will look to use their experience to lead the team.
It has been a very long time since Barbados got a medal at the badminton championship and Gavin Robinson, the only player making his debut, will be one of those looking towards his peers for encouragement as he tries to give a good performance and medal during his first outing.
National junior coach Shakeira Waithe will lead the team, which she said has been hard at work, and extremely disciplined with many of the players balancing training with examinations. She also explained that this should not cause a problem because the players were focused and ready to give a good performance.