The governing body for sports in Barbados, National Sports Council (NSC) intends to have a closed-door meeting sometime next week with the Barbados Chess Federation and a group of aggrieved players.
This was confirmed by NSC deputy director, Neil Murrell, who pointed out that several issues needed to be resolved in the ongoing situation between the local chess federation and a group of aggrieved players who are unhappy with the selection process for the upcoming 43rd Chess Olympiad in Batumi Georgia, from September 23 to October 6, 2018.
Some players have been overlooked for the Olympiad and among those apparently being junior players Azaria Johnson of Harrison College and Kiarra Eversley of Queen’s College along with Kemp Lynch who was part of the 2016 Barbados Olympiad Chess Team, which put in the best ever performance by a Bajan team in the country’s 30-year history of the games.
Based on separate talks recently with the chess federation and spokesman for the players Terry Farley, Murrell told Barbados TODAY a report was formulated and sent to the interim chief executive officer of the sports council, Jerry Blenman.
According to Murrell, deadlines have to be kept and the chess federation has an independent committee that was responsible for selecting the team. He added that since the five-member committee has already selected ten players to represent Barbados at the Olympiad, the sports council, therefore, could not necessarily revoke that decision.
He explained that even though the players had some degree of merit to their case, failure on their [players] part to meet mandatory deadlines did not help their case or the situation.
The deputy director noted that there has not been an issue in the past with the same selection committee or the criteria. The Barbados Chess Federation extended the deadline for signatures on three occasions to the players with the last being May 23, 2018. Two days later following the final deadline, the concerned group requested an extension on May 25 and a letter was sent to the sports council seven days after the deadline on June 1, to arbitrate.
“Deadlines were set and Terry [Farley] sent his thing [information form] two days after the deadline. No association is going to wait, you got a deadline, and even before the deadline you should say what your position is. Say that you are sending it to the sports council or whatever, but he sent it into the sports council seven days after the deadline,” Murrell explained.
The selection of treasurer Donna Murray to the team was one that did not sit too well with other players. In a June 25 article in Barbados TODAY, the selection of Murray over Johnson and Eversley was highlighted. It was revealed that in head-to-head games last year Johnson won three of her four matches against Murray and similarly, Eversley was victorious twice in her three encounters against the senior player. Yet they were overlooked.
But Murray sought to clear the air today and said: “The way the article was written targets me, it pulls me down, and it suggests that I had something to do with the selection. That there was favour on my part which is never the case, and I feel disappointed and hurt, that before the information was published, I was never contacted.
“This comes over to me as if I have done something wrong, like I’m getting a favour. The statistics are messed up and give the impression that here are other players who should be given the opportunity, and that I had the opportunity and wasted it, which is not true.”
The full team reads: Six-time national champion Martyn Del Castilho, Justin Blackman, Orlando Husbands, Bryan Prescott and Jerome Harewood on the men’s team. Meanwhile the women’s team comprises Julisa Figueroa, Katrina Blackman, Gabriella Cumberbatch, Vanessa Greenidge and Donna Murray.