The Sir Garfield Sobers Gymnasium Sports Complex is being underutilized, says the acting president of the Barbados Badminton Association Kevin Wood.
Like so many sporting federations that are in dire need of a home, badminton is one such and Wood believes if two warehouses can be erected within the complex, it would be of great benefit to national athletes who are often time restricted when preparing for major international tournaments.
Wood who took over as president in February this year following the resignation of Paul Sealy told Barbados TODAY a facility for badminton at an estimated cost of BDS$1 million was long overdue, and they hoped that non-profitable organizations such as the Maria Holder Trust and Sandy Lane would come on board to assist financially.
“I think the general gymnasium area is being underutilized for sports. We have swimming, tennis, hockey, football and soon the skating zone. If all the sports are having issues not being able to utilize the gymnasium, I think there should at least be two warehouses developed in this area. So, volleyball, basketball, netball, badminton and another indoor sport could share those two facilities for training and small competitions. If there are major competitions, then we can then come back to the gymnasium.
“But the major issue is when you have things popping up like fetes, and those are things that stop sporting organizations from utilizing the gymnasium. I think if you have two warehouses where you have the minimum and then your maintenance cost is less than a huge facility like this. So, I wouldn’t say build another gymnasium; I would say build two warehouses with proper floors, lighting, changing rooms, and temporary seating,” Wood said.
Too often people talk when it comes to the development of sports in Barbados, but many are not willing to walk the walk, and Wood called out those individuals to put their money where their mouths were.
“I think it is an opportunity for the so-called persons that have a lot of talk when sports are not doing well, for them to put some of the money where their mouth is and invest in two warehouses. And it could be a case where they could use the same facilities [warehouses] to advertise products. So, it is kind of a win, win, you invest some money into the building of the warehouses, and then you utilize the outside or inside and advertise your company or business, whichever,” he said.
A godmother or godfather is badly needed to invest in badminton, but Wood, a former national player, does not foresee that happening anytime soon for his beloved sport unless badminton is able to secure huge financial backing.
“I am actually in the process of trying to see which organization we can probably get on board with the sport to see which one of them will be willing to pump some money into the sport, so we can get a facility of our own. It is difficult because a lot of people talk, talk but they don’t put money into sports, and that is the major issue. Unfortunately, badminton is not like football or cricket where the governing body gives money to the organization. We don’t get that in our sport. All our money comes from Barbados Olympic Association or any fundraising we do on our own. Football has a facility there but that is through FIFA and cricket has Kensington, so they have money being pumped into them. Swimming is the only organization that probably doesn’t have a huge backing behind it because of the governing body. But they have a huge base, so their base helps them to run the facility, but badminton doesn’t have that. But we are working on it and if it is that we can do something in the next three years then yes. But I am being bluntly honest, I don’t foresee anything soon in terms of badminton having a home,” Wood said.