The Barbados Netball Association (BNA) is not ruling out playing competitively later this year but as it stands president Nisha Craigwell said they are currently taking no chances despite Government giving the all-clear for sports to resume.
Following last Friday’s meeting at the Sir Garfield Sobers Gymnasium where several associations met to discuss the return of sport following the national shutdown because of the Coronavirus pandemic, Craigwell said BNA was in no rush to return to the court.
She said the BNA’s executive body was monitoring the arrival of commercial flights to the island starting Sunday, July 12th and also listening closely to the Ministry of Health and Wellness.
“Netball is very similar to football, basketball in that it is a contact sport and we did make the decision that we are going to postpone any commencement of our local season. Predominantly because of the nature of how the sport is played, we could not come up with a safe way for our players to be able to function on the court. Hence we thought it best to defer any commencement of our local competition.
“We definitely will not have any local competition within this period. However, we are taking it in a short stand, so we will be monitoring what is happening in the country, listening to the Ministry of Health and we are waiting for July 12th when commercial flights return to the island. Just to see the impact of COVID and how it affects our country. So, we are in a kind of a wait and see game as it relates to what is happening in Barbados before we commence,” Craigwell said.
She added: “Yes, we have been given the go-ahead but our sport is quite different from a non-contact sport. We do think that there is a high risk should they be any spread in Barbados that our players could be affected. So we have a responsibility to make sure that our players remain safe. That does not mean that we are not going to play this year, it just means that we are going to do another review later when we see what is happening in the country.”
Following a recent meeting, Craigwell explained that BNA clubs were encouraged to maintain their fitness by implementing programs that would assist them in remaining active.
However, all national teams from juniors to seniors will begin to practise shortly so they can be match-ready for whenever tournaments, whether regional or international, come around in the coming month.
Interestingly, Barbados Under-19 team was expected to be in Trinidad today to compete at the World Cup Qualifiers that was supposed to start Friday, July 10 but has now been cancelled. All is not lost as the young Bajan Gems managed to qualify for the June 2021 Under-19 World Cup in Fiji based on the world ranking of the Barbados senior women’s team.
“The only element of the game that we are going to encourage is for our shooters to take shots. But outside of that, the trainers continue to come with programs where the athletes can maintain their fitness but not play the actual sport,” she said.
Following last week’s meeting at the Gymnasium with several sporting bodies where czar Richard Carter was in attendance, Craigwell said her players would not be wearing masks while playing. She added that this was part of the reason they opted not to resume.
“We did examine the players playing in the mask, it is a high-intensity sport and even to put myself into that scenario, if I am walking I sometimes find it difficult to breathe through the mask. I could not imagine players running at high intensity and still able to function and breathe properly. So we could not see the practicality of a player playing in a mask, so for us, that is a no and hence part of the reason we took the decision not to commence the sport now.”
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