The desire to compete at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham may not be realised by the Barbados senior women’s netball team who must raise their ranking to qualify by the end of this year.
President of the Barbados Netball Association Nisha Craigwell said this would be the first time since netball was introduced to the Commonwealth calendar that Barbados would not be competing.
“We are supposed to have a test series this year but obviously we are not able to do so at this stage. We are not even in a position to say if, when, how. But we need to play in order to get our ranking up or we are not going to make it to the Commonwealth in 2022,” Craigwell told Barbados TODAY.
Barbados are currently ranked number 13 behind Zimbabwe and need to at least be among the top 12 in order to qualify. The only way for the senior Bajan Gems to raise their ranking is by competing and winning matches. But with the Coronavirus pandemic, any form of netball being played is unimaginable because of its contact nature.
On a positive note, BNA may soon have a new technical director. In a recent interview with Barbados Today, Barbados Olympic Association Vice-President Cameron Burke revealed they were in the process of helping BNA find a technical director.
And during this morning’s interview with Barbados TODAY, Craigwell confirmed the news but opted not to say much at this time. She did note, however, that it was something the BNA and BOA had been working on for some time and were very close to finalising a deal.
Despite the setbacks and challenges as it relates to COVID-19, looking ahead to this year, Craigwell said: “We can’t really plan because we don’t know what is happening really as it relates to COVID. We haven’t been given approval either because sports is obviously on pause right now. And as a contact sport, even when we have a few cases we still did not get permission to play.”
She also explained that there are still lots of plans on the table. This was the year for the Barbados Under-16 team to defend their Jean-Pierre regional championship title in August. The World Youth championship is scheduled for Fiji in December and for which Barbados has qualified.
In the meantime, the BNA according to Craigwell is continuing with its online training, even though the players are eager to get back on the court. She admitted that there was only so much they could do online.
“After a while, that has become exhausted. What I can say is that if any coaching courses or umpiring courses are being offered, we give our members the opportunity to take full advantage.
“Normally it would be at times when people are at work and stuff like that. So, now that they are being offered online, they have the opportunity to do them. But the thing for us is to get back out and play. Obviously, we want to ensure that our players and stuff remain safe. It is a very depressing time for sport I must say,” the BNA president said.