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Brathwaite siblings enjoying badminton glory

by Barbados Today
4 min read

By Rawle Toney

One year after discovering their passion for badminton at the National Sports Council’s summer camp, siblings Sahara and Siraj Brathwaite are making remarkable strides in the racquet sport.

Sahara, 13, and her younger brother, eight-year-old Siraj, proudly represented Barbados at the recently concluded Caribbean Regional Badminton Confederation (Carebaco) held in Trinidad and Tobago.

Their parents, Rasheed Singh and Ingrid Brathwaite, shared their delight with Barbados TODAY, witnessing their children’s outstanding performance in badminton and chronicling their journey to regional competition.

According to Singh, their introduction to badminton took place in August 2022, during the NSC’s annual summer camp. 

The recommendation to try the sport came from their godmother, Mariama Eastmond, a former national badminton player and coach for the NSC, whose infectious enthusiasm for the sport ignited their love for it.

The siblings not only enjoyed recreational play, but also motivated each other during practice, frequently discussing and assisting with technical aspects such as their grip.

After the camp, their training continued under Eastmond’s guidance through the NSC’s after-school community badminton outreach programme.

“Some people choose badminton, but for others, badminton chooses them,” Singh remarked.

Sahara Brathwaite in action at the CAREBACO Badminton tournament in Trinidad and Tobago.

At Eastmond’s recommendation, they ventured into competitive badminton, participating in their first competition, the Pioneers Juniors Singles Independence tournament, where Sahara placed second in the Under-15 girls’ category and was named Most Improved Player, while Siraj claimed third in the Under-11 boys’ division.

This early success fuelled their passion for competitive badminton, demanding dedication from both the children and their parents, leading to them joining the Shuttlers Badminton Club, training four days a week after school.

“We also had to stretch our budget to provide them with the necessary badminton equipment, shoes, rackets, clothing, gear bags, and more. However, our efforts paid off when they entered the Barbados Junior Nationals Tournament in 2023,” Singh shared.

Their outstanding performances not only yielded six medals, including three golds, but also secured them spots at trials and eventually the national team.

The team participated in CAREBACO 2023, hosted in Trinidad, where they competed against participants from countries such as Guyana, Jamaica, Suriname, and the host country. 

Siraj Brathwaite competing in Trinidad and Tobago

During the tournament, Sahara secured third place in the girls’ singles and third place in the girls’ doubles, while Siraj, determined not to be outdone by his older sister, exclaimed, “I’m going to win a medal too!” and also earned two bronze medals in the boys’ singles and boys’ doubles.

Both Sahara and Siraj are excelling academically as well. 

Sahara has received the Principal’s Award for Good Academic Achievement three times and is making her mark at Queen’s College. She is eagerly looking forward to her third year with Mathematics being her favourite subject.

Siraj is also thriving academically at the Al Falah Primary School. He playfully teases that he’ll be “next” and aims to follow in his sister’s footsteps by becoming a top performer at the Barbados Secondary Schools’ Entrance Examination.

As Sahara and Siraj return to school and training, their parents couldn’t be prouder. 

Their dedication and hard work bring immense joy to the family, who place great importance on their unity. 

“We don’t know what the future holds for them in badminton, but we are hopeful that they will continue to shine,” Singh said. 


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