Sports are taking the back seat again at another of their major facilities. The Bajan Gems were unable to dodge what may be considered a major setback on their road to the 2019 Netball World Cup in Liverpool after being forced to cancel a four-team Test series due to the unavailability of the Wildey Gymnasium. The recent development quashes any hopes the team had of gaining much-needed competition against ninth-ranked Scotland, Samoa and Grenada before next summer’s World Cup. President of the Barbados Netball Association, Nisha Craigwel, told WEEKEND SPORT there was a clash at the Gym as the Barbados Cancer Society had already booked the venue for its Caribbean Christmas event on December 8 and 9. “The Gymnasium was not available for the dates that we had proposed. That cancellation now leaves a gap because we now have to negotiate for some type of competition before we go off to the World Cup which is in July,” said Craigwell. “It was quite convenient for teams to be coming to Barbados. With a team coming from as far as Samoa and with a team like Scotland that is ranked higher than us, that was competition we were welcoming so we have to start from the beginning to try to secure competition.
“We may either have to go somewhere, but that will take finances, or even try again to get somebody to come,” she added .
It’s the second such interruption in as many weeks for a national sporting team as the Barbados Pride are now slated to play their first two home matches of the CWI Regional 4-Day Championship at the 3Ws Oval instead of Kensington Oval.
Apparently the Oval has been booked to stage Hennessy Artistry before the International Rugby 7s takes to the pitch at Kensington a week later.
Barbados Cricket Association president Conde Riley expects no major setbacks with the move, but Craigwell explained that they reached out to other countries only to have those proposals denied because those nations already had their calendars fixed.
“They plan for an entire year in advance. We don’t have the luxury of doing that because of both financial reasons and the availability of the Gymnasium so you can’t plan for the Gymnasium because we are sharing it with the other sporting bodies and whoever else wants to host an event there,” said Craigwell.
“It all comes down to when the Gymnasium will be available because we are at home and this is the only international court we have. We gained some new sponsors but in all fairness to the sponsors we would have to speak to them on what we require, depending on where we decide to go or if someone is going to come here.”
In the meantime, while they get their heads around acquiring that competition, the team is steadfast in their training.
The Gems have also gained a new manager in national basketballer Shakira Shorey, who Craigwell believes will be a valuable addition with her experience in the Under-16 national team and actively playing in the league annually.
“Training is still very intense, it is truly a sacrifice. They are training at the Netball Stadium three days a week with some other activities which involve giving back to the community and some other community projects,” said Craigwell.
by riagood[email protected] nationnews.com