Badminton reports growth, but needs help to take off
THE Jamaica Badminton Association (JBA) is reporting some measure of success for 2013, adding, importantly, that the sport continues to grow in Jamaica, says a top official.
Robert Richards, who took the helm on October 6 this year, told the Sunday Observer that the new board has so far managed to put some things back in order as both sponsors and spectators have re-engaged their support, as was evident at the recently concluded All Jamaica Championships, which saw the senior men's section performing to packed houses.
"Since we took office we have so far managed to get back sponsors, which include Wata, Tru-Juice, Spanish Court Hotel, Wealth Magazine, LAN Integrators Ltd, Zip Technologies, Constant Spring Golf Club, National Outdoor Advertising and our two main sponsors, the Sports Development Foundation and Premier Optical," he said.
The association is now in the process of negotiating with a previous major sponsor, and is also seeking to partner again with a new dynamic team to sponsor their premier event the All-Jamaica Badminton Championships and All-Island Schools' League and Knock-out.
"We would encourage more sponsors to come on board with the JBA, as this would not only assist with the development and rebirth of the sport, but would give sponsors excellent mileage for their dollar," said Richards.
Meanwhile, the JBA has put in place a full-time secretariat to run the day-to-day business of badminton. As part of its duty, the administrative arm will oversee presentations for the funding of the various tournaments and events , and to also manage communication between the association, the media, sponsors and players.
Going forward, the association is expecting to have a very active year both locally and internationally. Three of the major games that fall under the umbrella of the Jamaica Olympic Association — the CAC Games, PanAm Games and the Commonwealth Games — will all be held next year.
Jamaica's senior team will also have to participate in other international PanAm circuit tournaments in order to gain points to qualify for "the big three games", the first of which will be held in Cuba in March 2014.
The Juniors will be looking forward to the Youth Olympics, and this again requires players to participate in overseas tournaments to acquire points for qualification.
On the local scene, the board will be seeking to revitalise both the Club and Business House leagues, which were dormant for most of the previous administration's tenure.
The Business House League will be rebranded and called the Corporate League, and the JBA is banking on tapping into companies for sponsorship.
The rebirth of the Central Jamaica Badminton Association is also a major task of the association.