JBA boss renews call for private sector support
PRESIDENT of the Jamaica Badminton Association (JBA), Robert Richards, has renewed his call to the private sector to give more support to the development of the sport.
The request came immediately on the heels of an inspiring performance by a small contingent that took home three medals from the recently concluded Pan American Badminton Championships in Guatemala.
"They performed very creditably and with the results that we have got here we hope that the private sector will now come on board to support the sport now that you see what we can do with so little," Richards told the Jamaica Observer upon the team's arrival at the Norman Manley International Airport on Monday night.
Jamaica's success came in the boys' Under-19 doubles where Samuel Ricketts and Shaun Wilson copped gold, before young sensation Ricketts returned to take silver in the singles division, after which Alana Bailey and Shane Wilson came up big in the mixed doubles to win bronze.
Richards credited the performances to the junior boys' programme that the association currently has available in Mandeville, spearheaded by coach Howard Ranger. Similar programmes for the Corporate Area are now being contemplated.
He went even further by saying that if provided with the requisite funding the association would acquire the assistance of an overseas-based coach to assist the local coaches in order to increase the standard of play, which will allow the country to compete fully within the Pan American region.
"Howard is doing an excellent job in developing this programme in central Jamaica and we need to now start implementing some of those in Kingston. A very good performance by the overall team... the girls played well for what they came up against... we know the limitations that they have (and) we now see what we have to implement," he said.
For coach Ranger the team surpassed expectations.
"We surpassed expectations because we went with a smaller team; we competed in three age groups and we came back with medals in two and that made our performance exceptional.
"We were recognised by the overseas association for what we did because we were the only country that never had an Asian coach or player and nobody would have expected Jamaica to have done what we did and that is why we were commended," said Ranger.
Ricketts, who has been outstanding in representing the country at the international level, expressed fulfilment with his performances in his final year at the Under-19 level.
"I am really happy with the performance and I am so happy that I could win a gold medal in my last year. I am also happy that I got the silver for singles because it was my first time getting to a singles final, so it was a little bit nerve-racking, but I pulled through," said the outspoken 18-year-old.