Basketball

Samuda urges women basketballers to be trailblazers

BY HOWARD WALKER
Senior staff reporter
walkerh@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, July 06, 2017

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Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) president Christopher Samuda wants Jamaica's national women's basketballers to be trailblazers when they begin their quest for Olympic glory at the Centrobasketball Championship between July 12-16, in the British Virgin Islands.

Jamaica, who came second in the Caribbean Championship in 2015, join Mexico, The Bahamas, Puerto Rico, Guatemala and host British Virgin Islands in the six-team tournament.

“Jamaica has always had a tradition in track and field. We have had a tradition in boxing. We have had a tradition in swimming, as well, particularly at the Olympic level,” Samuda pointed out.

“What we need now in Jamaica is trailblazers… pioneers. It is no longer sufficient to stand on the podium and be the recipient of a gold medal. I am looking to the female team to be trailblazers,” he reiterated.

The top three teams of the five-day CentroBasketball tournament will qualify to the FIBA Women's Americas Championship in Argentina between August 6-13. Then the top three teams in the Americas Championship will qualify for the Olympics and the FIBA Basketball World Championship.

“I have no doubt that you will do well when you go over to the islands. The reputation of Jamaica has to be broadened, particularly at the international level,” said Samuda.

“We are looking at Tokyo to be represented in at least nine disciplines. It maybe challenging, but I believe it can be attained. All we ask is that you give of your best that you display a level of commitment and level of dedication to your sport and to your country and that will be sufficient to take you where we know you can go,” Samuda added.

The last edition of the Centrobasketball Championship was held in Mexico and Cuba were crowned champions after winning all five games.

Jamaica last participated in the 2014 edition and made the Americas Championship in 2013.

The Centrobasketball Championship will be contested in a round robin format over five days which will see three games per day.

Jamaica will open their campaign against Puerto Rico on Wednesday, July 12 before tackling The Bahamas on Thursday, July 13. The “Lady Jamrockerz” third game will be against Central American outfit Guatemala on Friday before they take on the host British Virgin Islands on Saturday. The Jamaicans then conclude against Mexico on Sunday.

All participating teams from the Centrobasket Women's Championship 2017 and Cuba will qualify for the 23rd Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games in Barranquilla, Colombia, in 2018.

Meanwhile, President of the Jamaica Basketball Association (JaBA), Dr Mark Broomfield, urged corporate Jamaica to assist his organisation.

“You don't have to give us cash, we accept kind to help us to put certain things in place to make the journey a little bit easier so the girls can have a better opportunity to represent us well,” said Dr Broomfield.

“It is indeed a good day, a beautiful sight, the fact that this day has arrived showed that work has been done and what was deemed impossible at the very beginning,” he noted.

“It is always tough when it comes to sports and especially basketball and why I know the ladies are going through challenges, is not the best of times in terms of what we would want to have available for you. You have been working despite the challenges and I want to commend you for that,” he added.

Timothy Eatman is the head coach, while Dr Joyce Graham-Royal is the team manager and Dr Lorie Lawrence is the physiotherapist.

The team will be selected from: Shenneika Smith (Guard, St John's University, USA), Sasha Dixon (Guard, UTech), Tarita Gordon (Point guard, Johnson City, USA), Ladonna Lamonth (Forward, UWI), Loretta Gordon (Guard, Spot Valley High, G C Foster), Yanique Gordon (Forward/Centre, Green Island High, Tallahassee College), Zandria Dell, (Point guard, William Knibb High), Cadene Cowan (Forward, UWI), Ashalee Gordon (Small Forward, STETHS, G C Foster), Idara McCarthy (Forward, Camperdown High), Shauna-Kay Shand (Forward, Camperdown High), Nicole Dias (Centre, William Knibb High, Shaw University), Angelee Latouche-Johnson (Forward/Centre, St Andrew High, Tallahassee College), Kaili McLaren (Centre, University of Connecticut), Antoinette Bannister (Shooting guard, University of North Carolina), Kimoya Draggon (Point guard, Shooting guard, UWI), Khaydeen Thompson (Small forward, G C Foster).

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