Sat | Jan 23, 2021

Local badminton to restart with Int’l Champs

Published:Wednesday | December 2, 2020 | 12:15 AM
National player Katherine Wynter is expected to participate in the Jamaica Badminton Association Flagship Tournament if the body gets approval from the Government.
National player Katherine Wynter is expected to participate in the Jamaica Badminton Association Flagship Tournament if the body gets approval from the Government.
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General Secretary Sheldon Townsend says the Jamaica Badminton Association (JBA) will be looking to host the Jamaica International Badminton Championships (JIBC) as possibly the first event for the 2021 badminton season.

Townsend told The Gleaner that discussions have been ongoing within the association regarding setting the structure and foundation for how the sport can resume in a safe manner.

He said that the JIBC allows the JBA the opportunity to crown a national champion at the end of each year, but because of the spike in COVID-19 cases, the event will be rescheduled for a start next year, in accordance with a possible resumption of the national programme.

“What we have discussed primarily, and formalised at our last meeting, was to activate all our committee members who will be working assiduously towards 2021,” Townsend said. “That primarily involves the national team and creating the protocols necessary for the coaches to restart the programme, but that will not be done until next year.

LOOKING AT THE GUIDELINES

“We’re looking at the guidelines put forward by the Ministry of Health and Wellness, and to create our own, and adopt some of those guidelines, to see how we will proceed with our athletes starting to train in early 2021. We also have a task force that is dedicated to working on the tournaments that will be coming up, but those dates have not yet been finalised.”

JBA President Nichole Case said that discussions have been taking place to ensure that the association enforces the correct safety protocols to properly facilitate a continuation of badminton in schools next year. But she says that the likelihood of resuming the sport at the school level is uncertain during this period.

“What we would like to restart is our school programmes and our regular local tournaments in 2021,” she said. “However, that is subject to the respective ministries’ guidelines on what we’re allowed to do, and our school programmes will be dependent on whether or not the students will return to face-to-face classes.

“We are currently having discussions as it is very difficult for the principals to advise us on how to move forward. We have to keep in mind that our school programmes happen in conjunction with coaching in the schools, where the children take badminton as either an extracurricular or sporting activity after school, and the coaches are paid for by the school and so forth.

“Right now, the schools are very challenged with just trying to manage getting the children back into the classrooms, and so it is very difficult for us to have a clear plan on how to start the school leagues.”

Face-to-face classes resumed as 17 schools across nine parishes participated in a two-week trial run under special conditions in November.

- Athena Clarke