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Honour for Donovan

Sherrylyn A. Toppin

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Barbadian sports administrator Adrian Donovan has been honoured by the organisers of the St Kitts 13 and Under Cricket Tournament.During the opening ceremony on Friday in St Kitts, Donovan, programme co-ordinator at the National Sports Council, was conferred ambassador status.This was in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the development of cricket in the region and services to the running of the tournament.“I was surprised,” Donovan told SUNSPORT yesterday in a telephone interview.“I was never given any warning, but I am very honoured.”Donovan manages the Barbados team which has won seven titles in the last nine years, but his contribution goes beyond that. He was also instrumental in securing sponsorship from Barbados to help with the running of this year’s competition which was in some doubt in the prevailing economic climate.He received a standing ovation when the announcement was made and later gave a feature address on behalf of the participating teams.“In the 14 years of the tournament, we were able to organise a trip for an OECS Combined team that came to Barbados last December which was made up of the best players from the OECS and Bermuda,” he said.It was the first time players from St Kitts at that age group had travelled to take part in a cricket competition, joining their peers from Nevis, Anguilla, Antigua, Dominica and Montserrat in matches against Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados.“It has gone a long way in lifting the standard in the respective territories. The teams are much better prepared; they are going into camps; they are being sponsored and look very professional and they are playing at some of the best facilities in the world.”The West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) signalled its support by making a monetary donation of EC$15 000 (BDS$11 235) for the first time in the history of the tournament. The announcement was made by Minister of Tourism and International Transport Ricky Skerritt, a former manager of the West Indies team. Donovan hopes this sends a signal to Jamaica and Guyana who do not take part in the tournament.“Now that we have the WICB on board, it is hoped that the big cricket countries like Guyana and Jamaica who are still playing softball cricket at this age level understand they have to play their part in the development of West Indies’ cricket,” Donovan said.“Starting at Under-15 is too late. That is why we are still playing catch up to Australia and the rest of the world.”Barbados will play their first match today against Antigua at Warner Park