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Suki, BDA need to work it out

Andi Thornhill

Suki, BDA need to work it out

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Right now we are a country of mixed up moods and attitudes.
The virus seems to have affected the political governance of the country and sports most of all.
Let’s stick to the sporting arena and focus on draughts in this medium.
What exactly is the situation with the International Draughts and Checkers Festival proposed by world Go-As-You-Please champion Ronald “Suki” King?
Some things aren’t adding up.
If King’s organization, the Barbados Checkers and Draughts Federation, supposedly won the bid to stage the October 5-14 event, why is the endorsement from the Barbados Draughts Association necessary for it to be played?
Is it a case that those who have an interest in the event only recognize the BDA as the umbrella body for the sport in Barbados?
This begs the question about the legality of King’s organization. Is it recognized by the National Sports Council?
And if there’s a cloud hanging over it, what or who gave King the green light to bid for the tournament in the first place?
There appears to be some grey areas in this aspect of the venture.
The clearest indication of this comes from King’s own admission that he has been promised help from a Government agency only if he gets the backing of the BDA.
That agency’s position is also definitive in who they recognize as the ruling organization for local draughts. It’s question time again.
Why didn’t King bring the BDA on board in the first place to stage the tournament? As far as we know he is a member of the association.
Doesn’t he think they are capable of staging the event and would be an effective and efficient partner?
There must be an underlying reason why King had chosen to avoid any collaboration with the BDA.
It won’t be wise to speculate what that reason is because nothing has been stated publicly in this regard.
What is very evident and indisputable is that King is likely to struggle to move forward with his plans unless he works with the BDA. He is a dead duck without their blessings.
This discussion must now switch to bringing the BDA on board in an effort to salvage the ground work put in by the charismatic world champion and to ensure the tournament is held by all means.
It would seem too late to turn back now because with less than a month to the planned event, we would believe that those coming to Barbados would have already made plans for travel and accommodation.
It would be a pity if we are embarrassed over what seems to be an error in protocol on King’s part.
I don’t think there would’ve been a problem if King had proceeded as an individual but once he brought his own federation into it the rules of the game changed completely.
As world champion for more than 20 consecutive years, the King brand can induce the best players in the world to come here for such a prestigious tournament.
He is respected for his ingenious skills and Barbados benefits from the accolades he receives wherever he goes.
He is the face of draughts and that’s why he’s invited to boost and add prestige to special international tournaments.
This year alone he has been specially invited to Italy, China and Russia ­– all expenses paid.
King is no ordinary citizen of the sporting world, so if solely from this perspective, something must be done to protect his image. We shouldn’t let him down despite what the published information suggests.
The first step is to have some form of mediation between him and the BDA hierarchy because there appears to be a strained relationship between the two.
At this advanced stage, it can’t be about egos and individuals. It’s about Barbados.
I think this intended project holds interest for those in the sports tourism sector, so the Barbados Tourism Authority can be among the mediators along with the National Sports Council and Minister of Sport Stephen Lashley, if the need arises.
I get the impression from his reported comments that the president of the BDA, Glyne Howell, would be in favour of amicable discussions to settle the matter.
Howell said he had written to the Ministry of Sport asking them to assist King in hosting the tournament.
This seems to be an event to be enjoyed by the entire draughts family and Barbados as a whole. So why don’t we just get together and feel all right?
• Andi Thornhill is an award-winning experienced freelance sports journalist.

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