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Draughts title venue at risk

Randy Bennett

Draughts title venue at risk

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Barbados may have just hosted a World Draughts Qualifier, but its chances of doing likewise for next year’s World title match are fast disappearing.
With Ronald “Suki” King set to defend his World Go-As-You-Please (GAYP) title against Italian Sergio Scarpetta in next year’s much anticipated matchup, the Barbadian draughts legend was hoping to give fellow Barbadians a chance to see him perform on the world stage.
But after watching his just concluded Ronald “Suki” King International Checkers and Draughts Festival struggle to attract sponsorship and almost cancelled, King said he could not take the chance of a similar recurrence.
The 58-year-old world champion revealed that having been left over $50 000 in the red following the hosting of the festival, Barbados seemed a very unlikely destination to hold the world-class event.
He insisted that the debt had to be cleared first before any other major draughts competition could be held on the island.
“I can’t even consider the possibility of hosting the title match against Scarpetta here in Barbados at this time,” a disgruntled King told WEEKEND SPORT in an interview.
“I would have really liked to give Barbadians the opportunity to come out and support me and watch draughts at the highest level.
“But with the lack of interest shown in the festival, it would be a struggle for me to raise the required funds to host an event of this magnitude,” he added.
King said that the majority of the money used to host the festival came from the sport’s governing body, the World Checkers and Draughts Federation.
However he did thank Brydens, Williams Industries, Divi Southwinds Resorts, Jordans Supermarket and Banks Breweries for lending their support to the event.
Despite struggling to find funding for the festival, King maintained that the competition was still a success.
He noted that the international players who participated were very impressed after their short stay on the island.
“An event like this would attract hundreds of tourists to the island. It would be a win-win for everyone involved.
“Barbados would really be an ideal destination for an event such as this . . . but to be honest, there would have to be a drastic change for this title match to be held here,” King acknowledged.