New home for squash
Barbados’ squash, which has continued to blaze an impressive regional and international trail over the last ten years, could soon be enjoying a new home.
Word of the new domicile for squash came from president Allison Smith-Padmore as she addressed the association’s 2017 dinner awards at the Yacht Club on Saturday night.
“Our focus at this time will be to find a new home which will definitely enrich squash in Barbados and provide us with greater capacity to make a significant impact on the development of athletes and officials.
“We have made some headway with this goal; however, it will take commitment from all stakeholders and supporters for it to become a reality,” stated Smith-Padmore.
In the audience were interim CEO of the National Sports Council, Jerry Blenman, along with general secretary of the Barbados Olympic Association Erskine Simmons, and office manager Glyne Clarke as well as Neil Murrell, deputy director of sports.
Blenman indicated that the construction of the two squash courts at Briar Hall was nearing approval and that Government would be supporting the venture. Smith-Padmore added that they needed to show valid source for the projected cost of $300 000 for the extension to the present Briar Hall facility.
“With the folding of Rockley we have depended heavily on the use of the courts at Marine Gardens. However, that is a private club and while we value their accommodating us, the number of training hours and the expansion of our youth programmes cannot be fully realised until we have our own facility.
“Briar Hall would also give us the means to embark on a schools’ programme involving the nearby schools initially. With an expected construction time of six months we hope to begin work this year in order for squash to roll out many of our exciting new plans and programmes for 2019,” said Smith-Padmore.
During the night the national players were regaled for winning all of the major regional championships while snapping Guyana’s 12-year junior reign with Barbados winning its first overall team title since 2004.
A special award was given to Amanda Haywood who had captained the successful Barbados junior team but who now moves up to the senior ranks. Squash will take part in the Commonwealth Games at the Gold Coast at the end of the month with regional queen Meagan Best being the flag-bearer for the Barbados team. (KB)