Big bucks in rugby tourney
Prize money of US$30 000 will be up for grabs during this year’s Mitsubishi Electric Rugby Barbados World 7s Tournament.
This was revealed during yesterday’s official launch at the Radisson Aquatica Resort ahead of the December 8 and 9 event at Kensington Oval.
General manager of the event, Brian Stollmeyer, said the tournament, now in its third year, has come a long way.
“We were just scrambling around on a school ground with very little funding, and that was just two years ago, and it is incredible to think [of] the transformation that has occurred within that time. Sponsorship has afforded us the ability to increase our prize money from $3 000 last year to US$30 000 this year. The transformation has been absolutely unbelievable,” he said.
“The prize money will be divided equally between the men and the women –we don’t discriminate. Women get US$15 000 and men get US$15 000. That is very simply distributed between first and second, so it is US$10 000 for the first prize in each division, and then $5 000 for second prize. Other special prizes will come in there,” he explained.
The competition, which is being staged at Kensington Oval for the first time, is expected to have about 32 teams with four new teams participating.
“We have so far three teams coming from England, five from the United States of America, one from Argentina, and four from Wales. We have never had any from Argentina and Wales before. There are two from Scotland, ten coming from the Caribbean, which includes three from Trinidad and Tobago, two from St Lucia, one from Guadeloupe, one from Jamaica and of course three from Barbados,” Stollmeyer said.
“We also have a team from Venezuela, one from French Guiana for the first time, four from Canada, one from South Africa and we may have one from New Zealand as well . . . . It’s very diverse . . . and I am very happy to be a part of it,” he said.
On December 7, Rugby Barbados is hosting its annual charity dinner and auction at the Radisson Aquatica.
Representative from title partner Mitsubishi Electric Cooling and Heating, Nik Lashley, said he was pleased to attach the company’s name to the event, which is known as the fastest growing sport in the world.
Chief executive officer of Kensington Oval Management Inc., Ben Toppin, said he believed the tournament’s staging at Kensington marketed the complex as a multi-purpose venue.
“It gives a chance to showcase Kensington Oval as more than just the home of cricket in the region to prove that we can put on world-class competitions and tournaments in other areas to display the flexibility of the venue. The only stipulation we had was that the players . . . don’t damage the playing area.”
He added the event was one that could impact the economy in a major way since people followed their teams.
An Under-18 tournament is also being organised for Easter next year. (RG)