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U-16 event called off

Justin Marville

U-16 event called off

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BASKETBALL’s youth drive has taken an untimely bounce.
Both the girls’ and boys’ national squads will have to wait yet another year to see overseas action after the Caribbean Basketball Confederation (CBC) was forced to abandon this summer’s Under-16 championships due to the absence of a host site.
Long-serving CBC president Usie Richards made the announcement earlier this week via email while confirming that none of the prospective host countries – Antigua, Guyana, St Lucia, Jamaica – “were able to confirm or secure the necessary financial support.”
It’s an unfortunate setback to the Barbados Amateur Basketball Association’s (BABA) focus on developing its youth players, which entailed sending both junior teams to the regional tournament this year.
“This is a great disappointment for us because we are really putting a heavy emphasis on the youth, considering where our basketball on a whole is right now,” said BABA president Derrick Garrett.
“We kept those guys together last year in a team with the view of participating this year, so we know they too will be disappointed.
“But the executive will have to sit down and look to see if there is something else we can do and we may need to discuss with the National Sports Council any opportunity for an opening to be made at their camp for those teams.”
Attendance at regional competitions have been somewhat of a sore spot for recent executives, with Barbados failing to send any junior team overseas between 2006 and 2011 either due to a lack of funding or the absence of regional tournaments.
But since taking the helm in 2011, Garrett has heavily committed to junior development, sending under-16 boys’ and girls’ teams to their respective Centrobasket tournaments in 2012 before financially guaranteeing those squads’ participation in this year’s regional competitions.
However, CBC only received deposits from four girls’ teams and five boys’ sides up to the April 25 deadline, before Richards ultimately disclosed that the championships were still without a venue.
“It’s kind of normal and we almost come to expect our kids not getting overseas competitions,” said boys’ head coach Zahir Motara.
“We just don’t get consistent tours any more with people always refusing to step up to host, but the guys really need to play regional tournaments from early so they can get that exposure and see what is expected from them at that level.”
Earlier this year, the BABA council announced its goal to take the sport into the primary schools, and then revealed plans for a National Youth Development programme aimed at sending accredited coaches into each parish for a month to conduct skill-based clinics.