CAREBACO serves up colourful opener
Shayne Fairman, Gleaner Writer
Member of Parliament Andre Hylton, who represented the minister with responsibility for sport at the Caribbean Regional Badminton Confederation (CAREBACO) Championships' opening ceremony, praised organisers, sponsors and players for putting on what he termed an excellent event.
"This tournament plays a very important role in regional integration. We commend the organisers, sponsors, players and parents for making CAREBACO 2014 happen," Hylton said on Tuesday night inside the Alfred Sangster Auditorium, University of Technology (UTech). "The Government that I'm a part of has keen interests in the development of this region."
Hylton said badminton in Jamaica and the region needs sponsorship to progress and become a more popular sport, noting that it promotes invaluable health benefits by way of exercise in helping to lower the country's health bill annually.
There was a near full-house attendance and equally, there was fanfare and colourful displays by hosts Jamaica and other participants, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados and Guyana.
Audley Astwood, president, CAREBACO, expressed satisfaction with Jamaica's presentation as hosts.
"We thank Jamaica for rising to the occasion to host despite financial challenges. We are pleased they could do so after it was revealed Trinidad and Tobago were unable to host. I want to wish all the best to every team in the competition," Astwood said.
Jamaica Badminton Association (JBA) president, Robert Richards, also expressed satisfaction.
"Jamaica has set the stage for Suriname (next year's hosts)," Richards said.
"CAREBACO will be back next year. Here (in Jamaica), each country will win medals, but team Jamaica will dominate," Richards expressed.
Meanwhile, national coach Howard Ranger believes hosting has been invaluable for the sport locally.
"It has helped us to expose 100 per cent more players than we could have afforded to send overseas," said Ranger. "It's a good stepping stone for us to improve world rankings and turn out more competitive players.
"As hosts, we don't contend for some medals; instead, gold, silver and bronze because we are strongest at home," explained the coach.