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Badminton's top man aims to get Jamaica a 'look-in'

Published:Saturday | February 2, 2013 | 12:00 AM
CAPTION - Badminton Pan American Confederation president and current Badminton World Federation vice-president, Gustavo Salizar of Peru (left), congratulates Jamaica Badminton Association president Vishu Tolan shortly after his election to the BWF VP post, which Salizar will vacate in May. The election was held at the Double Tree by Hilton Resort and Convention Center in Miami, Florida, on Saturday January 26. - Contributed

Marc Stamp, Gleaner Writer

Jamaica Badminton Association (JBA) president, Vishu Tolan, says his recently elected position as vice-president Pan-Am, Badminton World Federation (BWF), will give Jamaica a "better look-in" to the sport.

Tolan was unanimously elected to the position at the Badminton Pan American Confederation extraordinary general meeting a week ago in Miami, USA. He was elected by the 17 delegates who were present. Each regional confederation is represented by their VP on the BWF board.

The newly elected VP replaced BPAC president Gustavo Salizar of Peru, who did not seek re-election to the BWF VP post he held for the past seven years. The changeover will take place in May when the BWF hold its annual general meeting (AGM).

"It (the position of VP) means a lot to Jamaica. The enormity of it is that no Caribbean country ever had that position. This is a historical feat for Jamaica as before that Joseph Clarke was on the council from 2000-03 but this is the first time Jamaica is occupying the VP position," Tolan told The Gleaner in an interview after he returned from Miami.

"It will give Jamaica a better look-in, sitting with the VPs from the other continents."

With regard to the nation's badminton, the JBA president added: "We have been doing a lot of work with the inner-city communities. We've been getting champions from the inner-city as the sport is being introduced in those communities.

"(In the past) it (badminton) was seen as an elite sport in Jamaica. Now that has shifted. Part of our mandate is to get everyone involved with the sport. We hope that the marketing aspect will improve."

High hopes for Olympics 2016

He further disclosed that his administration's (local) main aim is to have a representative at the next Olympic Games in Brazil in 2016. Jamaica has never had a badminton player at the Olympics.

"Gareth Henry is our choice for the next Olympics. He is now based at the University of Technology, but we hope to get him overseas on the circuit," Tolan told The Gleaner.

The next event on the local calendar is the Tournament of Kings Single only, which will be staged from February 16-17 at Constant Spring Golf Club.

"We intend to have a tournament every month towards our development of badminton," Tolan noted.

Meanwhile, at the reconvened Caribbean Regional Badminton Confederation (CAREBACO) AGM on January 25 in Miami, JBA first vice-president, Audley Astwood, was one of three members appointed to an interim CAREBACO management committee.

The committee's main task will be to ensure the smooth running of the next CAREBACO championships and to oversee the continuation of the revamping of its constitution for presentation at their next AGM due to be held in August.

At that time, elections will be held for the positions available on the CAREBACO council - president, vice-president, secretary/treasurer and two floor members. The other two members of that interim committee are Barbadians Mervyn Gordon and Dionne Haynes.

Former secretary/treasurer Gordon had up to that point been spearheading the drafting of a new constitution.