I will return, says Richards
Shayne Fairman, Sunday Gleaner Writer
Robert Richards, the outgoing president of the Jamaica Badminton Federation (JBF), has revealed that his decision to quit as president of the local badminton association was an unavoidable one, but he will soon be back in sports administration.
He left office on January 17 because of "personal issues", despite being expected to head the administration until October 2015. Richards called time on his service after 15 months on the job.
"I took a break to deal with some personal issues. My last child is in the GSAT year. I consider that my priority now," he said.
"As much as I love badminton and other sports, Jamaica will definitely see me back in sports administration again, badminton and some others too," he told The Sunday Gleaner. Richards' departure might have come at a time when he was seemingly steadying the ship, thrusting back a once dormant sport into the public's eye and providing strong, decisive, committed and passionate leadership to grow badminton not only locally, but regionally and internationally.
Having achieved specific goals and now satisfied the sport is making progress, Richards notes it was the right time to walk.
Also with Richards' satisfaction that he achieved specific goals, and helping to chart the direction the sport will take, he says he stands ready to assist the JBF.
"There were too many things to address last year when we came in. Some things just could not be done but what has been done is that the plan is in place," he assured.
"We are still working to get an international coach from Indonesia or China, which I am working on, and there are other areas like funding, development that I will continue working with."
Richards noted that there is cause for concern in women's representation also.
"We have a lot of work to do in our women's section. My big concern is that Nigella Saunders has left the seniors as an Olympian, and the standard of play among the women is really lacking," he stressed.
"Where we (Jamaica) used to dominate in the Caribbean region in both men and women, it's only our men who have to carry the flag now, and that is something that we really have to address," he reiterated.
He said he is hoping for the best for Gareth Henry's qualification bid to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
"That is going to be a very hard task and the sponsorship is going to be a key thing for him. There are other things that could come up in the pipeline also, but if he doesn't (qualify for 2016), he could do it in 2020," Richards added.