Clarke: Badminton wants to stay one step ahead
Shayne Fairman, Gleaner Writer
Vice-president of the Jamaica Badminton Federation Joseph Clarke is hoping new working procedures can be put in place in the shortest possible time following the departure of former president Robert Richards.
Richards stepped down on January 17 due to "personal issues". Council members David Thomas and Clarke assumed the positions of acting president and vice-president, respectively, until elections are held in October.
Clarke said members of the executive will try not to play catch-up, but stay one step ahead.
"We came in and set out a short-term mission plan that includes infrastructure development, marketing and publicity of the sport, while developing coaching, playing and officiating standards," he told The Gleaner.
Clarke added that they will engage systems of review, tweaking and rehabilitation, if necessary.
"We have the talent, with kids playing well from the Under-11 age groups up, as we get a lot of medals there.
"We are planning to get those youngsters playing longer, and once we have them remain and play consistently well, Jamaica will compete internationally," he added.
Clarke underlined that playing fundamentals must be lifted if Jamaica is to reach the standard of their international counterparts.
"We (Jamaica) only have seven international umpires and one international referee. Our referee has to be at every tournament. We plan to get other trained and certified professionals active soon," adding that three persons are up for certification.
Clarke wants badminton to be treated on the same level as track and field and football as it relates to sponsorship.
"We encourage sponsors to come on-board to help market the sport. Badminton will offer a lot of mileage and exposure to sponsors for less," he underscored.
Jamaica will host an inaugural Jamaica International Cham-pionship at the Alfred Sangster Auditorium, University of Technology, on March 19-22.
It is a level-four international event which will allow Pan American players to gain Olympic-qualifying points.