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Badminton Association’s actions unacceptable

Thursday, February 22, 2018

As a much younger man, I tried most sports; you name it and at some point in time, I would have given it a go. Of course, Powerboating and race car driving would not be included in that list as I may not have been able to pay my life insurance premium back then.

Last Thursday when I saw the Guardian headline which read, “Team T&T in quest for badminton honours”, it immediately caught my eye as I tried the sport at the West Indian club but that shuttlecock sometimes hangs in the air far too long for my liking. Nevertheless, I felt good as I saw we had a nine member contingent vying for international honours at the Men's and Women's Continental team championships at the National Racquet Centre in Tacarigua. The winner would go on to represent the Pan American region at the Thomas and Uber Cup in Thailand in May of this year.

As usual with most/some national associations, there just had to be some problem as two of the country's top players - Jada Renales and Alistair Espinoza - were not playing until the T&T Badminton Association resolves an ongoing issue that has affected them and their club, Shuttle Force, FOR YEARS. This couldn't be real life. How in Heaven's name can a national association have an issue with their two top players going on for so long and it just has not been dealt with? 2+2 does not seem to add up to 4 here. I can't believe the badminton fraternity is allowing this to go on, one way or the other FOR YEARS.

Team T&T went into the tournament without our two top players but the coach must have felt we still had a good chance. After all we are representing the country, so naturally the most important thing was playing and giving everything for the red, white and black. We won one single game over the three day tournament, the men's team finished dead last and the women 5th. Like many of you, I was obviously disappointed but then came some startling revelations from the coach saying, “we were not good enough” and to be honest I have no problem with that but when he went on to say, “the preparation was not sufficient and I hope the T&T Badminton Association sees what is required for us to play at that level”.

He further went on to state that players were chosen by a selection committee and not by him; he felt other players should have been included in the team, however, they were not selected. Unbelievable! What is really going on with sport in this country? The craziness that currently exists in football and cricket has now reached to Badminton.

We go into an International tournament not properly prepared yet we expect proper results? Are the badminton gurus lunatics? Then a team is selected and the coach has absolutely no input into the selection of his team? I initially thought that the President of the Badminton association was Adolf Hitler then I saw somewhere he is Rahul Rampersad and when asked for a comment on the team's performances and the tournament overall, he directed all questions to the association's Public Relations Officer (PRO). I wonder if the team had won if he would have directed all questions to the PRO. Come on now, you are the President of the Association and you owe the people of T&T an explanation as to why the teams performed badly.

The PRO of course was there to say all the good things i.e. the tournament served well for the country with expressions of gratitude for the opportunity etc. I am so fed up with some of these national associations and their constant pussyfooting with our respective sports and athletes. It is a downright shame.

We go into an International tournament not properly prepared but intend to participate for the experience? My goodness! This is 2018. For Heaven's sake people, wake up! Sport is big business and when you are representing this great country in whatever form, I expect us to be well prepared to go into battle. These poor players were sent like lambs to the slaughter and then when these associations don't get the subvention they want from the Ministry, they get upset and cry victimisation etc but those who run our various associations and boards have got to do better or move them out before it's too late.

Colin Murray


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