Acting Permanent Secretary in the Division of Culture and Sports, Ernesta Drakes (FP)

Government has reaffirmed its commitment to netball, promising to continue providing the requisite equipment, playing facilities and coaching and technical assistance.

Acting Permanent Secretary in the Division of Culture and Sports, Ernesta Drakes, gave this assurance yesterday, while addressing the opening ceremony of the Barbados Secondary Schools’ Netball League (BSSNL) at the Netball Stadium, in Waterford, St. Michael.

Ms. Drakes said that as the Ministry sought to develop youth through sports, it was acutely aware of the need to support the various disciplines.

She continued: "I have been truly heartened by the level of participation in the sport of netball through the years, as it offers a sound option for our youth and contributes to their positive development.

"It is, therefore, commendable that the Executive of the Barbados Secondary Schools’ Netball League has resuscitated the discipline of netball across our secondary schools. Judging from the number of teams here today, it would be safe to say that we are on the correct path to success."

Acknowledging that sports were an integral part of Barbadian lives, she pointed out that people were able to witness how they could directly impact the participants and society. She highlighted Barbados’ win at the 2012 Jean Pierre Tournament and the West Indies cricket team capturing the 2012 ICC WorldTwenty20 cricket as examples.

Ms. Drakes stated: "It is at the level of this League and similar competitions, that these successes are incubated. I, therefore, encourage you to capitalise on this opportunity to shine for your team, your schools and ultimately, to ensure the sustainability of our successes."

She commended the sponsors, saying they continued to be outstanding corporate citizens in light of the current economic climate. She challenged potential sponsors "to recognise and pursue the immense benefit to be derived from an investment in our youth".

The Permanent Secretary encouraged the competitors to foster meaningful and lasting friendships.

President of the BSSNL, Julie Phillips, said she would like the players who had reached the national level or passed through the school system to find time to give back to their former schools. "This can be done by offering coaching assistance to your former physical education teachers. This kind of assistance can help in the development of netball and with your own personal development," she surmised.

She stressed, however, that physical education teachers must be willing to embrace the old scholars as they assisted in rebuilding and rekindling their school’s flame.

During her address, Ms. Phillips announced that a partnership had been formed between the League and Powerade and thanked Banks Holdings Limited for supporting sports in Barbados.

Brand Manager of Powerade, Clifford Gooding-Edghill, said the company was pleased to provide an opportunity for young athletes to nurture their talent and go on to represent Barbados.


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