Minister of Sports, Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo (FP)??

The site on which the Netball Stadium at Waterford, St. Michael, now stands, will soon be home to a multipurpose indoor facility that will cater to netball, basketball, badminton and volleyball.

Minister of Sports, Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo, made this disclosure last Saturday evening, while delivering the feature address at the launch of the 2010 Barbados Netball Association’s Season at the Netball Stadium.

??"The Ministry of Youth, Family and Sports fully acknowledges the importance of having adequate facilities for the development of netball and sports in general; and, we are cognisant that your efforts to elevate our world rating must be enabled by our facilities," she said.

Dr. Byer Suckoo pointed out that plans to upgrade the netball and National Stadium had initially been put on hold because of financial challenges and not because of a lack of commitment.?? She also stated out that Government would be upgrading sports facilities island wide to regional, and, in some instances, world-class standards.????

"We’ve just done a facilities audit and the Ministry, through the National Sports Council (NSC), is now working more closely with various clubs and organisations from the community to the national level, toward deriving collaborative strategic plans to attract and maintain this increased participation in sports, while ensuring optimal use of resources.

"It is hoped that this approach will also lend to the discovery of talent from among our youth that can be moulded and developed up to the national level.?? This, then will result in increased competitiveness, as more persons vie for positions on our national teams and ultimately raise the bar and assist us towards becoming world champions," the Sports Minister noted.

At present, netball is the only female sport in Barbados with a world class ranking.?? The Barbados Senior Netball Team (Barbados Gems) is currently ranked 11th in the world and 3rd in the Americas.?? In July, the team will participate in the American Federation of Netball Association’s qualifying championship in St. Lucia, and the Commonwealth Games in India, in October.

The under-16 team will compete in the Caribbean Netball Association’s Jean Pierre Tournament in Barbados from April 8-18.?? This event is regarded by the Sports Minister as significant, not only for the development of netball, but the establishment of the island as a premier destination for sports tourism.

During the ceremony, last year’s winning teams were presented with trophies, while special awards were given to Henderson Cox and Sonia Phillips.?? The Best Team on parade was Brydens Anchor and the President’s award went to Alicia Jemmot.??

The netball season begins on Monday, February 15.??

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