Barbados Netball Association President Nisha Craigwell and Minister of Culture, Sports and Youth Stephen Lashley in close conversation during the media launch of the AFNA World Cup Qualifier 2018.
Barbados to host Netball World Cup Qualifiers
Only two spots will be up for grabs later this year when Barbados plays host to the rest of the region for the Americas Federation of Netball Associations (AFNA) World Cup Qualifier 2018. Set to run from August into September, the hosts will be among 11 nations vying for positions in the 2019 World Cup.
During a recent media launch of the local event, Barbados Netball Association President Nisha Craigwell said that she was pleased to be hosting the upcoming qualifiers and that they would provide a platform for the association to make the next step.
“These qualifiers afford Barbados the opportunity to really see where netball has evolved and what it has come to on a professional level and that is exactly where our intentions are to take netball in Barbados to,” she said.
With next year’s World Cup slated for July in Liverpool and the team fresh off their stint at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia, Craigwell said that the team had a legacy to uphold as they were the island’s highest-ranked sports team and had qualified for every World Cup thus far. “Barbados was one of two countries in the region who played in the Commonwealth Games and it means that we have a high standard to maintain. We have a record as one of five countries who have played in all Commonwealth Games and we have a record to maintain,” she said.
With the island hosting the first ever qualifier for the region back in 2006, this year will see the recently-renovated Sir Garfield Sobers Gymnasium serving as the backdrop for the games which run from August 24 to September 2. A price tag of BDS$270 000 has been attached to the staging of the event and Government has pledged its assistance.
During the media briefing, Minister of Culture, Sports and Youth Stephen Lashley said that his ministry was willing to lend its assistance, particularly as it relates to the the cost of the venue, stating that there was a vested interest and the success of the event could only bode well for the association and the island. “The government has a vested interest in ensuring that once we bring tournaments of this kind to Barbados that there can only be one result – and that is we are able to deliver a successful tournament. It is key to the quality of our sports tourism product, it is key to ensuring that we can deliver even more tournaments across the gamut of sporting disciplines. However of course we cannot do that if we gain a reputation of not being able to deliver and deliver at a very high level.” he said.
With Barbados currently ranked at 11 in the world, the Local Organising Committee has received confirmation from Argentina (40), Bermuda (30), Canada (27), Grenada (26), St. Maarten (32), Trinidad and Tobago (13), the United States of America (28) and the unranked Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. (MP)