Friday, April 19, 2024

Tri-series for hockey girls


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The Barbados Hockey Federation (BHF) is planning a tri-nation series to prepare the national women’s team for the forthcoming Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games slated for Barranquilla, Colombia.

President Mark St Hill said that the tournament is likely to take place in June at the Wildey Turf and will involve Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago. Guyana have already confirmed their participation, while the BHF is still awaiting word from Trinidad.

The BHF has a plan B if Trinidad and Tobago are unavailable.

“If only Guyana can come, we will host a three-Test series which will attract plenty of attention and support, knowing the history between these two countries has been rich not only in hockey but other sporting disciplines such as cricket, soccer and boxing,” said St Hill.

“The girls are making good progress with their training. Donovan Smith is doing an excellent job and he is well supported by the capable Ralph Watson, who has a lot still to offer this sport. He has been spending a lot of time with the girls in sharpening their techniques.

“One of the things that we are very keen on bringing out in this squad is fitness. We are sparing no efforts in having a very fit and strong team. We think the girls are going to do extremely well.”

At the last CAC Games at the High Performance Centre in Veracruz, Mexico, in 2014, Dionne Clarke, who has since become a national bikini fitness queen, captained the team to fifth place.

St Hill said that the men’s side, who placed fourth in Mexico, were also hard in training.

“The men are contemplating doing a tour before the CAC Games. Coach Dominic Hill has been working very hard with them in conjunction with Dave Hinds and Alain Hinds.”

St Hill, a former national goalkeeper, said a medal for a high placing at the CAC Games in July would be a big boost for hockey, given the major reversal it has endured with the absence of AstroTurf for nearly ten years.

“It would be remarkable if within a year of its availability, we could earn a CAC medal,” he said.

St Hill, the managing director of retail, business and international banking at FirstCaribbean International Bank, said he was delighted to give back to the sport.

“I think I owe hockey a lot. My coming back to be president is to return what hockey has done for me. I was asked to come in and be a stabilising factor for a while and I am extremely happy to do so.

“I don’t spend enough time on the sport, as I am off island, but this is really a commitment and returning what the sport has done for me both professionally and personally.”

The president said that the BHF wanted to move hockey back into the clubs.

“Because of the absence of the sport for a long period, what we really want to do is to move hockey back into the clubs. Kofi Hinds (secretary) is working on a plan to see how we can get clubs that have been defunct for years to get them started.

“We want to put those clubs into a special league, so they can take some baby steps in getting their players up to scratch, putting like with like. We don’t want a club coming back into competition, playing established teams,” he added. (MK)


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