By Neto Baptiste
Two of the country’s influential women in sports said that being involved in their respective disciplines has prepared them for a world that was, at the time, dominated by their male counterparts.
Iconic former netballer, Agatha Dublin and one of the region’s top female officials in football Gwen Salmon, believe that being able to surmount the challenges faced in their various sporting fields, has moulded them into the successful individuals they are today.
Salmon, who has served as a football association vice president since 2011, is hoping her success will be a testament to others such that, despite gender or race, they could still find success with hard work and dedication.
“Playing this role has moulded me into having stronger discipline and being a more confident person and it taught me that despite my sex, race or geographical location, that the contribution that I have given is valuable to my male counterparts. I just saw it as making a contribution to the growth of football and it’s development in the region because I have assisted other females in different associations, guiding them and mentoring them in different roles they wanted to play,” she said.
The Hoppers FC president, who has also served on numerous committees for both the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) and CONCACAF [Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football] however warns that it is not all smooth sailing.
“I think that as females we only got appointments to do female games and as the years went by we were given the opportunity to actually work in the men’s senior game, so I think we have made strides over the years, and as a female coming in this game, I would say that first, you must love the game and you must have a passion for it,” Salmon said.
Meanwhile, Dublin, who represented the twin-island state in netball during the ‘70s and ‘80s, said her involvement in sports assisted in harnessing not only her skills on the court, but also her life skills.
“The field of play teaches you a lot of lessons that are invaluable to your personal development like fair play, tolerance, grace, leadership and, more importantly, followership and team spirit. So you have to develop that sense of ownership and, as a result, you have to also take responsibility for every action. At a very young age I think that manifested itself where I became, I think, the youngest umpire at a world tournament and that was in Singapore in 1973,” she said.
Dublin was named as part of the regional netball squad in 1996 but was forced to opt out due to work commitment. She later returned to manage the team at the 2003 World Netball Championships held in Kingston, Jamaica. Dublin currently heads the judges committee for the National Sports Awards.