By Neto Baptiste
A lack of ample facilities that would allow organisers to meet strict Covid-19 guidelines and protocols during matches, has forced organisers of the OECS/ECCB International Netball Series to move the planned hosting of the postponed 2020 instalment of the under-23 competition from Antigua to Dominica.
The tournament was slated for Antigua in September but will now take place in “Nature Isle” in November.
President of the Antigua and Barbuda Netball Association (ABNA) Karen Joseph confirmed that the tournament has been moved to Dominica, but added that the country has been earmarked to host next year’s instalment once the ongoing pandemic subsides and some restrictions are lifted.
“So you know it’s Covid season and we needed to have more than one venue, and also having multiple washroom stations, bathrooms. Dominica has just built a proper stadium that could host in a time like this and so we decided to — and it’s a decision made by all of us — to make Dominica host this year and then we could host next year,” she said.
The former goal shoot said moving the tournament, however, does not hamper the country’s participation.
“We had started practicing earlier this year and we had to put off practice until like a month or so ago when we resumed practice, and it has been going very well. Casey is dealing with the girls in terms of their training and so forth so it’s a case where I think the girls should be ready by the time it comes around,” Joseph said.
As for the return of competition at the national level, Joseph said it is something that has been discussed at an executive level.
“It’s a possibility, but I am more looking at a village league sense where we can go to different communities which will be safer and better for us, so that’s what we are looking at from an executive standpoint. It would be more on a weekend basis like on Saturdays and Sundays,” the netball boss said.
The inaugural International Netball Series was hosted in St Vincent and the Grenadines in June 2019 at the Arnos Vale Sporting Complex. Five OECS countries Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Saint Lucia and St Vincent and the Grenadines participated.
Grenada emerged champions and took first hold of the Gloria Ballantyne trophy. Team St Vincent and the Grenadines came second and team Saint Lucia placed third.