By Neto Baptiste
National and international warri icon, Trevor Simon, said a lack of interest by players and members of the Antigua and Barbuda Warri Association (ABWA), continues to hinder the upward movement of the sport here.
Speaking on the Good Morning Jojo Sports Show, Simon credited sitting president Joel Carr for the efforts he has made thus far, but added that the lack of interest shown by members has taken a toll on the advancement of the body.
“One of the challenging things and most difficult thing in Antigua (and I am speaking, not from my warri academy membership but as a member of the warri association) over the years we have had numerous problems when it comes to the membership in terms of being able to get a forum or even to have an AGM, because players seemingly are just interested in turning up when you have a competition and leave the development on the side. Part of my mantra and part of the warri academy’s mantra is to develop the game in such a way that Antigua will maintain its dominance as far as world warri is concerned,” he said.
The mind-sport is yet to obtain permission from the country’s health authorities for a return to competition and Simon said this has left players a bit eager for action.
“Warri is a close contact sport and the students of the academy we developed since 2005, they are on edge because every week they call me wanting to know when we are going to restart. We have developed such a family atmosphere in the warri academy that these guys are frustrated not being able to play but that’s something we have no control over and heaven knows when this pandemic will be over and bring warri back to the forefront,” he said.
“In the meantime, I know that the World Warri Federation has been attempting to organise games online and they actually had a European tournament late last year,” he added.
The veteran player, who has won several world titles, said the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has not done the sport any favours.
“As I speak now, there would have been a competition in France that they refer to as Festival De Jeux because every year the government there puts on a games festival that lasts a week and warri would have been front and center being played right now but because of Covid that was cancelled,” Simon said.
“After the festival in France last year, which I won, all of the other tournaments were cancelled and you had one of the biggest tournaments on the world schedule in Czech Republic and then you had the one which was supposed to have followed which would have been a big event where there was supposed to have been a world event in Turkey in August of last year and that was also postponed,” he added.
The national association has not had an AGM in over three years with president, Joel Carr, blaming a lack of interest by members for the ongoing issues.