Basseterre, St. Kitts (April 28, 2017) — With the feasible combination of dedicated sports officials, dedicated players, and a dedicated sponsor, the game of handball which is relatively new in the country is bound to go places and put St. Kitts and Nevis high on the regional – if not world – map.
The St. Kitts and Nevis Handball Association, which was formed in 2009, has in the past assembled national teams that have done well regionally, but was yet to stamp its mark at the local level as there had been no individual clubs. Recognition of the game at home is lacking.
President of the association Mr Leroy Greene is reporting that while that was so a few months back, the stepping in of the Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis (DBSKN) as a partner in the growth and promotion of the game, a number of male and female teams have been formed and were on Saturday April 22 in action at the Netball City in Basseterre.
“We basically have been under the radar because what we have been doing is training coaches, match officials etc.” explained Mr Greene. “However, in October last year we went to our first competition in French Guadalupe, where we played in an under-20 competition.
“To our surprise we did quite well. We defeated countries like Trinidad and Barbados, and the men placed fourth in that competition and the women placed fifth. So what that is saying is that we have wonderful skills and talent in playing handball – we just need a lot more exposure. We therefore decided to approach the Development Bank.”
When Ms Vernitha Maynard, Development Bank’s Marketing Officer, heard about the game’s predicament she took it upon herself to apprise the Bank’s Board and Management as to what is happening with this struggling sport discipline where players were doing so well.
“Sport is evolving every day, we love the excitement but even more so we love the drama,” said Ms Maynard. “There is nothing more exciting than seeing your team defy the odds and win the game. Sport is about the incredible moments where sheer human will and desire overcomes odds. These attributes are alive and well in the game of handball too.”
From what the President of the St. Kitts and Nevis Handball Association had explained to her, she talked to the Bank’s CEO Mr Lenworth Harris, who after conferring with the Bank’s Board decided to partner with the association to promote the game of handball in the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis.
According to Mr Greene, with the sponsorship from the Development Bank, they were able to buy seven sets of uniforms, to kit four male and three female teams, and had extra funds to supplement for the hosting of an international handball trainer, Dr Frantisek Taborsky from Prague in Chez Republic. He conducted three courses and a competition.
“We have a roadmap from the International Handball Federation where we have to have these three courses and a competition, and then after that we have to go to another competition but this time it will be a beach handball competition,” said Mr Greene.
The courses were held last week on Tuesday and Wednesday for coaches, and on Thursday and Friday for referees and players. Three male teams and two female teams assembled at the Netball City on Saturday April 22 for a competition.
They received words of encouragement from Ms Vernitha Maynard, Development Bank’s Marking Officer who observed: “These are the moments we remember and here at the Bank, through our sponsorship, we hope the participants taking part in this first ever handball tournament will harness perseverance to endure the tournament and be proud of the end result. We wish the team all the success.”
The teams that turned up for the Saturday competition were Hub City Ballers, True Ballers, and Persistence for males; and Unstoppable Squad and Black Magic for females. At the end of the exciting competition True Ballers were winners in the male category, while Unstoppable Squad won the women’s section.
Results were for male teams, Persistence 10 – True Ballers 18; Hub City 10 – True Ballers 13; Persistence 17 Hub City 14, and with two wins, True Ballers were the winners. In the female category, Unstoppable Squad scored 10 against their sole rival Black Magic who scored 6.
“We do not have any team from Basseterre,” said Mr Greene on being asked where the teams came from. “These teams stretch from Old Road, go all the way down to St. Pauls. We have teams made up of people from Old Road, Sandy Point, Verchilds, St. Pauls and Saddlers. The Basseterre people seem not to want to play the sport.”
He noted that the association was out to popularise the game and the competition held last Saturday was just for exposure, and thanked the Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis for its invaluable support.
“This is really set up to expose our handball discipline to the general public,” said Mr Greene. “Unfortunately not many people came, but we are still going through with the game because we are practising and we have a coach at our disposal. We want to show what we can do with handball.”
According to Mr Greene, training continued this week at Frigate Bay on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday with a course on beach handball at the Frigate Bay Beach.
He was however not in a position to advise as to when they would hold another handball competition noting that, “we have to plan in such a way to make sure we do not come up against things like football and the other sports. So we will plan that and we will get on to the general public when we do that.”