Scotland: March will see change

Mark Scotland hopes to revise Cayman’s sports landscape by March 2013.

The Minister of Sports made that announcement at the Cayman Islands Netball Association annual opening uniform parade at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex last weekend.

“We are working on a strategic sports policy that will be unveiled in the next three to four months,” Scotland said. “There will be more engagement between education and sports.”

Scotland had stated weeks ago that the policy will, in particular, review the criteria used to determine which disciplines qualify to be focus sports. Among the important factors will be level of participation, future development plans and the potential for world-class performances on the international stage.

The netball parade would honour many local ladies. John A Cumber Primary School won the Under-9 and Under-11 age groups in their redesigned white, red and black kits ahead of Red Bay Primary, who donned star-studded maroon skirts and white tops. East End Primary, in their baby blue, yellow and black uniforms, placed third in both segments.

John Gray High School claimed the top two spots in the U14 group. The Jets, in their yellow kits with black and white stripes, placed first and the Blazers, the 2011 winners, came second in their red floral tops. The Clifton Hunter High School team, sponsored by Cimboco, were third in their dark blue and yellow outfits.

The second Clifton Hunter squad, sponsored by Goldfield, would win the U16 crown in their unique aquamarine uniforms. The John Gray High Tigers, in their traditional purple kits, would finish second. The John Gray High Flames, clad in red and yellow, danced to third.

For the second straight year, Unity would don their red and black Flames kits to win the seniors (adult) category. Rising Stars, clad in new orange and red outfits, placed second with new squad Renegades finishing third in their dark blue kits with red, yellow and white accents.

Scotland was among the invited guests with others being the Director of Sports Collin Anglin, Clifton Hunter High principal Pauline Beckford and Sheena Anglin, wife of Education Minister Rolston Anglin. Linda McField served as emcee.

Netball is currently one of Cayman’s six focus sports, with the others being athletics, basketball, cricket, football and swimming; all of which are administered by local governing bodies. The national sport, football, gets the most government support.

According to the 2012-2013 purchase agreements, government is granting $108,322 to the Cayman Islands Football Association while the Cayman Islands Netball Association is earning $69,654 this fiscal year.

Netball association president Lucille Seymour states sports need a bigger presence in the local education system.

“This sport of netball and all the other focus sports will not survive unless the government, in particular the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Sports, partners with the schools to ensure talent is embedded in the schools,” Seymour said.

Netball matches up relatively well, financially, with the other focus sports. The Cayman Islands Athletics Association is getting $27,804 from government, the Cayman Islands Basketball Association earns $78,024 for 2012-2013 and the Cayman Islands Cricket Association is also granted $78,024.

The Cayman Islands Amateur Swimming Association, listed in the purchase agreements as the Cayman Islands swimming association, takes in $71,073. All have technical directors in the form of Kenrick Williams (athletics), Victor ‘Voot’ O’Garro (basketball), Theo Cuffy (cricket) and Ian Armiger (swimming). Football is slightly different with Marcos Tinoco serving as general manager/football association development officer/acting men’s technical director (Thiago Cunha is the technical director for women’s football in Cayman). Carl Brown, who left Cayman after a four-year stint in 2011, was the last official technical director.

Netball added a technical director of its own earlier this year, in the form of Aussie Gillian Lee. Both Scotland and Seymour expressed their support for her arrival.

“Government was supportive in looking for a technical director for netball,” Scotland said. “It is one of the focus sports where we focus our resources towards growth. Netball had been without a technical director for some 10 years and had been lacking in development due to that gap.

“Gillian is doing extremely well so far. She has the national team training for the U21 Championships in Scotland. To prepare to qualify takes a lot of effort and learning from those teams that have been there before.”

“Valerie Streete, Pat Downey, all those that passed away would be pleased to see this day,” Seymour said. “I say a heartfelt thank you to Minister Scotland and government for giving us a technical director after 10 years of no netball coach.

“Minister Scotland personally saw to it that move was done and on behalf of the netball association, I thank him for that.”

Focus now shifts to the netball association’s 2012-2013 open league, which is slated to begin next Thursday, 15 November, from 6.30pm at the Truman Bodden netball courts. All Stars A, behind talents like Pauline Bodden, are the reigning national champions.

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