WEATHER permitting the 2015 Regional Blind Cricket Tournament will bowl off tomorrow at the Sab Sporting Facility with an opening ceremony from 9.00 a.m. This will be followed by the opening encounter between Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados.
The participating teams in this year’s tournament include Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, Martinique, Trinidad and Tobago and the Windward Islands.
Anthony Avril, Executive Director for the St.Lucia Blind Welfare Association and out-going President of the West Indies Cricket Council For the Blind said, “Since 2005, the SLBWA has been charged with the responsibility to create appropriate mechanisms and structures to ensure the development of cricket for the blind in the Windward Islands.
He said: “The challenge was accepted because firstly it will contribute to the SLBWA’s effort to holistically integrate all its clients into society knowing that it is possible for blind and visually impaired people to perform most activities with proper support. Secondly, “it affirms the right to inclusive services, enshrined in the Caribbean Council for the Blind’s Declaration of Rights. It will also strengthen the efforts by relevant authorities to eliminate all forms of discriminations hindering the inclusion of people with impaired vision in the national societies of the Windward Islands”.
The first round of competition will be a 40 over per side affair, while from August 3; cricket fans will see the commencement of the T20 showdown. Jamaica is the defending champions in the 40 over, while Trinidad and Tobago the T20 champions.
Avril said blind cricket has been going on for sometime in the world, but for the Caribbean it was first introduced to Barbados by the British Blind Association in 2005. The first regional tournament was held in 2006. Amongst the leading cricketing nations the West Indies was the latest to come on. The West Indies first participated in international competition in Pakistan in 2006. The fourth Cricket World Cup took place in South Africa last year, but the West Indies team could not participate due to financial problems.
Voice: What are the Windward Islands chances in this year’s tournament?
The SLBWA Executive Director said: “In spite of all the problems we are having, we are expecting the Windward team to give a creditable account of themselves. Interestingly the Martiniquans will be making their debut in cricket and will join the Windward Islands team, as the likes of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Dominica and Grenada could not send players due to their financial situation. Cricket is not a French sport, but our French counterparts are prepared to learn the game and take it to the French Antilles”.
Matches continues on Monday, Windwards against Barbados Tuesday, Windwards against Trinidad and Tobago, Wednesday, Barbados against Jamaica at Marchand and Windwards against Guyana at the Sab Sporting Facility. All matches bowl off from 9.30 a.m.