Watson: Barbados hockey slips in the region

Former long standing national coach Ralph Watson says the standard of local field hockey has declined in recent years.

Speaking recently at the Barbados International Hockey Festival, Watson said “Our standards have dropped. Before I thought we were the number one team in the Caribbean. I don’t think we can boast that now. Trinidad has overtaken us in both men’s and women’s hockey.

“We haven’t developed at the rate I think we should, but fortunately, I am in a position where we can structure the youth and that’s what I’m hoping to do in the foreseeable future.”

The COVID-19 pandemic interrupted the domestic season and ruled out primary and secondary school hockey for the last two years, but the National Sports Council (NSC), in partnership with the Barbados Hockey Federation, believes now is the time to get back to hosting competitions.

Watson is part of the coaching staff which is overseeing programmes for the junior and senior teams in preparation for the Junior Pan American Hockey Championships and the Central American and Caribbean Games respectively next year.

“With the right programmes implemented we can again boast that number one status across the Caribbean. I am extremely confident in the future of our hockey.”

Barbados has been provisionally chosen to host the 13th edition of the Junior Pan American Hockey Championships next April and has qualified for the 24th edition of the Central American and Caribbean Games (CAC) which are scheduled to take place in San Salvador, next year from June 23 to July 8.

The men’s team has won one silver medal at the CAC Games in 2002 and two bronze medals in 1982 and 2010. The women’s side has won four bronze medals in 1986, 2002, 2006 and 2010. (JC)

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