Saturday 18 November, 2017

UWI launches new high-performance cricket centre in Barbados

The University of the West Indies and and the Sagicor Financial Corporation have launched the Sagicor-UWI Cricket High Performance Centre under The UWI’s Faculty of Sport.  

The announcement was made at a press briefing held on Tuesday at the University’s Cave Hill Campus in Barbados.

The Centre, in partnership with Sagicor Financial Corporation, will be in operation in the coming months and aims to provide opportunities for young, talented cricketers in the region to hone their skills in a holistic environment.

The Centre comprises modern facilities including the first class 3Ws Oval, outdoor nets, an indoor cricket school as well as a team of qualified coaches, physiotherapists and strength and conditioning specialists.

A sports psychologist and nutritionist are also expected to come on board soon. In addition to high-performance resources for athletes, the Centre will also offer workshops and certificates focused on the training and all-round development of cricketers.

Speaking at the launch, Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles presented the story of the development of the High Performance Centre.

He said when The UWI teamed up with the WICB and Sagicor Financial Corporation six years ago to establish a cricket academy at the Cave Hill Campus, it was a transformational moment in the development of West Indies cricket.

He said the UWI already had in place since 1994, the Centre for Cricket Research and was offering a Master’s Degree in Global Cricket Studies.

Its students were already playing successfully in regional cricket in the form of the Combined Campuses and Colleges (CCC), and reached the regional finals three times.

Meanwhile, The UWI team in Barbados, inducted into the premier leagues as a development experiment, took over, winning all the championships, setting new levels of performance dominance and established an image of invincibility.

With the change of leadership at the WICB from Julian Hunte to Dave Cameron, the tripartite arrangement came to an end.

Vice-Chancellor Beckles said: "West Indies cricket has been for years without an academy—the only international team so deprived. There has been growing expression of concern from cricketers about the void that could not have come at a worse time for West Indies cricket. The UWI, concerned about this void, has restored the sponsorship legacy with Sagicor and has re-established the High Performance Centre.”

“The majority of the current test cricketers, including Captain Jason Holder, Vice-Captain Kraigg Braithwaite, young emerging stars like Shai Hope, Shannon Gabriel are all students from the former HPC. The UWI has nurtured these young heroes and wishes to maintain this responsibility in turning West Indies cricket around."

"There is a younger generation of emerging cricketers who need The UWI’s support, and Sagicor has stepped up to assist. This project must not end, but should be supported as the benefits are obviously very impactful. To this end, The UWI stands ready to continue its role in the rebuilding effort, and looks forward to working intimately with the CWI, the entity tasked with this responsibility.”

The former facility—The Sagicor UWI WICB High Performance Centre—was established in 2010 under the guidance of Professor Sir Hilary Beckles.

Beckles’ agenda was to establish a skills-training and consciousness-raising academy to move young players beyond the divisive and subversive culture that was weakening West Indies cricket.

The WICB-UWI partnership, however, ended under the Cameron administration, when the WICB, now Cricket West Indies (CWI) opted to pursue a different strategy.

Pro Vice-Chancellor and Principal of The UWI Cave Hill Campus, Professor Eudine Barriteau said the Center is the start of another phase in cricket development.

“The launch of this UWI High Performance Centre signals the start of yet another phase in the continued evolution and development of sport at The UWI."

"Sport has earned its right to be an integral part of any academic environment and certainly of this UWI environment.  In being sited here, the Centre has chosen a most fitting home, for high performance is part of the Cave Hill brand.”

Over the past ten years, the Cave Hill Campus has been developing players in its cricket programme under the direction of Head Coach, Floyd Reifer, who has developed a comprehensive programme for student cricketers. The Campus has seen many players who have been recruited by regional first class franchises and West Indies teams.

The Sagicor-UWI Cricket High Performance Centre is the first of many specialised training facilities to be established across The UWI’s four campuses through its Faculty of Sport.

The UWI said there are plans to launch a track and field academy at the Mona Campus and a specialised football facility at the St Augustine Campus.