By Clifton Ross
Badminton Coach Gokarn Ramdhani has dubbed 2018 a fruitful year for not only the Guyana Badminton Association (GBA), of which he is president, but for national players Narayan and Priyanna Ramdhani, who have endured a phenomenal year.
The head coach said that he was pleased with the GBA’s feats this year. He added that apart from the road to the 2020 Olympics for Narayan and Priyanna, as well as her brother’s 2019 Pan American Games’ qualification, he wants to focus on the junior crop of players as well as students, as introducing the sport to schools is among the main objectives for 2019.
“We had a very successful 2018. Our players did well at the various camps, and we achieved much because we are now ranked 32 in the World, thanks to our junior players. Narayan has been doing well in his high-performance camp in Canada, while Priyanna is currently 151 in the world rankings. We also won about 8 medals during the Senior and Junior World championships,” he declared.
Narayan is a strong prospect to represent Guyana at the Olympics, and the Guyana Olympic Association (GOA) member said it is mandatory for this Guyanese star to play 5 games before he could be considered qualified for Olympic participation.
The senior Ramdhani explained that while two tournaments are already outlined for Narayan in 2019 — a Pan Am tournament in Peru and the Caribbean Championships — the badminton ace still needs to play in 3 other recognisable events in order to secure the mandatory requirements.
The GBA Head has said he is hopeful the GOA and National Sports Commission (NSC) can map a path forward to ensure Narayan plays his 3 other mandatory games, thus he can gain the necessary ranking to put Guyana on the map for the 2020 Olympics.
Regarding the local players, the senior Ramdhani has said emphasis would be placed on finding additional players to accompany Narayan and Priyanna, who have already qualified for individual participation in the Pan American Games in 2019. He said the other players would form a strong team with the brother/sister duo, giving Guyana a better chance at the team events.
In regard to building the next generation of badminton players, a key dream of the GBA President, he disclosed that a massive schools’ programme would spike off next year to facilitate students learning the fundamentals of the sport, while free gear, including racquets and nets, would also be distributed.
Thanks to the success of the juniors this year, Guyana had impressive returns; but the coach has said it is crucial for the youngsters to immediately be prepared for next year’s tournament, because he believes they could perform better.
This veteran coach/GBA executive has commended all his players and the die-hard supporters of the sport for making a massive success of all of the local events as well as the players’ international endeavors during 2018. He has confirmed that the first tourney of 2019 would likely get underway in late January/early February.