By: Precious Mills

BASSETERRE, St.Kitts (Saturday 5th May 2018)- The annual Kanchan Nariani Primary School Netball Competition and the San Nariani Primary School Cricket Competition was on Friday 4th May was officially opened during a ceremony organised by the Department of Sports and long-standing sponsor Sun Island Clothes at the Warner Park Cricket Stadium which saw a collective total of seventeen (17) schools represented.

Two special sports icons and officials honoured in this year’s tournament are former netballer Jillian Musgrave-Archibald cricketer Victor cricket Eddy.

Director of Sports Anthony Wiltshire highlighted that youth being involved in such sporting activities like the tournament “is essential to their positive growth and development.”

He saluted the two “illustrious sporting icons” whom he praised for having represented the Federation well on the local, regional and international scenes.

“You are presented with a glorious opportunity to emulate them. Let today be the genesis of greatness for each one of you as you proudly represent your school. May this tournament establish permanent friendships. May you grown from strength to strength.  May the best team win in each discipline,” he remarked.

President of the St.Kitts Netball Association Lester Ible applauded the contributions of the two “sporting stalwarts” noting that they have helped to “put our little Federation on the map.”

“It is not always and not often if it happens that our sporting icons are appreciated and in times like these we have to and must acknowledge how important they were and continue to be to our Federation,” he added.

In addressing the students directly Ible said the opening of the tournament should be seen by the young athletes as the beginning of something that “can become a stepping stone in your lives; do not take it lightly.”

Ible continued: “You are not going to be winners and successful in you sport –netball and cricket- if you do not put the work in. It means you have to listen to your coaches, you have to listen to your teachers and you have to listen to your parents in order to be successful.”

Representative of the St.Kitts Cricket Association and also the Leeward Island Cricket Board Vernon Springer urged parents and teachers to encourage their children to be on their best behaviour in both formats of the sports.

“The discipline is going to be important…You can’t be champions without discipline,” Springer told.

He informed that the Journey of the tournament started well over 25 years ago whilst adding “It is a journey that will continue for a long time as long as Sun Island Clothes is established in St.Kitts and Nevis.”

Representative of sponsor Sun Island Clothes Mahesh Nariani spoke to this reporter after the event in pointing to the desire to see netballers of the Federation reclaim the pinnacle position one attained.

“There were a few years ago when we were on top of the world when we were the number one team in the world and that is where we want to be. So it is with that in mind that the whole thing has been sponsored in terms of netball,” he said.

During the ceremony, the 2017 winning schools and other received their awards including the reigning netball champions the Saddlers Primary School and cricketers champions of the St. Paul’s Primary School.

Notably, the 2018 participating schools marched through the streets of Basseterre that day before heading to the park for the opening ceremony.

The tournament is expected to kicked off on Tuesday 8th May is expected to end on Thursday 31st May.