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St. Lucia on its way to something big
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St. Lucia on its way to something big

CASTRIES (St. Lucia) — “We've got a lot of things going on,” are the first words uttered by the President of the St. Lucia Basketball Federation (SLBF), Leslie Collymore, regarding the island's basketball action. The Caribbean organization has a wide array of activities focused on the development of the sport from the mini to the adult level.

Among these are the recently concluded National Basketball Program Camp, which took place in the indoor court of Beausejour and featured activities and drills to improve the basketball skills and basics both in the offense and in the defense.

“It's part of the selection criteria for FIBA’s Youth Development Program,” explained Collymore. “But we tried to open it up for boys and girls to help promote the sport and use it as a talent identifier. We had many more athletes than we anticipated. There were around 60 children between the ages of 12 to 17 from all over the island and whom we consider to be elite athletes. We made an assessment and chose the five that will go to the [FIBA Americas Regional Camp] in Puerto Rico.

The SLBF President emphasized the significant female participation in the initiative. This has been non-existent in the organization because other sports have been more popular.

“We're competing with Netball, which is very popular here. Netball and Volleyball for women. We're definitely facing problems to grow the sport among the girls; however, their response has been much better than expected. I think there were 15 girls participating. It's not much, but it's a start,” Collymore explained.

Despite this, the Federation is hopeful in its plans of continuing the development initiatives, acknowledging that all great programs in the world are the result of decades of effort and work by its technical staff.

“We’ll take it as an opportunity to become a youth development program so that these 60 young players may be the beginning of something continuous,” said Collymore. “We also picked three girls and three boys we’ll be sending to a college exposition camp in Trinidad that will take place at the end of June.”

The Federation led by Collymore works on five fundamental pillars to do its work: governance, marketing, fundraising and finances, technical aspects, and tournaments. The President also shared that he's working on the final details for a national mini basketball development program.