ST JOHN’S Antigua – A 34-member contingent will represent Antigua & Barbuda at the 15th World Council of Domino Federations World Championships to be held from August 17 to 26 in Orlando, Florida.
Heading the list is president of Antigua & Barbuda National Domino Association (ABNDA) and player Carol-Ann Skepple, manager/treasurer Bickham Moitt, team captain and first vice president Emil Michael, and vice captain and second vice president Renfield Davis.
Also included in the line-up is Vakesha Nathaniel-Joseph, Francine Hector, Desiree Parker, Pamella Roberts, Lucille Mack, Eunetta Williams, Calvin Gordon, Kaid Jarvis, Ava Green (Knight), Isabelle Bruney, Michael Barrow, Michael Roach, Wayne Hallpike, Peter Camille and Elsworth Richards.
Natasha Edwards, Lorraine Richardson, Adella John, Stowe Benjamin, Heraldo “Lilo” Richards, Conrad Constant, Kenny Charles, Lionel Parker Jr and Sheldon Gomes were also selected, while Wavell Jacobs, Durahnie Grant, Rupert Davis and Clayton Thompson round off the selections.
Jo-Ann Barnes and Diana Alexander will travel as referees.
Skepple, during an interview with OBSERVER Sports, said the team is the best one presently available as a number of variables have ruled out some players.
“It requires Visa and it requires a lot of commitment from players so we are presently sending a contingent to Barbados on June 27, which is about 20 of our best players who basically need Visas to enter Orlando, and that right now is a bit difficult because of finances,” she said.
The president, who was re-elected in February, explained also the rationale behind such a large contingent.
“The minimum that has to represent each country is 16 and the maximum is 35 so that is why we have such a large team because we are playing eight disciplines and you have female and male disciplines; so it requires a fair amount in numbers. I would say a maximum of 35 because each country had to submit two referees also so that is also included in that list,” Skepple said.
As for the team’s chances, Skepple believes they can improve on the second place finish garnered two years ago when the tournament was held in St Lucia.
“We actually came second in 2010 and we are missing our top champion in the Male Pairs who will not be travelling with us this year. They are fire police officers so we definitely have to dig very deep in regards to the players that we have there in trying to capture that discipline,” she said.
“The king will be travelling with us and he is the champion for the mind sport … Haroldo Richards, who will be defending his (title). And then we have our female players who are Francine Hector and Desiree Parker who captured third place, but we are looking forward for first place to basically put us in a better position; and we are looking also to capitalise on the mixed pairs so Antigua is definitely looking forward in bringing home the championship,” the president added.
Antigua & Barbuda will face touch opposition from Barbados, Anguilla, Jamaica and Canada, among other participating countries.
The team, which trains Thursdays through Fridays from 8 to 11 pm and on Sundays from 5 pm at the old Ottos School, will leave for Orlando on August 16 and return August 27.