Blind cricketers off to represent West Indies Women’s team

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By Avenash Ramzan

The five Guyanese selected to represent the West Indies Female Blind Cricket team departed these shores on Thursday to link up with the remainder of the squad to face England Female Blind Cricket team in a bilateral T20 series in Barbados.

The five-match series, organised by West Indies Cricket for the Blind and Visually Impaired, will wrap up on July 15. The Guyanese, all of whom are all-rounders, are Rosemarie Ramitt, Robecka Edinboro, Ackila Smith, Melieka Crawford and Crystal Aulder.

They are accompanied on the trip by coach Ganesh Singh and manager Theresa Pemberton. The West Indies Female Blind Cricket team also includes players from St. Lucia, Barbados and Dominica.

According to Singh, the Guyana Blind Cricket Association was able to raise the necessary funds to ensure the ladies make the trip, with assistance coming from His Excellency President David Granger, the National Sports Commission, the Guyana Cricket Board, the United Women for Special Children, Republic Bank, Noble House Seafood, Goodwood Racing Service, Gaico Construction, P&P Insurance Brokers among others.

“Also we want to express our gratitude to Mr. Anthony Xavier and the crew at the National Stadium, because for the past few weeks that’s where the girls were training. Due to the inclement weather nowhere else was available, so we were given the ground to use and that was good enough for us because we were able to do a lot of fielding drills and some batting and bowling practice,” Singh said.

He added, “We feel very good about the girls’ preparation. From what we’ve seen they’re very, very good and I’m sure they will do Guyana proud and at the same time do the region proud because of their skill level and their commitment to the game.”

Apart from the on-field action, the players will also be involved in a workshop on ‘Empowerment of women with disabilities’ and training in Blind Cricket administration.

Singh is looking forward to good on-field performances, but more importantly he is keen on the females developing in other areas.

“Blind Cricket is not just about competition or playing competitively; it’s a vehicle for the empowerment of persons with disabilities. I really want to see them grow as individuals. I want to see their confidence and self-esteem improve and increase, because that’s our overall aim. As much as we want them to do well- and I’m sure they will do well- I want to see them grow and become more independent because Blind Cricket helps with rehabilitation [and] independence; it’s like a therapy,” Singh explained.

Players’ perspective

Meanwhile, Ramitt, who will be competing in her first official tournament, is looking forward to the experience.

“It’s definitely a good opportunity and it feels good to know that I’m able to represent my country at a regional level in a sport that is so well-known as Blind Cricket,” she told News Room.

Ramitt said her involvement in the sport has brought about a sense of empowerment and confidence, and she is urging other persons who have been diagnosed with different stages of blindness to try out Blind Cricket.

“I think it’s important blind persons partake in an event such as Blind Cricket because it allows them to also socialise with other blind persons and we get to be a part of something that was once never possible,” she pointed out.

Robecka Edinboro, who only took up the sport a few months ago, is eager to showcase her skills at the regional level. Since playing Blind Cricket, Edinboro said it has helped her to be “physically, emotionally and socially strong” and has aided her socialisation process.

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