Determined to be a force to be reckoned with globally in the sport of badminton, Jamaica will stage the second annual International Badminton Tournament this month. The tournament will feature a stellar cast of internationally ranked players who will lock horns with Jamaica’s best for Rio 2016 Olympics qualifying points and US$6,000 in prize money. Action will take place at the National Indoor Sports Centre from March 17-20. Competition will take place in men’s and women’s singles, men’s and women’s doubles, and mixed doubles competition. Martin Giuffre of Canada, the reigning men’s singles champion, will be back to defend his crown. He is ranked 74th in the world. Also 60th-ranked Osleni Guerro of Cuba is expected to feature, as well as 66th- ranked Howard Shu of the United States. In the women’s singles competition, last year’s runner-up, Zuzana Pavelkova of the Czech Republic is slated to feature; as well as 58th-ranked Jeannine Cicognini of Italy and 75th, Telma Santos of Portugal. TOP NAMES The local hopefuls are led by many-time champions Gareth Henry and his sister, Geordine Henry. Mikaylia Haldane, Garron Palmer, Sean Wilson, Samuel Ricketts, and Katherine Wynter are other top Jamaican names. Jamaica Badminton Association president David Thomas has outlined that the local players will relish the opportunity and may even spring surprises as they look to improve their level of play and competitiveness. Speaking at yesterday’s launch at the Jamaica Olympic Association on Cunningham Avenue, general manager of the Sports Development Foundation Denzil Wilks praised the event’s organisers and sponsors and implored Jamaicans to support a world-class event. “When you approach the Independence Park facilities in the latter part of next week and you see flags and feather banners on the western side of the facility, please recognise that Champs is not the only activity taking place. Let us join them as our little but tallawah country stages two huge championships simultaneously,” Wilks said.
On June 14, this year in Barnersville, Monrovia, 19-year-old Liberian student attempted to end his life by swallowing four valium tablets because his friends taunted him, bullying him for his reported failure to have immigrated to Canada. “I want to die…leave me to die…let me die!” the half-conscious young man was cried, simply because of the teasing from his friends.This account seems rather isolated but, a new poll conducted by UNICEF and their partners shows that more than nine out of 10 young people believe bullying is a pervasive problem in their communities; and two-thirds say they have experienced bullying firsthand. The poll was conducted through U-Report, a rapidly growing youth engagement tool that provides a platform for over 2 million young ‘U-Reporters’ from more than 20 countries. Through the poll, young people were asked via SMS, Facebook and Twitter a series of questions relating to the impact of bullying in their community, their own personal experiences of bullying and what they think can be done to end this type of violence. More than 100,000 U-Reporters, recruited by partners such as the Scouts and Girl Guides, with an estimated age of 13-30, participated in the poll, including young people from Senegal, Mexico, Uganda, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Mozambique, Ukraine, Chile, Malaysia, Nigeria, Swaziland,Pakistan, Ireland, Burkina Faso, Mali, Guinea, Indonesia, Zambia and through the Global U-Report channel. “Bullying, including online bullying, remains a largely misunderstood risk to the wellbeing of children and young people,” said UNICEF’s Senior Adviser on Child Protection, Theresa Kilbane. “To end this type of violence, we must improve public awareness of the harmful impact of bullying, equip teachers, parents and peers with the skills to identify risks and report incidents, and provide care and protection for victims.”Other findings from the U-Report poll said: One-third of respondents thought being bullied was normal so they did not tell anyone; the majority of respondents who reported being victims of bullying said they were bullied because of their physical appearance. Bullying was also attributed to gender or sexual orientation and ethnicity; and one quarter of victims said they did not know who to tell.Over eight in 10 respondents believe that raising awareness, including through teacher training, will help children to feel comfortable reporting bullying is one way to address the issue in schools. The United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) works to engage children and adolescents on the impact of bullying as part of its global End Violence Against Children initiative including through the U-Report platform and through global social media campaigns (#ENDViolence). UNICEF, together with its partners, also work to strengthen education systems in schools and establish strong referral systems for child welfare.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)