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December 24, 2012
Star Sport


First base - Richards hopes clinic will prove initial step to development of baseball in Jamaica

André Richards of the Mico University College.

Three Jamaicans who were selected by Baseball Development Jamaica, in association with Jamaica Baseball Association and the Ministry of Sports, are back in the island after a one-month coaching internship clinic in the Dominican Republic.

One of those who attended is André Richards of Mico University College, and after his stint is ready to contribute to the development of the sport in Jamaica.

Richards, who started working with the Multi Care Foundation where he taught students the game of baseball weekly at Breezy Castle, was selected because of his knowledge of the sport and, along with the other members, were hosted by the San Diego Padres Baseball Academy, where he learnt the sport first hand. The Padres are a major league team based in San Diego and play in the National League Western Division.

" It was a remarkable experience, interacting with new people and experiencing a different culture from that of our own. My experience and knowledge of the game has increased. Although I focused on one specific area I was still able to learn about other areas of the game," Richards told Star Sports.

"During the time I was there the team was playing in the Dominican Instructional League, and the training is pretty much the same as other sports, consisting of physical, tactical and technical aspects," he added. Richards said that the clinic had people from approximately six Caribbean countries, and the clinic was geared towards the development of baseball in the countries they live in.

Richards, like the others who were involved in the clinic, were treated at a dinner by Major League Baseball Association on the final day of the camp, where certificates presented were signed by Joe Torre (executive vice-president of Major League Baseball).

The dinner featured major management and coaches from across the world and renowned players such as Paulo Ramirez.

"With all the experience gathered I am looking forward to working with various stakeholders to help with the development of baseball in Jamaica. I am hoping we can start a baseball competition here for high schools, which mean that it would be a part of the physical education curriculum, where schools can start their own baseball programmes," said Richards.

His long-term vision for baseball is for Jamaica to have its own major league and for academies to be developed across the island. Richards is hoping that support is given to the developmental of the sport in order to achieve success.

"Baseball is a popular and expensive sport so a lot of support will be needed . From my experience, Jamaica has tremendous talent and ability to produce athletes of the best quality on the international stage. Some of the countries that currently are involved in the sport have nothing much, over us and if we get the financial backing we can succeed. Baseball can be used as an avenue for youths to build a career which will benefit the country in the long term by attracting investors", he said finally.

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