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Netball players call for indoor court

Mindless attack: vandals daubed paint on the netball courts at Bernard Park in 2016 - now netball players want an indoor court

Netball players have asked for an indoor court after their site at a park was vandalised again.

Kimale Evans, the president of the Bermuda Netball Association, wants public and government support for an indoor playing area after the courts at Bernard Park in Pembroke were damaged twice in the space of three days.

She said in a video: “An indoor facility will help to diminish the health and safety risk that the netball community has had to endure for sometime.”

Ms Evans was speaking after the courts had paint thrown over them last Wednesday and again last Friday — the latest in a string of incidents dating back to 2017.

She said that the courts had been vandalised at least once a month since June last year.

She added: “This time there were paint cans that were thrown down on to the northwestern side of court one.

“We were able to get a good bit of that off, but two days later someone came from the roadside on the southeast end and must have stood behind the fence and thrown a can of paint.”

Ms Evans said cameras had been installed to monitor the area but they had done little to stop the vandalism.

She added that, although the area was playable, the vandalism was a health risk to players.

She explained: “The area that we clean up makes the surface area slippery and could pose a health and safety risk.

“Once, a few months back, they threw cooking grease and shredded paper, which was harder to clean up because that was slippery and we couldn’t get that up right away.”

Ms Evans said: “We have been in talks with the Department of Youth, Sport and Recreation and the reality is that there is sufficient room down in Bernard Park to build a purpose-built facility that can house both netball and other programmes.

“We’ve expressed how an indoor netball court will diminish a bit of the health and safety risks because, as people have said over the years, playing on the tarmac could put stress on the knees. Just about nowhere else in the world plays netball outdoors, except for some of the Caribbean leagues, but any form of professional play all happens indoors.”

She added: “A purpose-built facility would allow for us to host international competition and maybe to bring some international matches down to the islands, because we’re really trying our best to promote the sport and netball is making huge strides in this area, both on the international stage and on the recreational front.”

Ms Evans asked the public to get behind women’s sport and the BNA.

She said: “Bernard’s Park has been our home for years now and I think that if it’s done in the correct manner, it can be used as a multipurpose facility.”

Lovitta Foggo, the Minister of Labour, Community Affairs and Sports, said: “I am sorely disappointed in those members of our community who find it acceptable to disrupt the hard work of our netball teams, preventing positive behaviour with their negative behaviour.

“I urge anyone with any information on these atrocious acts to come forward so that these individuals can explain their unacceptable antisocial behaviour.”