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As a result of the successful summer tour of the UK by the under-19 cricket team from Antigua and Barbuda, new opportunities have opened up in the United Kingdom for young Antiguans and Barbudans.
Minister of Education and Sports, Daryll Matthew, held discussions with various educational and sporting institutions in the UK, paving the way for enhanced ties between Antigua and Barbuda and these institutions.
Accompanied by High Commissioner Karen-Mae Hill, Matthew engaged with prominent institutions such as Harrow School.
The discussions led to the proposal of two fully funded placements for young Antiguan and Barbudan cricketers at Harrow School from April to June 2024.
These placements are aimed at immersing students in academic studies and training with the prestigious Harrow School Cricket Club, fostering academic and sporting excellence.
Another critical meeting involved Director of Sport Richard Wheater and Senior Performance Programme Manager at Loughborough University.
Discussions centered on providing elite athletes from Antigua and Barbuda with opportunities to secure scholarships at Loughborough University, a top-ranking institution in the UK known for its sports excellence.
Tailored training programs for football and cricket coaches employed by the Ministry of Sports were also discussed.
Plans for a cricket tour to Antigua and Barbuda in March 2024 by a Loughborough University cricket team were also discussed, building on the positive interaction during the under 19 team’s visit in August.
Meetings with Hertfordshire County Cricket Club (HCCC) and the ACE Programme focused on developing an exchange and capacity-building program for players and coaches.
In addition to sports, Minister Matthew met with Caribbean Elective founders Sergio Fedee and Harry Spear.
Caribbean Elective, a non-profit providing UK students with government-funded internship opportunities globally, will now include Antigua and Barbuda in its program starting February 2024.
Matthew emphasized that the under 19 cricket tour was not a one-time effort but “was designed to expose our cricket players and administrative staff to playing cricket in different conditions.
It was also designed to identify new development partners. In both regards, this first tour was a huge success. The Government looks forward to the second tour in summer 2024”.
The Ministry of Education, Sports, and the Creative Industries will release more details on these programs in the coming months, providing young Antiguans and Barbudans with unparalleled opportunities to broaden their horizons and excel in their academic and sporting pursuits.