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Thea Beckles is accustomed to being in the water– swimming pool and open sea. She’s a swimmer; a skill, she said, that made playing water polo easy for her.
“I’ve been playing water polo for a year. I came over from the National Sports Council programme where I did swimming for seven years, and they introduced water polo to swimming,” she said.
She said she always had a keen interest in the sport after seeing it on television during the Olympics, and she knew the transition would be easy since she was already a competitive swimmer.
Thea noted that water polo was a fairly new sport to Barbados but it was easy to play because some of the techniques involved were similar to that of other sports. “Water Polo is basically football in water. It’s the same concept as netball and football; you have to score goals, but you have to tread water and can only use one hand,” she explained.
She noted that it would be a good idea to have water polo implemented into the school system since most schools already had swimming, and water polo was an extension of that sport. “Introducing it into the schools would be a lovely idea. The sport needs more exposure so that kids can become interested and want to get involved,” she said, “eventually it will become one of the mainstream sports on the island.”
She added that being involved in sports was a good way to help young people with discipline and time-management skills. “It gives a sense of how to manage your time. Yes, we want to play these sports but we need to learn how to balance an activity, such as sport, with our school work,” Thea said.
She pointed out that she hoped to one day be a member of a Barbadian team representing water polo at the Olympics, a feat she said she knows she can achieve since she always strived to perform to the best of her abilities. “I just have to put in the time and the hard work. Hard will pay off,” she said.