The Jamaica National Racquetball Team
Our Story and Our Team
  1. We B' Jammin Mon!
    We B' Jammin Mon!
    After placing among the top 15 teams in the world... no one was laughing at the Jamaicans anymore...
  2. Ken Teape
    Ken Teape
    Ken Teape, Long Island, NY. Competed in the 1996 Games Ken is a psychologist in NY. Ken has won numerous State doubles titles.
  3. Jeff Hanno
    Jeff Hanno
    Jeff was one of the original coaches for the team. The original Coaching staff for Team Jamaica included a former US Pro Tour player and a former US coaching staff member. (see... I wasn’t kidding when I said these guys are for real!)
  4. Lurine Barnes
    Lurine Barnes
    Lurine was the first member of the female team and has earned a medal in official international competition competing in the 98, 2000 and 2002 games. Lurine currently lives in Chicago.
  5. Marie Birmingham
    Marie Birmingham
    Marie played both doubles and singles for the Jamaica team. She was born in Jamaica and lived in Arizona.
  6. Don Bryan
    Don Bryan
    Don lives in Georgia and is the former State Doubles champion. He is a medal winner for the Jamaica Team and enjoys competing in both doubles and singles.
The Jamaicans are coming
There are new players coming into the sport of racquetball every day.  As a fairly young sport, it has earned the respect of virtually every athlete yearning for a full body training venue.  In fact, this sport is growing so fast in recognition and reputation, that the Olympic Dream is just around the corner.
                And in 1996, the sport welcomes the first ever Jamaican International Team...  and this athletic competition  will never be the same again.
 
To Dream The Possible Dream
The 1996 World Championships was held in Arizona in August and promised to highlight the best athletes from the around the world in the sport of Racquetball... however, they’ll have to adjust to the new kids in town.
                Jamaica has always been known for it’s excellence in sugar canes, vacation hot spots and it’s athletes.  And now, those fun loving, calypso dancing, hand clapping Caribbean based lifeforms are bringing a whole new dimension to this high speed game of strategy, strength and raw power.
                When Team Jamaica debuted, it  featured players that were already experienced in sanctioned competitive racquetball tournaments.  The key players on this team had already accumulated significant experience in the art of winning.  In addition, Team organizer John F. Edwards placed all team members on a strict and rigid training program involving continuos reggae music, spicy jerk food, coconut juice and a consistent use of the response, “no problem mon.”               
Following on the heals of the Jamaican Bobsled Team, the team enjoyed coming into this sport as an underdog.

1996- Phoenix: The team debuted in the World Games in Arizona with a men’s team hoping to get as close as possible to a top 20 ranking.  By the time the premier athletic event was over, the Jamaicans finished the competition ranked exactly at #20 in the men’s standings.  This placed the Jamaicans higher in ranking than Brazil, Hong Kong, Costa Rica, and Sweden.

1998- Bolivia: Here the team would be developed enough to send both a men and women's team to the contest. The Bolivians hosted an event unlike any other treating the visiting international athletes like royalty.  Unfortunately, a shoulder injury and altitude sickness would take its toll on the team’s captain who would be defeated just one round out of placing among the top four in his division. The team struggled and fell in the rankings to #27.

2000- Mexico:  With a full healthy co-ed team entered, the players were counting on the experience of previous games coupled with focused training and preparation to propel them to be among the top 15 teams in the world.  Equipment and clothing sponsorship from the best manufacturers in the business further prepared this team to go into battle.  The problem now was that no one was underestimating them anymore. In the end, the Jamaicans had a superb showing with Barnes and Edwards earning individual silver medals in their divisions.  Barnes and Birmingham would earn a bronze medal in the women’s doubles bracket as well.  This would restore the Jamaican Racquetball squad to its best status as a #20 ranked team.

2002- Puerto Rico:  The dream of becoming a top 15 team in the world still lingered on the minds of the team leaders for Jamaica.  The Jamaican’s created their biggest “stir” to these games starting with an early dramatic upset win by the men’s doubles team over the Koreans.  Both Gopie and Bryan would earn respect and advance to the finals of their respective brackets before falling to powerful opponents from the Dominican Republic and Guatemala respectively.  Gopie and Barnes would defeat Ireland in their doubles division providing four more medals for the Jamaicans.  The strong performances by Bryan, Gopie and Barnes would play a key role in elevating the team to a shocking status of #14 in the world.

"THEY'RE BAAAAACK!"
What's Next?
But wait... there's more
The team is currently being revitalized and training to enter competitions.  Anyone interested in joining or supporting the next phase of our adventure should feel free to contact us for more informtaion.
 
Here is what is happening:
  •  any team members are certified as international instructirs and continue to provide lessons and coaching
  • we are competing in local, state and national tournaments as part of our preparation for a return to international competition
  • international rosters will be determined at a later date based on our current membership
  • members are currently dispersed from Chicago to Virginia to Washington to Georgia to Florida and New York.  We are encouraging members to contact each other and seek as many opportunities to play together as feasible
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The international press has been very good to Team Jamaica over the years!

Let's dive back into competition
Time to swing back into the rythm of things
Let's get the band back together and retake the world by storm... Ya Mon!
Opportunities for both adult and Junior team players
Contact us to join the fun...