Blake’s lifetime ban reduced to one year

Nekeisha Blake

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Eight-time national women’s badminton player Nekeisha Blake is set to return to the court in August after a lifetime ban was reduced to one year by the Appeals Committee on Friday.

After a series of altercations with members of the T&T Badminton Association (T&TBA) last year, Blake was initially handed a lifetime ban by the T&TBA through its Disciplinary Committee which took effect on August 20, 2015 and arose out of seven charges preferred by Blake’s club FMT and the TTBA.

Blake and her team of lawyers took the matter to an Appeals Committee stating it was a breach of natural justice and the Disciplinary Committee failed to clearly state the reason why she was banned.

Following a hearing on January 9, the decision was handed down by the Appeals Committee on Friday which reduced the ban to one year. The ban is retroactive and will end on August 19.

In a brief phone interview yesterday, Blake said she was happy the ban was reduced to one year, but was still disappointed. Blake said, “A ban is still a ban, but I give God thanks for everything. I am weighing my options at the moment.” Blake, who said she will continue to maintain her fitness, added, “Badminton is the love of my life but I am keeping busy with other ventures while I continue to trust in God.”

Blake has represented T&T for the past 17 years, representing T&T at regional and international level. Before making its decision on the seven charges against Blake, the Disciplinary Committee reviewed submissions of the board of the TTBA, executives of FMT and examined other relevant documents in its review.

The charges against Blake include not maintaining respect and consideration towards coaches, administrators, volunteers, officials and other athletes and refusing to obey orders from a head coach during training.

She was also charged with failing to comply with the board’s request to apologise to the head coach, vexatious and frivolous grievance assault which sought to intimidate the head coach and allowed for Police investigation.

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