KINGSTON: Jamaica’s team will begin their departure today to defend their titles at the 2015 Caribbean Regional Badminton Confederation (CAREBACO) Championships to be held in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, from August 20-30. Jamaica hosted the 2014 staging and won both senior and junior team titles, along with 23 gold medals, 13 silver medals and 24 bronze medals in the senior and junior individual events. This year, Jamaica will be represented by a smaller contingent, but hopes remain high for a big medal haul. “This is a very strong team,” said David Thomas, Jamaica Badminton Association president. “The seniors and juniors are very strong. We were challenged last year and were victorious; we expect a very good performance from the team this year.” He added: “We have had good preparation, and the senior and juniors are coming from hard tournaments and training. I hope that all our representatives will carry their best performances to the tournament, both on and off the court, as they are our national representatives. The Under-19 boys and the technical director are scheduled to leave Jamaica today, while the rest of the team will follow on August 21 and August 24 for their respective events. The Jamaicans will compete in the Under-19 international event, senior and junior team events from August 24-26, and the individual junior events (Under-11, Under-13, Under-15, Under-17, and Under-19). The CAREBACO Open event is also on the team’s roster of engagements for the team that is sponsored by Mayberry Investments Limited. Senior team Gareth Henry, Jamaica’s number-one male player, who is sponsored by Olympic Solidarity through the Jamaica Olympic Association, is currently training in Malaysia and will be participating in the championships in both team and Open events. The other members of the senior team include Canada-based Dayvon Reid, Katherine Wynter and Ruth Williams, who all represented Jamaica at the recently concluded Pan Am Games in Toronto, Canada. The junior team representatives are Kenneth Anglin; Matthew Lee; Shaquille Palmer; Under-15 triple gold medallist Joel Angus; Alana Bailey, the Under-17 girl’s doubles and mixed doubles gold medallist; and Shezelle McTyson, the Under-15 and Under-17 triple gold medallist. They will also represent Jamaica in the junior individual events, along with players in the lower age groups, which also includes last year’s CAREBACO gold medallists, Taina Daley, Rhys and Zane Reid.