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Sports hall floor at Beau Sejour is "the worst in the world"

Sports hall floor at Beau Sejour is

Thursday 17 February 2022

Sports hall floor at Beau Sejour is "the worst in the world"

Thursday 17 February 2022


A Guernseyman who played basketball professionally says the main sports hall at Beau Sejour has the worst floor he has played on anywhere in the world.

Martin Yabsley, who had a career playing basketball for 12 years, says the Sir John Loveridge Hall at the States-run leisure centre is “not fit for purpose”.

"When you play at Beau Sejour, you know you're going to suffer," said Mr Yabsley.

He said the main problem is that a high-quality sports hall floor "should be fully sprung” for sports like basketball and volleyball.

“I have played all over the world and every single court I have ever played on - even in much less privileged places than Guernsey - have been sprung floors, except for the hall at Beau Sejour. It is the worst floor in the world that I have played on."

Beau_Sejour.jpeg

Pictured: Beau Sejour Leisure Centre.

In January 2021, the Sir John Loveridge Hall was converted into the covid-19 Community Vaccination Centre. Until then, it was used regularly by dozens of sports, including basketball, volleyball and badminton. 

It was recently announced that a flooring contractor is being brought in to undertake remedial works on the Hall before it is returned to Beau Sejour and the sports community on 4 April.

But the underlying issues which affect the floor will not be addressed in this round of works.   

A former island men’s volleyball player who spoke to Express echoed Mr Yabsley’s comments about the quality of the floor and the risks of playing on it. 

“The first floor ever laid at Beau Sejour was not sprung at all," he said. "It was basically wood on top of 18 inches of concrete, which we could clearly see via an equipment storage hatch in the floor.

“When it was replaced, it was only partially sprung, which was not much better.

"There is an entire generation of sportsmen and women, especially from volleyball and basketball, who have countless knee issues from playing on that floor.”

Yabsley_bb_court.jpeg

Pictured: A sprung floor Martin Yabsley played on in Menorca.

Head of Recreation Services Samantha Herridge confirmed that the current floor, which was laid in 2002, is partially sprung rather than fully sprung. She said this is because the Sir John Loveridge Hall is a multi-purpose facility for the benefit of the whole community. 

“The Hall is multi-use and hosts, for example, Liberation tea dances and balls, dinners, conferences, trade shows and concerts, and therefore was not fully sprung," said Ms Herridge.

"The surface was chosen as the best solution at the time,” she said.

Mr Yabsley said he was aware that the the floor was designed for multiple purposes.

“I fully appreciate that the floor is not used only for sport, but when it is being used for sport it is not fit for purpose,” he said. 

“The majority of players on the men’s island basketball team would agree that the floor at Beau Sejour is not good. But it is the only dedicated hall for the sport in the island. It is sub-standard, but we don’t have any other option.”

Yabsley_BB_BSJ.jpeg

Pictured: Martin Yabsley playing basketball at Beau Sejour.

Mr Yabsley feels the quality of facilities for basketball locally differ to the facilities available to some other sports.

“If you play rugby or football in Guernsey then you’re playing on pitches and have access to facilities that are just as good as anywhere in the UK. But if you play basketball you’re playing on one of the worst possible floors," he said.

Mr Yabsley has been playing basketball since he was 13 and has had knee surgery multiple times during his career.

“I have had 16 knee surgeries for a variety of reasons linked to sport. My first knee surgery was cartilage surgery at 17 and, at that time, the Beau Sejour floor was the only floor I had ever played on,” he said. 

“When you play at Beau Sejour, you are essentially playing on concrete and you know you’re going to hurt for at least a few days after as a consequence.

"Children play sport on that floor. It needs to be fully sprung to prevent injuries.”

Yabsley_BB.jpeg

Pictured: Martin Yabsley playing professional basketball.

Ms Herridge said that injuries can occur at any venue.

“As with any sport and sporting venue, players compete at their own risk and injuries can, of course, occur during physical activity,” she said. 

The current floor is expected to be in place for at least the next 10 years.

“The floor has one full ‘sand’ left, where the varnish lines are removed and the floor is stripped bare. As long as it is maintained regularly, it should last a minimum of a further 10 years,” said Ms Herridge.  

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Posted by Dave Vowles on
Martyn is absolutely correct in his analysis, I played island basketball on the stone floor at the Grammar school and the poor flooring at Beau Sejour and my knees are futu
St Peter Port school had a decent floor even in the seventies
Posted by Robert Williams on
As stated in the article it is a multi-purpose floor not specifically for basketball.
Martin Yabsley seems to think basketball should be given priority over other uses. It would appear that his knees could not stand up to too much sport.
Next we should ask “should we have sprung pavements for pedestrians?”
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