THE devastation that Storm Ciarán had on Jersey’s sporting community as a whole has been thoroughly documented.
However, less well appreciated is the storm’s shocking effect on many of the Island’s elite athletes.
One of the worst affected local facilities was Island Padel in St Clement, with the venue decimated and forced to close – and one player impacted more than most was Bero Bobus.
The decorated sportsman is currently ranked second in Great Britain in the over-40s category in padel. Across five national events this year, alongside fellow Islander Jon Southern, Bobus claimed victory in four of them, coming runner-up in the fifth.
The well-rounded athlete was a beach volleyball player by nature, representing Team Jersey at six Island Games, while his first Games appearance came for Cayman Islands.
However, in the wake of his best padel season to date, Bobus is faced with the proposition of having limited access to hone his craft over the winter months.
Bobus said: “I was planning on getting back to the UK for tournaments in late January. But if we are unable to train sufficiently during the next couple of months, I think I will need to reassess that and look at starting later in the year.
“Given the fact that padel is relatively new to Jersey it is currently the only place on the Island that we are able to practise. Without the ability to train, there isn’t really any point in travelling away to play.
“The standard is very high and those guys are training intensely, so unless I am able to do the same, I will get left behind and not be as competitive at tournaments.”
Bobus began playing the sport recreationally in June 2020, before starting to compete seriously a year later, while playing three to four times per week.
His rise in the sport was dramatic, culminating in an appearance in the GB National Veterans team earlier this year, at the European Championship.
“Playing in the GB National Veterans team was a brilliant experience,” he added.
“Next year is the World Championship and my main goal was to get selected in the side for that. However, there is a chance I might miss selection if I am unable to train accordingly over the winter months.
“It has been quite difficult to maintain a high ranking living in Jersey. The players based in the mainland are able to play more tournaments as their travel costs are far less than mine.
“It puts quite a lot of pressure on me to perform when I do manage to get away as the ranking points are vital. I did manage to hold the number one spot briefly in between May and June, but a small injury meant I couldn’t compete in tournaments for a few months.”
Island Padel co-founder Scott Clayton has begun the process of deconstruction, with the aim of a phased return which will see the two outdoor courts open for play first, while a rebuild of the three indoor courts is undertaken.