Someone should explain boxing team's problem
Stabroek News
March 31, 2002

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Dear Editor,

I read in your sports section of Friday's issue a report that the national boxing team could not participate in a Caribbean championship because an airline had overbooked seats on the date of intended travel of the team. I don't understand this? Were the tickets paid for before the Boxing Association was informed of the overbooking? If this is the case then both Frandec and LIAT owe the people of Guyana an explanation and if not too late should be made to ensure that the team gets to its destination regardless of what it would cost the travel agency and/or the airline. Guyana's image shouldn't be tarnished nor should the athletes be denied the opportunity to renew their glory because of the incompetence of travel agency and/or airline personnel.

If the tickets were not paid for then the Boxing Association should be made to account for its tardiness. It owes the Guyanese people an explanation. I remember as a young sports writer more than 25 years ago a similar incident with a boxing team. The culprit then was the association but it tried to hide its guilt. One executive member, B.L. Crombie (of You've got a date at five to eight fame) resigned because he felt the association had embarassed itself and Guyana and was not prepared to atone for its tardiness. The Ministry of Sport should seek explanations as to what really happened here.

While on the topic of sport I want to say a brief word about the upcoming West Indies/India cricket series. The West Indies team did not do well In Sri Lanka and Sharjah. There might be any number of reasons why. I know that there are hundreds of well paid business executives in America today that refuse to travel to that part of the world at this time. Could the political situation in that region have had an impact on our players without them really realising it? However, we need to use the advantage of playing at home to inspire and reinvigorate our players. We need to let them know we are behind them, all of us throughout the Caribbean and that though their remuneration might not be commensurate with the responsibility they bear to make our region proud, they are really important people.

Therefore I want to recommend that we dub this series "Operation Restore Glory". Without being inhospitable to our guests, the Indian cricket team, we must shower our players with attention. We must develop among the regional population a "rampant nationalism" in support of the West Indies.

Since the tour opens in Guyana, where some of our Indo Guyanese population is likely to fully support the visitors (and that is their democratic right), we ought to ensure that the West Indies feels the rabid support they enjoy among the people they represent. I wish to further recommend that on the first morning of the Test match Guyanese be told the route the WI team will take from the hotel to Bourda and that Guyanese men, women and children line that route to show support for their ambassadors.

Further, if it is not too late, there should be a massive rally of Guyanese and WI supporters on the Mall near Bourda on that first morning at which the team will be presented to the nation. The team should spend only five minutes at this rally just to get a glimpse of the kind of support they enjoy. This rally should mark the launch of "Operation Restore Glory" and should involve prayers, cultural performances and brief remarks and messages from a few regional personalities.

And finally, one of our regional calpsonians should come up with a "tour song" which should serve as the battle cry for Operation Restore Glory. Given the short time period, perhaps Allison Hinds could rework her popular song to say something like "the losing and the beating and the thrashing just done...from now we winning each one." And perhaps the PPP/Civic could commission her to work on this!

Yours faithfully

Wesley Kirton