Minister Teixeira urges participants to stop men dominating By Isaiah Chappelle
Guyana Chronicle
March 11, 2002

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WOMEN’S participation in sport was showcased in a Calvacade of Sport at the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall, with Minister of Sport Gail Teixeira urging participants to stop men dominating.

In the opening ceremony of yesterday’s event to observe International Women’s Day, Minister Teixeira declared: “It is time that sport stops being machismo.”

The sport minister recalled that two years ago Guyana signed the international declaration for women in sport, which sought to promote equality, not only in sport but society.

Minister Teixeira said the calvacade, the second one, drew attention to what women can do, citing Marian Burnette who was excelling on the middle-distance track in the USA, as an example.

But women in sport were not receiving enough focus, thus the working group was established.

The minister highlighted the uphill task women face by pointing to the absence of heads of National associations whose executive bodies are dominated by men. She called for women in these bodies, disclosing that already professional boxing had got its first.

Minister Teixeira urged women to see sport as a career whereby they could be involved in officiating, administration and other such areas when their days as competitors on the playfield would have ended.

The ministry’s focus for the next two years would be to develop opportunities for girls.

Pan-American Health Organisation (PAHO) representative Dr Theodora Gandi said: “The importance of sport and women’s activities could never be over-emphasised.”

Dr Gandi pointed out that women today did not get much time for sport like those long ago, since many moved to urban life that has cut down the time.

The PAHO official stressed that sport helps in health, and contrary to what many people think, as one gets older, one needs to exercise daily.

“Today, sports in the schools curriculum is being pushed out by a large measure by academic subjects,” Dr Gandi said.

She added: “It is very important for children to take part in sport, especially in Guyana where children go to lessons at six o’clock in the mornings, then to school, after school more lessons, then they take home more work to do. Many grow-up without exercising.”

Dr Gandi pointed out that situation impacts negatively on their social life, which leads to drug abuse, sexual abuse, among other social ills. She said that is where the discipline in sport comes in.

The display started with a dance by the National School of Dance, then professional boxer, Gwendoline O’Neil, rated fourth in the world by the Women International Boxing Association, gave a mock fight with her husband. Two younger boxers demonstrated rules of boxing.

Linda Bernard of the St Ignatius Sports Club, Rupununi, gave an archery exhibition, a sport only being followed recently. She is an accounts clerk who began shooting to help her husband to rid their farm of animals that destroyed their crops.

Weightlifters Jennifer Hall, Anita Joseph and June Belle demonstrated the basic lifts, while Jean Singh and Jean De Souza played a darts game with explanations being given as the game progressed.

National youth players Jody Ann Blake and Michelle John showed the basic table tennis play then played one game, with Delisa Cummings scoring.

The team from the Guyana Special Olympics played bocce, a game for elderly persons.

There was also a physical display by students of Richard Ishmael Secondary school, swimming, indoor hockey, windball cricket, football, volleyball and netball.