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The Guyana Amateur Bodybuilding Federation (GABBF) hosted a Ceremony of Appreciation at Cara Lodge, Quamina Street, Tuesday evening, when the team was presented with awards -- the other two athletes being Paul Nichols and Anthony Thom.
Minister Gail Teixeira said: “You’ve done Guyana proud.”
The minister said that the GABBF was one of two of the smallest associations in the country, yet they were trying the hardest to put the sport in order.
Minister Teixeira referred to the GABBF’s preparations already being made to host the 2004 CAC Championships, two years ahead of staging.
“It is extremely impressive. You don’t know how rare this is. We are a last minute people,” Minister Teixeira said.
The minister, however, urged the GABBF not to forget to attract women in the sport and to try a couple of pilot areas to get young people into the sport, especially in the out-of-city areas.
Minister Teixeira also said that coaches should be trained in the campaign against HIV/AIDS.
“Sport is an important part of the campaign,” Minister Teixeira said.
The minister said that with the latest gold medal, it added to the one that Aliann Pompey gave the country at the Commonwealth Games.
“We had a good year,” Minister Teixeira declared.
GABBF president Yale Holder who was manager/coach pointed out that Gardner’s achievement was significant because Guyana fielded more athletes in the bantamweight category over the years.
Holder disclosed that when international bodybuilder Horace Steele announced he was taking a break after returning from his championships, the GABBF wondered who would take over from him.
“Sylvon Holder took over the mantle from Horace Steele,” Holder declared.
Nichols won a silver medal and Thom placed sixth at the CAC Championships.
“The athletes were good ambassadors,” Holder said.
Holder himself was elevated in the administration of the sport, being elected vice-president of the South Caribbean Region of CAC at the Congress, the first time Guyana was elevated to the CAC executive body. The GABBF presented Holder with an award for the milestone.
In Caracas, Holder also signed the contract for hosting the 2004 CAC Championships.
Also, GABBF vice-president Frank Tucker was inducted as an official IFBB judge.
A minute’s silence was observed for the late Claude Charles, a longstanding founder member of the GABBF.
“Charles was regarded by many as the father of the sport,” Holder said.
Holder disclosed that the outgoing president of the regional body also acknowledged Charles’ contribution to the sport and suggested that the 2004 CAC Championships here be staged in his name.
Secretary of the Guyana Olympic Association, Ivor O’Brien, congratulated the GABBF and the CAC participants.
“What these developments have done is to send a message to CAC that Guyana, being selected to host the 2004 CAC Championships, was a correct decision,” O’Brien said.
Master of Ceremonies, Donald Sinclair, the GABBF general secretary, said that the athletes did themselves, the federation and Guyana proud.
Sinclair pointed out that the GABBF has been busy and the CAC achievement crowned the body’s work.
The general secretary was presented with the President’s Medal of Achievement for his work in the body.
GABBF organising secretary, Gail Russell, moved the vote of thanks, while Gardner made a response on behalf the athletes.