"Ghetto Youth" makes mom proud By Michael DaSilva
Stabroek News
September 27, 2002

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Claudette Chase, mother of 19-year-old rugby player Elwin Chase is very proud of her son, and has every reason to be.

Elwin left Guyana yesterday for England on a two-year attachment with the Birkenhead Park Rugby Club, one of England's oldest rugby clubs.

Speaking to Stabroek Sport on Tuesday, Claudette said "He (Elwin) make me feel very proud."

Elwin's mother said her son, the last of four children, lost his father when he was just nine years old, and growing up in the Albouystown area was not easy.

According to the mother, when Elwin secured a place at Dolphin Secondary School after writing the common entrance examinations, she had no money to purchase her son's uniform or school books and she was worried as to what to do about the situation.

She said she sat with Elwin and explained the situation to him and he calmly said "Mommy don't take worries, just go and ask Mr. (George) Humphrey if he can give me a job at his bakery (Humphrey's bakery and farm Products, Kettley Street) and I will save my money to buy my school things".

The happy mother who was employed at the Sanata Textiles Mill at the time said Humphrey gladly gave her son the job.

According to her Elwin never collected his pay package until the summer vacation was almost over and he purchased everything he needed for his new school.

Claudette said after her other children (two boys and a girl) went their separate ways (the boys are studying overseas and the girl is married), she was left with Elwin to care for, and though her salary at Sanata Textiles was small, she ensured her son's needs were met.

"He never give me problems, he was always obedient and I always use to talk to him and teach him the right things, I use to make him comfortable" the mother said.

Elwin was encouraged to get involved in rugby by national player Troy Arjune. He attended a Guyana Olympic Association summer camp in August of 1998 and was spotted by the Guyana Rugby Football Union's Youth and Schools development coach Laurie Adonis.

He subsequently joined the Laparkan Hornets Rugby Club and has since represented Guyana on six occasions.

He made his international debut at age 16 when Guyana hosted the Southern Caribbean Championships in 1999.

He was selected for the Rugby West Indies team last year and toured Guadeloupe with the national under-19 team last year also. He also toured Trinidad and the Cayman Islands last year.

Elwin graduated from Dolphin last year after obtaining five passes at the CXC examinations - English A, Mathematics, Integrated Science, Social Studies and History.

"The Union (Guyana Rugby Football Union) had no problem in choosing Elwin as the player they would like to send to the UK, if we could arrange it for an attachment with a leading rugby club" GRFU's president Kit Nacimanto stated at a press conference hosted jointly by his organisation and BWIA.

BWIA gave Elwin a 50 percent discount on his return air ticket and the airline's general manager, Dawn Murray, said her company is willing to fly him home free of cost, if he is selected for the national team during his two-year attachment with the English club.

Birkenhead Park contributed 250 pounds to Elwin's ticket while his mother raised the other approximately $US400.