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NEVILLE Denny singularly believed in Aliann Pompey’s ability when few Guyanese even knew about her. He deservedly received the Sportswoman-of-the-Year award on behalf of the Commonwealth Games star at the National Cultural Centre on Friday night.
And perhaps as an afterthought, long-standing sports personality George Green was honoured for his contribution in various aspects of national sport at the National Sports Commission’s 2002 Sports Awards Presentation Ceremony.
The USA-based Pompey was among four awardees who did not make it, to personally receive their accolades, but the Commonwealth Games 400 metres gold medallist, Guyana’s first in 34 years at the prestigious meet, wrote asking Denny to receive the award, which was presented by acting President and Prime Minister Samuel Hinds.
Wayne ‘Big Truck’ Braithwaite’s Sportsman-of-the-Year award was received by president of the Guyana Boxing Board of Control, K.D. Persaud; Herman Harris received his son ‘Vicious’ Vivian Harris’s Runner-up Sportsman-of-the-Year prize and Chantelle Fernandes appeared for the Junior Sportswoman-of-the-Year Nicolette Fernandes, her sister.
President of the Guyana Squash Association, Khalil Ali, received the Sports Association award and president of the Guyana Cricket Board Chetram Singh received the Sports Team award.
Recipients Michael Da Silva was present to receive the Sports Journalist award; Dianne Ferreira-James the Female Sports Personality; Yale Holder the Male Sports Personality; Carl Ince the Sports Coach; Michelle Vaughn the Runner-up Junior Sportswoman; Jonathan Sankar the Runner-up Junior Sportsman; Cleveland Forde the Junior Sportsman and Nyota Peters the Runner-up Sportswoman.
Holder delivered the response on behalf of the recipients, vowing to continue the kind of work that earned them the country’s highest sport honours.
In announcing the Special Awardee, General Secretary of the Guyana Olympic Association Ivor O’Brien disclosed that he was given the task just two days before the ceremony and gave a glowing history of the recipient, George Green. One significant achievement was Green being a member of the only West Indies football team then serving as national coach from 1966 to 1980.
Earlier, Director of Sport Neil Kumar reported on the NSC’s activities in the past year, highlighting the two world titles in boxing, Commonwealth Games gold medal, and the country’s first gold medal at the Central American & Caribbean (CAC) games, among others.
“The year 2002 was an outstanding year for sport in Guyana. Our sportsmen and sportswomen represented the country with distinction and the Golden Arrowhead fluttered with pride in all quarters of the world,” Kumar said.
Kumar acknowledged the call for stadia and better sport facilities, but pointed out that only with efforts by the nation as a whole, what the people need could be easily achieved.
“Again, I want to repeat that the government, the private sector, national sports associations and the Guyana Olympic Association will have to work together for us to achieve better facilities,” Kumar said.
Delivering the feature address, Minister of Culture, Youth & Sport Gail Teixeira said: “Sport is part of social investment in society.”
But with a current expenditure of $64 million and capital expenditure of $11 million, the ministry concentrated on human resource development.
Touching on the “multiplicity of roles” the ministry has to play, the minister said a major part of the ministry’s responsibility was to develop sport in areas not easily accessible because of the ministry’s access to resources.
Minister Teixeira pointed out that the ministry and the NSC made financial inputs to national sport associations for attendance at international meets, contrary to what some believed, although some teams were ill-prepared for the high level of competition.
“We have to be vigilant that the best go to international meets,” Minister Teixeira said.
The minister disclosed that many of the national associations had not accounted for money disbursed to them and that only one of 34 bodies had met the annual criteria of submitting annual reports, budget for the new year and audited financial reports.
Minister of Education Dr Henry Jeffrey spoke on physical education and sport, disclosing that a public campaign was on, with a National Committee being set up with Regional Committees.
Each child from levels one to nine, will have 130 hours per week of physical education and the ministry is working to put physical education on the CXC agenda, according to the minister.
“The Ministry of Education supports sport organisations in the school system,” Minister Jeffrey declared.
Former NSC chairman Conrad Plummer chaired the night’s proceedings and there were performances by Guyana Police Force Band and the National Dance Company.
A cocktail reception was hosted after the ceremony, with Roy Geddes Silvertones providing the background music.