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Delivering the feature address at presentation ceremony at the Bank of Guyana Roof Garden, Sunday night, Minister of Sport Gail Teixeira acknowledged that rifle shooting was an expensive sport.
The minister referred to the amount spent to kit out a rugby player and that for a rifleman to illustrate how much money was required for the sport.
“But rifle shooting is a sport that is very disciplined and requires a high level of technical knowledge,” Minister Teixeira said.
Minister Teixeira specially recognised the two female participants in the championships - Denise Carryl of Guyana and Valrie Newman of Jamaica. She also lauded Trinidad & Tobago for injecting new faces into their team.
“It is important to have new persons for any sport to survive,” Minister Teixeira said.
The government official thanked the teams that came to Guyana to compete, despite the bad publicity about the country.
Guyana National Rifle Association vice-president Richard Fields, who stood in for GNRA president Michael Atherly, disclosed that there was apprehension about Guyana being suitable as the venue.
“But we never doubted its suitability. And the championships were staged in its usual atmosphere,” Fields said.
Fields challenged the minister that if the ministry wanted to support a sport that would bring credit to the country, it would be rifle shooting.
“Shooting is a very disciplined sport. We have never lost anybody, neither at home nor abroad. There is no crowd encroachment, no questionable umpire decision,” Fields declared.
The GNRA said the body looked forward to interacting with the ministry in a meaningful way.
Guyana’s captain Mahendra Persaud pointed out that it would now be hard work to raise funds for the nine Guyanese members of the team.
“It’s good for Caribbean integration and unity,” Persaud said.
Focusing on the championships, Persaud said the weather was kind, but the wind conditions were never seen in Guyana before.
The Guyanese host also expressed disappointment with the non-participation of Barbados and Bermuda, the former voicing security reasons and the latter not being able to pass their rifles through the USA in transit here.
WIFBC president Norris Gomez, who was also the captain of Trinidad & Tobago, endorsed the appeal for support by the Guyanese captain for the Bisley meet.
“Almost half the team is Guyanese because of the talent here,” Gomez said.
Gomez also praised Guyana for its “super hospitality,” which he said was one of the best in the Caribbean.
Jamaica’s captain Maj John Nelson disclosed that it was 28 years since they last won in Guyana.
“We trained very hard for it,” Maj Nelson said.
Nelson said he was also impressed with Trinidad & Tobago’s new shooters. He also commended his lone female team member who actually registered the top score for Jamaica in the BWIA Cup.
The captains all commended the media for the excellent coverage given the championships.
“It’s the best I’ve seen,” Gomez declared.
Guyana’s Lennox Braithwaite uplifted the Champion Shooter’s prize, having won the grand aggregate in the individual competition. He also won the long range aggregates, along with several event prizes.
Justin Lall, at 25 years the youngest shooter in the championships, won the junior category, along with other event prizes.
Ransford Goodluck was loaded with several individual trophies, the most significant being the Bermuda Shield for amassing the top score in the championships, the tally of the individual shoot, the Singer Cup and the BWIA Cup.
Goodluck also held on to the Wogart trophy for the highest score in the BWIA Cup, the third time it would be in his possession, having first won it in 1995 in the Guyana staging and last year in the Barbados staging.
The local marksman took the prize for the highest score in the three postal shoots, although Jamaica won the West India Cup sponsored by them and the Canada Cup sponsored by Trinidad & Tobago, while Trinidad & Tobago carried away the Gaskin & Jackson Cup.
Another trophy Goodluck claimed in his first shot for it was the Geriatric Cup given to Over-50 shooters.
Mahendra Persaud took the Guyana Defence Force trophy for winning the shoots at the 1 000 yards range, the immediate past holder being Guyanese Leo Ramalho who did not participate this year.
Winners of the individual events received real gold pins shaped into the map of Guyana. The journalists covering the championships also received the pins.