`Sport is integral to people’s development’
- Says Regional Chairman Norman Whittaker at opening of GOA’s National Sports Leaders Course in Region One Michael DaSilva
Stabroek News
January 21, 2003

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The Guyana Olympic Association’s (GOA) National Sports Leaders Development Course opened on Saturday in Mabaruma, Region 1.

The course, organized by the Regional Administration, Region 1, in conjunction with the GOA and the PAN American Sports Organisation, concluded on Sunday.

Some 22 participants drawn from Mabaruma, Port Kaituma, Baramita, Wauna, Morawhana and Hosororo underwent training in Track and Field, Volleyball and Sports Administration.

Among the resource personnel who assisted with the course were athletic coach Dennis Smith, volleyball coach D. Couchman and Red Cross’ First Aid Coordinator, Ashanta Osbourne, who was assisted by Kelvin Prescott.

Guyana Olympic Associa-tion’s president Juman Yassin, Guyana Amateur Swimming Association’s pre-sident Claude Blackmore delivered lectures on the Olympic Movement, Govern-ance of Sports Organisations, conducting meetings and women in sports.

At Saturday’s opening which was held at the Regional Chairman Office Norman Whittaker, Yassin threw out a challenge to participants to develop bonds of friendship that will be maintained. He said that whatever they do will be for the benefit of all.

“We can and must work together, then go back to our communities and work with any association or organisation, to help our young sportsmen and women. You have a lot of responsibility, this course will cost the GOA $1.3M. I ask, do not let us spend this money in vain,” Yassin pleaded, adding, “I look forward to seeing and hearing the achievements you have been able to attain.”

Osbourne will conduct lectures and practical sessions on emergency treatment for sudden illnesses, injury and prevention and follow-up treatment.

Whittaker, after welcoming the participants and officials to the Region, stated that the degree of success of each participant will be measured, not during the one week of course work, but after it has been completed and the participant return to his or her community to impart whatever knowledge they might have grasped.

“We all know that sport is integral to people’s development, and that is why from school level, a lot of focus is placed on the physical development of the child,” Whittaker stated adding... “sports sells our community, our country and is a foreign exchange earner, and it is for this reason among others that I appreciate what the GOA has been doing and is doing now to our community”.

Whittaker said there is a lot of raw talent in Region 1. He reminisced on the many sportsmen and women that have made not only the region proud, but also Guyana as a whole. He mentioned names like Lionel and Richard Gilkes (volleyball), Anarika February and Cleveland Forde (athletics) and Gwendolyn O’Neil (boxing).

“This programme provides an opportunity for nurturing new talent,” Whittaker stated.

According to the Regional Chairman, his officers were very mindful of the persons they choose to attend the course. He said they were not looking for persons who only wanted to be away from their work for a period of time, but for persons who are dedicated and will go back to their respective communities and impart their knowledge.

“I wish you a successful programme, organize clubs, I want to see things happening and when we see that, we can go back to the GOA for a further course. I exhort you to be active, not silent, ask questions, be disciplined, be respectful, and at the end, go back to your communities and share, do not keep it to yourself” Whittaker implored.

The course coordinator is former distance athlete Desmond Fernandes, he is being assisted by Jude Hernandez.

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