Creme de la creme receive national sports awards
By Clyde Pestano
March 30, 2003
Fourteen awards were handed out yesterday at the National Cultural Centre, as the National Sports Commission held its 2002 National Sports Awards Presentation Ceremony.
The Guyana Squash Association received honours as the Best Sports Association of the Year. Squash players performed excellently at regional and international championships with national singles champion Nicolette Fernandes leading the way.
The Team of the Year Award went to the Guyana cricket team which won the Busta Challenge Trophy last year. Chetram Singh president of the Guyana Cricket Board collected the trophy on behalf of the Guyana team.
The Sports Journalist of the year Award was won by Michael Da Silva from this newspaper. Master of ceremonies Conrad Plummer commended Da Silva for his hard work and broad coverage of sporting events, locally, regionally and internationally.
The Female Sports Personality of the year award went to international referee Dianne Ferreira-James who was praised for representing her country with distinction while the Male Sports Personality honours went to Yale Holder of the Guyana Body Building & Fitness Federation. Holder was elected as head of the Caribbean Association.
Sports Coach of the Year honours went to national squash coach Carl Ince.
The runner-up Junior Sportswoman of the year award went to long-jumper Michele Vaughn while runner-up Junior Sportsman of the year honours went to versatile national table tennis player Jonathan Sankar.
Junior Sportswoman award of the Year went to national squash queen Nicolette Fernandes while Junior Sportsman of the Year went to long distance runner Cleveland Forde who won a gold during the year.
Runner-up Sportswoman of the Year went to heptathlete Nyota Peters while the runner up Sportsman of the year award went to double world title holder (boxing) "Vicious" Vivian Harris.
Sportsman of the Year went to WBA Cruiserweight Champion Wayne "Big Truck" Braithwaite and Sportswoman of the Year, Commonwealth Gold Medalist Aliann Pompey.
A special award was also given to George Arlington Green for his distinguished and long service in the field of sports in Guyana.
Director of Sport Neil Kumar presented his report on activities last year and outlined the progress the Department of Sport had made during the year and plans for 2003.
Education Minister Dr.Henry Jeffrey congratulated the awardees on their achievements and said that all Guyana was proud of them. He added that a high level of application and dedication on the part of the awardees was responsible for their attaining national recognition.
Jeffrey speaking on the issue of "Physical Education and Sport", said that the `ideal' at this point in time was to give each child in the nation's schools, at least 90 minutes of physical education at a minimum during a one-week period.
The minister stated that he was also looking forward to physical education being put on the CXC agenda soon. He however made the point that physical education was not only for school children but for all ages.
Jeffrey mentioned that parents must train their children in such a way that they must see physical education as a way of life and not just a one-off thing.
He added that he saw a report somewhere that stated that "inactivity kills more people than cigarettes." According to him being active will help to prolong life and improve one's health.
He also said that sports helps to make individuals rounded and that playing sports also helps individuals learn how to lose gracefully even though no one likes to lose.
Minister of Culture Youth & Sport Gail Tiexiera also addressed the gathering and said it was important that the achievements of our sportsmen and women be recognized.
She stressed that the government's role must not be seen as providing a slush fund where, if people want money they will come and get it easily.
According to her, it is more than that because when taxpayers money is being spent people expect accountability from government. The minister said that her ministry tries as much as possible to `stretch' the funds budgeted to meet sporting needs in the country.
Teixeira mentioned also that it was important that the ministry reach all areas of Guyana and that the national `pie' must be evenly distributed.
The minister said that during last year the Ministry of Culture Youth & Sport had several capacity-building workshops and seminars which were aimed at creating a foundation for future activities by the ministry.
She said that in order to build capacity the government has awarded scholarships to seven persons over the past three years to study in Cuba, who will be specializing in Physical Education studies.
The minister also addressed the issue of elections in the national sports associations and admonished these bodies when she said that these elections should be held as required by the constitutions of those bodies.
Teixeira, while not naming the recalcitrant associations mentioned that two of them had not had elections for a very long time. She disclosed that one of these organizations has not had elections for two and more years and the other over seven years.
The minister said that the issue of elections was unsatisfactory because sometimes these very associations ask for accountability from government but they themselves need to put their houses in order.
She revealed that national associations are required to submit on an annual basis several reports to the ministry such as their annual reports and audited financial statements.
Teixeira said that most of these associations were recalcitrant in this regard and chided them to do better. She disclosed that the number of associations in the country had risen by two to 36.
The minister said that she was not attacking anyone or any association but that as a nation we must be accountable.
Teixeira said that if govt is to invest in sport then it must look at the returns in a serious way in terms of selecting the best athletes and working with them from an early age.
According to the minister any plan for the development of sport must take into account long-term development and recommended that the associations develop 10-year plans which her ministry would help them design and implement while pledging her ministry's support for their continued growth and success.
Teixeira singled-out International football referee Dianne Ferreira-James for special mention and stated that it was excellent that a woman can achieve so much in the field of sports.
Yale Holder who spoke on behalf of the awardees, urged government to invest in sports since it was a growing industry and would redound to the benefit of Guyana as a whole.