2003 National Sports Awards ceremony ...
Prime Minister hails sports as a great unifying force Guyana Chronicle
February 29, 2004

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PRIME Minister Sam Hinds told a large gathering at the National Cultural Centre on Friday night that sports has tremendous benefits for our country. He was at the time giving the feature address at the National Sports Commission (NSC) 2003 National Sports Awards presentation ceremony.

The Prime Minister said, “At the national level sports helps to keep the nation in high spirits and brings the country together, it is a morale-booster and a great unifying force.”

He went on to say that sports is not useful for just health benefits but also social benefits since it can be used to keep young people from the social ailments of our society.

There was also a call by the Prime Minister for the Guyana Olympic Association (GOA) to work closer with the NSC.

On a lighter note, he said that personally that he would like to see football played in every school across the country, and concluded his address by saying that a sporting nation is a working nation.

Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport Ms Gail Teixeira stated that over the last five years over $500 million was spent in sports, with only 30 per cent on salaries, $40 million has been spent on upgrading grounds across the country.

Her ministry, according to Teixeira, is trying but in order to get on par with international standards the private sector must get on board.

“We have a lot to do but it can be easier if we work together, certainly when athletes come home with awards there is national unity, so we know that this is extremely important for the future of our country,” the minister said.

She also made it clear that some sporting bodies need to assist themselves and noted that the Rupununi region is trying their utmost in sports and they have been excelling with limited funds and resources, and we need to see them as an example in sports in Guyana.

Director of Sport Neil Kumar congratulated all the sporting associations, stating that sports in Guyana is moving forward. He stated though that the Guyana Amateur Basketball Federation and the Swimming association should get their act together.

According to Kumar, if we strengthen the club structures the players will be strengthened.

Meanwhile, those receiving awards on Friday night were:

World Cruiserweight champion ‘Big Truck’ Braithwaite, 800 metres Pan-American Bronze medallist Marian Burnette, who were adjudged Guyana’s 2003 Sportsman and Sportswoman.

The runners-up were Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Aliann Pompey.

The junior sportsman and sportswoman awards went to middle distance athlete Cleveland Forde and national table tennis player Jody Ann Blake, both young athletes won gold for Guyana last year.

In the runner-up positions were Guyana’s U-19 cricket captain Assad Fudadin and squash star Kristina King.

Carl Ince once again grabbed the Coach-of-the-Year award, while presidents of the Amateur Athletic Association and the Guyana Rugby Football Union, Claude Blackmore and Kit Nascimento were adjudged joint winners of the male Sports Personality-of-the-Year award. As in 2002, FIFA referee Diana Ferreira-James copped the female award.

Other awards included the AAA for the most improved association award, while the Guyana Rugby Football Union (GRFU) got the Sports Association award, with their U-18 team winning the sports team award.

Youngsters Debra Bowen and Fitzroy Johnson were awarded for winning gold for Guyana in the 2003 Special Olympics held in Ireland.

Bowen won gold in the women’s 100 and 200 metres while Johnson won in the boys’ 200 and 800 metres.

The other awards were given for excellent journalism. Kaieteur News reporter Claude David won in print, while GTV’S Alanna Johnson and Sean Devers won in the non-print. The other award to be given out was to Stabroek News’ Lawrence Fanfair for Photographer-of-the-Year.

NSC Chairman Laurie Lewis was the Master of Ceremony at Friday night’s National Sports Awards presentation.