National School Championships begin today
- GTU makes appeal for prize sponsorship

Guyana Chronicle
November 27, 2006

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THE 46th annual Ministry of Education/ Guyana Teachers Union (GTU) National Schools’ Track and Field, Cycling and Swimming Championships begin today in Georgetown: at the Castellani Pool (swimming), at the YMCA ground (long jump, shot put and cricket ball throwing) and on the roadways (cycling and running).

Crowning the champions in the various disciplines at the closing ceremony on Friday might be somewhat of a problem if corporate sponsors fail to assist in offsetting the expenses for the trophies.

At a press briefing yesterday at the GTU Hall in Woolford Avenue, president of the GTU, Colwyn King, appealed to corporate sponsors to ‘come on board’ for the championships. It was announced that some $1.35M more is needed to fully cover the cost of the trophies and medals for the games.

Past president of the union, Lancelot Baptiste, who now serves as Field Secretary said that to date only Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL) has made a financial contribution towards the prizes. He said that a number of promises have been made, but none solidified.

“This schools championship is all of our business, the time is now for us to contribute,” Baptiste said.

The former president added that the budget for this year’s championships is approximately $8M, but the Ministry of Education contributed a “large sum of money” which significantly reduced the needed amount.

Baptiste said it is very possible that all 16 districts of Guyana (demarcated by the GTU) could take part in the championships. The exception is Region Two, since up to yesterday morning no money was released by the area to send a team.

“We even heard that some of the children were crying because they wanted to come,” Baptiste declared about the Region Two athletes. The GTU official was hoping that the team could still make it to the gaming village by late yesterday afternoon.

Region Seven, he said had problems earlier, but they have sorted them out and will be a part of the championships. If all goes well 1500-1600 athletes including teachers will be a part of the four-day of competitions.

RAIN INTRUSION But funding and the possibility of a district pulling out are not the only problems of the championships, since the rain has been falling sporadically and can, with a heavy shower, flood the Bourda ground - the venue from Wednesday to Friday - preventing any play.

Baptiste said that a team from the GTU visited the ground yesterday morning and all assurances were given that everything will be in place, but if the rain falls heavily, definitely it will be a big setback.

On Wednesday, at the ground, there will be the official opening of the championships where President Bharrat Jagdeo will be present.

Primary School students will pay $100 for entrance to the venues, while Secondary School students will pay $200 and Adults $300. According to the GTU members, any school student without school uniform seeking access into the games will be asked to pay $300.

North Georgetown Secondary School (for male students) and Richard Ishmael Secondary (for female students) are the Games village for the out-of-town students.