Exciting year for sports in the making – says Kumar

Kaieteur News
January 27, 2007

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Director of Sport Neil Kumar in an interview last Tuesday, revealed that this year promises to be a very exciting one for sports, one in which a lot of emphasis will be placed on its further development in all areas.

Kumar, whose department falls under the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports, said that this year they have drafted programmes to include more communities, referring to those that were overlooked for one reason or another in the past. He disclosed that they have devised programmes that will focus on the need to incorporate those communities into the plans of the Ministry.

According to the Director, most of the officers attached to the Department of Sport, have already submitted their respective programmes along with budgets for approval by the Ministry.

“Currently the focus at the Ministry is the National Awards ceremony following which we go straight into our Mashramani activities,” Kumar indicated.

He disclosed that despite the department's integral involvement in Cricket World Cup 2007 preparations, they have found the time to complete their plans for the remainder of the year.

The Director said that one of his Department's major tasks this year is to implement programmes which could lead to the fostering of better relationships among communities that had experienced some level of isolation in the past. Some of the activities planned for this year include, Youth Week and Independence competitions in all the regions, ‘Teach them Young' programmes and summer camps scheduled for July-August, Coca-Cola schools football tournament, Inter-Guianas Games in August and October, ‘Legacy Run' and a marathon to celebrate United Nations Day.

Among the other top priorities of the Department, Kumar pointed out was to assist the Ministry in getting their ‘National Fitness Awareness Campaign' up and running and working along with the Ministry of Education to improve the level of participation by students in sports in addition to offering assistance to enhance the level of the National Track & Field, Swimming and Cycling Championships.

The Director said he would also like to see more Pee-wee competitions and a vibrant sports policy in the schools with equal emphasis being paid on academic achievements.

He singled out football as one of major sports being played locally, adding that because this is so, this year's Coca-Cola tournament will be a primary focus for the Department, especially since it is one of the core subjects in the CXC curriculum. He insisted that players participating in this competition must have a good grades and attendance records since audited checks will be made to ensure that that is so.

Another positive development according to Kumar is the Government's stated commitment to build two multi-purpose sports facilities in Essequibo and Berbice to the tune of US $5 million each, which is expected to enhance the standard of athletes in those areas. Both projects will be equipped with swimming pools.

Five disciplines (netball, basketball, swimming, table tennis, cycling) have been identified for assistance. Commenting on the national football squad's recent performances in the Digicel Caribbean Cup, Kumar first offered congratulations on behalf of the Ministry, before saying how impressed he was with their play.

“We are willing to work closely with the GFF, I've always supported the call for all the sub-associations to work closely with them,” Kumar said.