Digicel re-asserts commitment to school-based sports
– Nationals officially open, North G/town win Swimming C/ships
By Edison Jefford
Digicel re-asserted its commitment to the development of sports in schools yesterday when the National Schools Cycling, Swimming and Track and Field Championships officially opened at the Guyana National Stadium at Providence, East Bank Demerara.
Digicel’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Gregory Dean, who was the third speaker following remarks from Permanent Secretary within the Ministry of Education, Pulandar Kandhi and the Guyana Teachers’ Union (GTU), General Secretary, Coretta McDonald, said that the company’s focus on sports in schools is aimed at developing sport from the base.
“I want to thank the Management Committee for keeping these Championships going after all those years. We know how difficult it is to keep something alive for all those years, but we know that through sports at the schools’ level, we will be able to produce champions at all the different levels,” Dean told the 16 Districts, some schools, ministry and GTU officials among other stakeholders who were present at the symbolic ceremony.
Dean said that the Championships have more value than just districts turning up to compete against each other over three days. He urged the districts to get to know a little about each other so that the student-athletes will discover more about Guyana. The competing districts are drawn from all the administrative regions of Guyana.
Earlier McDonald had pre-empted a similar message when she noted that sports in schools create better students. She said that without such alternatives as sports, students could be pressed to find negative ways of expressing their energies and that will not augur well for the Education system. She thanked Digicel for supporting the Championships.
Following Dean’s address, Minister of Education, Shaik Baksh welcomed the Digicel’s role in the 2011 event. The ministry, GTU and Digicel signed a three-year multi-faceted Memorandum of Understanding ahead of the commencement of this year’s instalment.
“This year has been one of the best years for sports in schools. We have sports as a part of our strategic plan in the Education Ministry. For every sport, we have had good support this year and I hope the efforts continue to assist in our development,” Baksh noted.
He urged all the districts to do their best during the championships. Following his remarks, athletes from the defending champion district, North Georgetown braved the rains to set the torch alight. A physical display brought the ceremony to an end.
Meanwhile, North Georgetown was declared winners of the Swimming Championships that was held at the National Aquatic Centre at Liliendaal on Tuesday. North Georgetown amassed 357 points to win ahead of rival, Upper Demerara, who had 279 points. Bartica finished closely in the third position with 263 points. North West was fourth with 165 points with East Georgetown rounding off the top five teams with 170 points.