The Highs and Lows in local sports
Sports in Guyana endured several high points and also some low ones. Cricket and Football led the way with cricket experiencing the most controversies.
Trips to and from the courtroom among other issues affected the two sporting disciplines. Cricket however took the ‘icing off the cake’ with government’s intervention through the Ministry of Sport and its subject minister making moves to take over the administering of the sport.
The formation of a cricket IMC and the submission of a Draft Constitution making amendments to the existing document also transpired which was met with disapproval from the WICB.
Here Kaieteur looks at some of the disciplines that had key high points and low ones during the past year.
Despite the numerous problems affecting cricket in Guyana, our cricketers still continue to excel at various levels. Shivnarine Chanderpaul reclaimed the number spot in test battings rankings, while Veerasammy Permaul and Assad Fudadin were elevated to the senior West Indies team. Permaul was also chosen to captain the West Indies ‘A’ team on their tour of Bangladesh. Ronsford Beaton and Amir Khan gained selection on the Regional U-19 team.
Additionally, Guyana secured four places on the West Indies female team to face South Africa at home in January 2013. The players selected are June Ogle, Shemaine Campbell, Tremaine Smart and Sabrina Monroe.
The country took the runner up spot in the Regional U-19 50 over and 3 day tournaments.
They were edge out on bonus points by Barbados and Windward Islands for the 3 day and 50 over titles respectively.
After four years Guyana reached the semifinals in the 4 day competition before being beaten by Jamaica, and won their first three games in the male T\20 competition in January.
The country had a number of creditable performances at the U-19 level; Romario Sheppard took the most outstanding fast bowler prize in the 50-over format, while Gudakesh Motie-Kanhai grabbed the best bowler award (27wkts) in the 3 day, and Shawn Perreira the best all rounder trophy. A number of players also scored centuries in the said competition.
Meanwhile, the dispute between the two factions of the Demerara Cricket Board continues to affect the development of cricket in the county which also has an effect on the game country wide. The Government formed Interim Management Committee and the Guyana Cricket Board continue to battle for the right to control the game in the country which resulted in the Guyana losing its right to host regional and international matches.
The standoff also resulted in the Digicel Grass Roots coaching programme being suspended from the land of many waters.
Guyanese fans are still being robbed of regional and international cricket; the first four matches in the Regional Four Day Championship and third West Indies and Australia test match which was scheduled for the National Stadium at Providence was shifted to another venue in the Caribbean.
Despite the Minister of Sport, Frank Anthony, stating that Government has no intention to take over cricket, the draft constitution sent for approval by the West Indies Cricket Board gave the Minister much power and say in the affairs of the game. The WICB quickly shut down any such attempts and pledged to see how they could be instrumental in helping bring about an amicable solution to the impasse.
Even as that continues, the back and forth by persons either association or in support of the various factions continue unabated in the letter columns as no real end seem to be in sight for a speedy resolution to the cricket problems in Guyana.
Battles in the High Court continue from the previous year with the matter being taken to the Caribbean Court of Justice. Here is a brief of the matters to date:
30/1/12 Court of Appeal – Motion for Leave to appeal the decision of the Full Court and for the application for leave to be treated as the hearing of the substantive appeal for the making of an Order Nisi for a writ of certiorari
– Motion dismissed on 14/2/12. No written reasons provided.
3/2/12 Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) – The same 2 trustees above applied for special leave to appeal against the Court of Appeal’s judgment to hear any appeal to it in the matter.
-CCJ granted special leave to appeal and gave directions leading to the hearing of this appeal.
12/4/12 Caribbean Court of Justice – Application for the substitution of the Applicants (Trustees) by the Appellants RAJENDRA SINGH & ROBIN SINGH in their capacity as authorized representatives of the GCB
-CCJ granted leave for such substitution. The standing of the Appellants has not been questioned in these proceedings before this Court.
11/6/12 Caribbean Court of Justice – Appealing the Court of Appeal’s decision
-CCJ grants the Appellants an extension of time until 14 days from the delivery of this judgment to file a notice of appeal from the Order of Justice Chang of 29/12/11, providing the Appellants within 7 days of the delivery of this judgment file with the Registrar of the Supreme Court a motion seeking such an extension
15/6/12 Court of Appeal – Appeal against the decision of the Chief Justice filed and request for hearing
-No date set yet for hearing
22/6/12 Letter written to Court of Appeal requesting early hearing and expressing the urgency of the matter
18/7/12 Letter sent to the Chancellor’s Chambers requesting an early hearing 19/7/12 Follow up letter sent to Court of Appeal requesting written response on the status of the appeal hearing.
Football in 2012
Despite Guyana’s best showing ever in World Cup football history after making it to the fourth round of qualifiers, the unmistakable pandemonium that has besieged the management of the sport has overshadowed the outstanding exploits of the national team.
The ongoing antagonism between the two major factions of the sport locally, the Guyana
Football Federation (GFF) and its largest affiliate the Georgetown Football Association (GFA) over voting rights has plunged the sport into disrepute and that has evidently affected the game’s growth in addition to causing embarrassing splits within the family.
The off-field fiasco has threatened the viability of the sport with sponsors apprehensive to offer their support, while the suspensions of two high ranking members of the governing body in the cash for votes scandal scared away potential sponsors, thereby plunging the GFF into further debt, a situation that became even more grim after the qualifying campaign ended.
The highly publicised ineptitude of the current administration by members of the ‘Golden Jaguars’ squad that participated in the WC qualifiers has only served to heap more condemnation and suspicion on how things are handled by certain officials and all those inconsistencies combined to make the all round performance one below par. Many are now awaiting the arrival of the FIFA official to adjudicate in the enduring mêlée between the Federation and the GFA. The visit they hope will initiate the necessary changes both constitutional and organisational that would allow the aggrieved GFA to be given back their voting rights and make all parties more accountable to stakeholders in the sport.
This year changes have to be made for the sport to enjoy peace and tranquility, two features that have eluded it for quite some time.
All the while, fans are being ripped off due to the present division among the warring factions which ultimately rob them of seeing the best players participate in one tournament.
Hopefully that and all the other problems that currently beset the sport will be rectified during the imminent visit by the FIFA official.
Efforts should be made to have all the pertinent stakeholders have their say whenever the official arrives so that every side will be heard and the best solutions are taken on board.
It is clear as day that the players and fans have reached the limit of their patience and it is now time for clearness to take priority over vagueness.
Motor racing catapults to no.1 spot
The Guyana Motor Racing &Sports Club without a doubt was among the high performing sporting entities of 2012.
This Organisation has been among the leaders on the sports calendar for the past four years, and it did manage to maintain and even surpass its previous performance of 2011.
The re-emergence of Group 4 speedster Mark Vieira, the continued consistency of veteran Andrew King and Kevin Jeffrey and the coming out young drivers such as Afraz Alli, Danny Persaud, Vishok Persaud among others were encouraging developments in the sport last year.
Despite not winning the coveted Caribbean title last year, Guyana like the other host countries Jamaica and Barbados successfully defended home turf in what was described as the largest crowd to witness a Race Meet at the South Dakota Circuit for some time.
The current executive has been exemplary in its planning and execution of events and combined with its shrewdness to partner other related agencies such as the Ministry of Tourism and the hotel and hospitality industries, the sport has now catapulted itself into the no.1 spot on the sports chart, easily replacing the much maligned disciplines of cricket and football.
Guyana has always been one of the leading countries in the sport regionally and despite the paucity of sponsors for competitors, the competitors have been able to expertly navigate that difficulty through much personal sacrifice to make their machines competitive.
The Club was able to reinvigorate interest in the Superbike category which had fallen away for a few years and has now become one of the feature attractions at the Meets, while the go-karts and lower divisions of the cars also garner exciting attention, a new development from years gone by.
Guyana can boast of having the reigning Superbike champion in Stephen ‘Valentino Rossi’ Vieira, while the up and coming Nikhil Seereram, who in his debut year in the category looked everything of a future title holder was more good news for the sport.
It is ample testimony of the work being done at the Club to stimulate growth in the sport all-round and coupled with the evolution of a go-kart track which has supervision all day long for aspiring competitors and a state-of-the-art gym and clubhouse, the sport and the on track success of last year must be among the ‘ highs’ for 2012.
Over the past 12 months has been constantly showing signs of improvement but like any other sport in Guyana, would had endured their fair share of challenges.
Highs of the sport
~ The Guyana Amateur Body Building & Fitness Federation ran off successful competitions at the Novice, Intermediate and Senior levels. All three competitions saw improved athletes attendance as well as crowd support.
~ Two privately run competitions were held, the 3rd Hugh Ross Classic and the Flex Night International Championship, the latter being won by Mr. Suriname 2012.
~ The Guyanese public got a taste of internationally renowned athletes in the persons of Canada’s National female Masters Heavyweight Champion, 40-year-old Tananarive McGowan who was the guest performer at the GABBFF Seniors dubbed “Rise of the Machines.” Eustace Abraham, Guyanese, Canadian based athlete was the male guest poser.
The guest performer for Flex Night Int. was Dutch and Holland base Body Fitness Queen, Gisa ter Haar.
~ The GABBFF maintained their attendance at the CAC Championships in its 40th year of existence, competition taking place in Puerto Rico where four (4) of the nation’s best represented. Devon Davis (132lbs) returning with a gold medal which broke the drought for Guyana after some eight years. Also medaling were Kerwin Clarke took bronze in the 154lb class. Marlon Bennett (143lbs) and the lone female Alisha Fortune were presented with participatory medals.
~ Representation at the Darcy Beckles Invitational Classic Show in Barbados was maintained.
~ More visits and competitions were made to the rural areas by the governing body and private promoters.
Lows of the sport
~ Lack of support from corporate Guyana and Ministry of Culture Youth and Sport.
~ NO SPORTS POLICY YET
The year 2012 has been a bumper one for the Guyana Amateur Powerlifting Federation (GAPF), and for that matter, the best ever in the history of a sport that has quietly placed this country on the world map. The athletes are dedicated and disciplined professionals in an amateur setting but they have all done themselves and Guyana proud.
Highs of the Sport
~ The GAPF was able to run off five competitions where athletes at the Novice, Intermediate, Junior, Master and Senior levels were all given the opportunity to show off their talent.
~ Competitions were held in the Ancient County of Berbice and the City. In relation to Berbice, it is in keeping with the mandate of the federation to decentralize the sport. Berbice has continued to produce some stunning athletes that are world class.
~ The federation fielded a full strength team to the Caribbean championships where it recaptured the Team Title.
~ The following athletes all performed excellently during the year, Randolph Morgan, Winston Stoby, Vijai Rahim, Anis Ade-Thomas, John Edwards, Gumendra Sewdass and the lone female Dawn McCammon-Barker all combining to place Guyana’s name firmly on the Caribbean, Regional, Commonwealth and International maps.
~ History was created when two local referees successfully attained accreditation as Category 11 International Referees; John Edwards and Edwin Spencer.
~ Dedicated coaches continue to do their bit in preparing the athletes for local and international competitions.
Lows of the Sport
~ Lack of funding to support the athletes who’ve all proven that they can take on the Caribbean and the rest of the world successfully.
~ The federation not being able to implement the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) In Competition (ICT) and Out of Competition (OCT) Drug testing due to the prohibitive cost; one test coast US$260.
~ Some athletes not being given the relevant time off with pay to train.
This discipline enjoyed another good year with Guyana’s youth ruling the roost at the Caribbean level. The young stars would have also proven that they are a force to reckon with on the local scene by upstaging their senior counterparts regularly.
Highs of the sport
~ The duo of Paul DeNobrega and Michael Anthony (14-16 year-old 50kms) rode to gold respective medals in the Junior and Juvenile categories at the Caribbean Junior Caribbean Cycling Championships held in Santo Domingo.
~ Raynauth Jeffrey ensured Guyana also took the silver medal in the Junior category.
~ National Coach Hassan Mohamed MS continued his Teach Them Young programme at the National Park sponsored by the National Sports Commission for the 36th consecutive year.
~ Mohamed continues to be the backbone of the sport by hosting programmes at the National Park and Road Races around the country. Some of the other clubs have also been pitching in with Roraima Bikers, Continental and Flying Ace also doing their bit.
~ For the first time in its history, the Guyana Cycling Federation Road Race championships were held in the Bauxite Mining Town of Linden and the Linden Soesdyke Highway.
~ USA based Guyanese Ian ‘QB’ Davis who is also manager of the Miami based Team Coco’s Cycle Club sponsored the entire team to the Junior Caribbean Championships.
~ Davis is also the personal sponsor of a number of Guyanese cyclists
including the top junior/juvenile riders who now ride under the Team Coco’s name.
~ A number of riders also participated in an international meet in Suriname.
~ NSC & MCYS sponsored three and five stage races were maintained.
Lows of the sport
~ Lack of support from the Ministry of Culture Youth and Sport and corporate Guyana.
~ GCF not running off enough events as a national body, it is left to an individual through an affiliated club and some clubs to bring off events.
~ No proper accommodation for riders by the NSC and MCYS when having to overnight in Berbice prior to the start of the three and five stage races.
~ NO SPORTS POLICY YET
The Highs and lows of athletics in 2012
Ironically, the same performance that resulted in a phenomenal high point for Guyana’s athletics then produced some unfortunate lows. There is no doubt that the highest point for athletics in the last year would have been United States-based Kadecia Baird’s silver medal performance during the International Amateur Athletic Federation (IAAF) World Junior Championships in Spain last July.
However, controversy arose after the 17-year-old track star turned in a remarkably fast time 51.04 seconds in Spain, which gave her an Olympic qualifying standard, but Baird was not submitted for consideration on Guyana’s team for the London Olympic Games.
The issue sparked a nasty debate and row between the Baird and Guyana’s Commonwealth gold and silver medallist, Aliann Pompey Camps. Pompey complained about receiving several threats from individuals following Baird’s astounding performance.
In responding to the Baird, Pompey controversy, Athletic Association of Guyana (AAG) leader, Colin Boyce said that there is nothing he could have done to include Baird on Guyana’s team to the 2012 London Olympics.
He explained that neither he nor anyone from the AAG received accreditation papers for Baird in time for her to represent Guyana at the Olympics. He informed that March 23 (of the year of the competition) is the deadline for submission of entries.
“Yes, Kadecia’s performance is overwhelming to all and sundry, but unfortunately, it was done after the accreditation deadline and it’s hard for those who are not aware of the process to accept; but that’s how life is. Please accept our concern and sincerely hope that this ugly situation can be put to rest once and for all,” the AAG President had told the media.
Baird’s performance should have been celebrated unadulterated within the Guyanese community of sports, but unfortunately, misinformation and misunderstanding of the International Olympics Committee (IOC) rules led the media down a mischievous path.
Of course the other high in 2012 will include the controversial 9.90 seconds the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) sprinter, Rupert Perry returned in the 100m at the Inter-Services Annual Athletic Championship (ISSAC) at the GDF Ground, Base Camp Ayangana.
The remarkable hand time sparked another debate that brought into focus, the need for electronic timing systems with Guyanese athletes advancing their performances, toward some international standards. However, generally athletics is on the ascendancy.
Volleyball in 2012
This is a sport that has made a remarkable resurgence over the past two years following a prolonged period of inactivity.
Last year, due to the extended dry weather, most sporting organizations were able to execute many of their planned programmes and volleyball was one such discipline that saw increased activities and that has classified it as one of the highs in 2012.
The year saw an amplification of action within the two traditional counties that have dominated the sport for so long, Demerara and Berbice that surely augurs well for the future of the sport.
The executive of the respective associations within the two counties had formed a strong allegiance over the past two years and this strategic partnership saw the exchange of visits by teams, while participation of teams in tournaments organized by the respective Bodies remained solid.
The Demerara Association through its member affiliate Castrol Strikers started the year with the completion of the 2011 Tradewind Tankers ‘True Champions’ Tournament and that was followed by the Digicel competition, while the year culminated with the Tradewind Tankers ‘International Challenge’ Tournament which saw teams from Brazil, Trinidad and Tobago and Suriname compete against the locals and it was agreed that the level of the competition not only served to raise awareness of the sport’s resurrection, but it also helped to improve the level of play amongst the local players.
The Berbice Association must be seen as the strongest unit within the Guyana Volleyball Federation (GVF).
This entity did an enormous job in popularising and lifting the standard of the sport in the County and for this the administration must be commended.
They not only ran off regular tournaments, but also organized the training of officials and staged training sessions as well for aspiring players, making it the most vibrant of the GVF affiliates.
The GVF for its credit must be singled out for the unmitigated support it has given to member affiliates, starting with the procurement of a high-class surface at the National Gymnasium which current President Lenox Shuffler must receive praise for. It was Shuffler, who had canvassed strongly for assistance from the FIVB for lowly rated countries such as Guyana have such help to further develop the sport.
The long serving Head was also able to solicit assistance for the development of the sport in schools and to this end received balls and other related items which was distributed to schools and this too has them in the ‘highs’ for sports in 2012.
Let’s hope that the momentum witnessed last year will pick up speed and allow the sport to break into the mainstream.