Consolidation time in 09 – President Peter Green By Franklin Wilson
While it is not one of the popular sports when compared to Football and Cricket, the rise of Powerlifting in Guyana in 2008 has been very encouraging, so says President of the Guyana Amateur Powerlifting Federation, Peter Green.
In just his first year at the helm, Green affirmed that he is satisfied strides have been made to improve the competitive level not only locally, but regionally and internationally.
The confident Green boldly claims that the Federation was able to place more emphasis on administration but lots more needs to be done. Energies were also channeled towards the development of athletes with the hosting of four (4) competitions during the year.
One of the major achievements was a grand return to international competition after a hiatus of some 11 years. Guyana was able to send her two leading athletes, ‘Big’ John Edwards and Mervin ‘Spongy’ Moses, who surpassed the expectations of all with excellent performances at the 6th North American Regional Powerlifting Championships and 3rd Tournament of the Americas Powerlifting Championships which were held in Oranjestad, Aruba in June.
Edwards was crowned the Heavyweight champion setting two unofficial records in the process, these records will be ratified early in the New Year. Moses, who was one pound outside his normal weight had to compete in the higher group and placed third overall. Winston Stoby managed the team.
Based on his performance, Edwards qualified to compete at the World Championships which was slated for Canada but due to financial challenges was not able to travel.
Green was happy that not only the regular competitors came out to compete in the local competitions, but they were able to attract a number of young people, standing out in this regard from the Ancient County are 16 year-old sensation Vijay Rahim and Wazeem Immamdeen.
Both Rahim and Immamdeen earned their tickets to the senior championships due to their excellent performances at the junior and intermediate competitions held earlier this year.
Also enjoying a good year was Bhojkumar Jagnarine also of Berbice and ‘Big’ John Edwards.
Another goal for 2008 was constitutional reform to bring it in line with the International Powerlifting Federation (IPF) and to include the acceptance of the World Anti Doping Code.
Efforts were also made to forge a better working relationship with the Ministry of Culture Youth and Sport.
Green informed that plans will be made to reach out to all the regions of Guyana for them to be actively involved in the sport. “A group of coaches will be appointed by the Federation after our next elections to ensure that this aim is realised. We also plan to resuscitate the referees and coaches associations and endeavor to have them qualify to officiate at the regional and international levels.”
According to Green, the International Powerlifting Federation (IPF) recognised the efforts of the Guyanese athletes and decided that Guyana would no longer be a provisional member but permanent.
Efforts were made to be affiliated to the North American Federation but the IPF decided at the Congress that Guyana would have to be affiliated to the South American Federation. “However, we are still eligible to take part in competitions hosted by the North American Federation.”
Challenges of 08
One of the challenges this year according to Green was the setting up and functioning of regional associations in Berbice and Linden. “This has been a bit of a bug bear this year because we tried to do so much in so little time but the year will see us tackling this issue vigorously. I would like to see much more done to organise the sport in Linden. We intend to visit these areas and to meet with athletes.”
A strategy will be developed Green disclosed to tackle the schools and the Ministry of Culture Youth and Sport will be called upon to assist in this area.
“Setting up a youth base or foundation is vital especially since most of our athletes are above the age of 30, so we need to focus time and energy on attracting young people to the sport.”
And while the Federation has been able to raise monies to run off all its programmes without approaching the Ministry for assistance, Green is cognizant that with plans to expand, not only the Ministry will have to chip in but Corporate Guyana too.
“We have always tried to be self sufficient but at this stage where a sport is becoming more and more costly to operate we will have to find ways and means of increasing our intake to finance these programmes.”
Assistance is expected from the IPF and the North American Federation in terms of equipment, coaching and referring. Help in the form of administrative development is also expected from the Brazilian Federation.
This is nearing completion Green informed and he is aiming to present it to the members at the AGM next year. The President is hoping that representation and attendance at the highest decision making forum is the best ever.
Guyana has been invited to participate in the Caribbean Powerlifting and Bench Press championships to be held in the US Virgin Islands sometime March / April. The team to represent Guyana will be known early in 2009 and will comprise some of the top performers from the Senior Championships.
The local Federation is also aiming to have a representative team at the inaugural Pan American/Central American Regional Championships to be held in Guatemala in August. Over 300 athletes from the Americas are expected to participate.
Guyana has also been given the opportunity to host the Caribbean Championships in 2010 or 2011. This will be confirmed by February since Trinidad and Tobago is to confirm their hosting of the championships next year.
In looking ahead, Green says he is reaching out to other professionals to get on board in moving the sport forward.
He too, like a number of other associations and federations, highlighted that fact that only a few elected executives function and is aiming to change this by attracting a different level of administrators.
“I have a list of professionals I intend to present once it is the intention of the membership to re-elect me in 2009. These are people that will move the Federation forward. Too much time is being spent on getting things done without the cooperation of the team.”
Green extended sincere gratitude to all the sponsors who dedicated their finances to support the sport in 2008 and he is looking forward to forging more partnerships in 2008.
“Special thanks to all the athletes, supporters and administrators for their support during this year also and I trust that God will bless us all and the coming year will be much more fruitful for all.”
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