Feb 19, 2009 Sports Comments Off on Basketball needs Government support
By Edison Jefford
Whether it is bare rhetoric or political pragmatics, the recent disclosure that Government is prepared to support local basketball should be enough ransom to catapult the troubled discipline into the international mainstream.
There are sufficient examples to prove that success in sport is directly related to the input of Governments, which is a direct consequence of a policy of inclusiveness that is solely built on humility in the interest of national good.
The focal point of this commentary is basketball but a digression is necessary to make the invaluable point that Governments are responsible for the advancement of sport. Whether they are exclusively responsible is debatable.
The clichéd example of the successes of track and field in Jamaica may be ashes now but it is widely known that the Jamaican Government heavily subsidies the discipline albeit substantial corporate support from the community.
Through the efforts of Jamaica’s Minister of Information Culture Youth and Sport, Olivia Grange athletes from Europe, Africa and North America often descend on the island to network and hone their various expertises.
Sport is not just novelty but a resource for tourism apart from the development of athletic prowess through exposure. Only a collaborative effort from Government and associations can create such a niche in an economy.
Trinidad and Tobago will host the Caribbean Games this year and the first financial input came from the Patrick Manning Administration in a gesture that will ultimately lead to the success of the inaugural event.
With the Jamaican and Trinidad examples aside, Guyana is on the brink of an important treaty between Government and the basketball federation that could propel the sport to where it belongs: on the local priority list.
In this collaborative effort, the Land of Many Waters could host the Caribbean Basketball Confederation (CBC) Championships this year. Both parties have already indicated their willingness to work in unison toward that end.
Basketball has pointlessly gone through the wilderness in Guyana and it seems as though there is light at the end of the tunnel. Every sport needs Government support even if it is primarily in infrastructural maintenance.
The inclusive policy is a tremendous boost at this time when the dynamics of the sport in Guyana is rapidly evolving. This tosses the notion of support for constituent sport out of the window and where it indeed belongs.
Sport is genetic not race–based. One of the best high school basketball players in Guyana at the moment is a Guyanese of Indian decent, Richard Mohandatt.
The racial dynamics of sport are being altered and so should Guyana. The concept of ‘Indo and Afro Guyanese’ should never be enunciated. I sincerely believe that an individual born in Guyana is Guyanese regardless of ethnic decent. The terms should be stripped of their political purposes.
The terms ‘Indo and Afro’ seem to connote that an individual may be Guyanese because of the naturalisation process from India and Africa respectively, which is often not the case but is yet proliferated here in Guyana.
That was another necessary aside to indicate that it does not matter which race dominates a particular sport disciple. Race majority in a sport discipline should not steer the policies of any Government elected to serve a nation.
Neil Kumar’s expressed support for the local basketball federation in its attempt to host a regional basketball tournament is definitely a step forward in the relationship of the two entities entrusted with the sport’s development.
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