– Kaieteur Sports’ Franklin Wilson among awardees
The Guyana Olympic Association (GOA) honoured several outstanding sports personalities for their contribution to sports within the ambits of Olympic sporting disciplines at a special function at the Georgetown Club last Friday evening.
The event was attended by several sporting personalities and officials including Minister of Culture Youth and Sports Dr. Frank Anthony, Director of Sport Neil Kumar, guest speaker the Honourable Mr. David Peterson QC of the Pan American Sports Association (PASO) and members of the business community including Dr. Yesu Persaud of the Demerara Distillers Limited.
Among those recognised for their contribution to sports at the various levels of their interaction was Kaieteur Sports’ Franklin Wilson, who copped the sports journalist of the year award for the coverage of sports during the past year, 2008.
Lavern Fraser-Thomas was honoured for her sterling contribution to Netball at various levels through her distinguished career, Carl Ince, who is presently overseas, was recognised for his outstanding service as the country’s and Caribbean’s most qualified Squash coach.
Veteran weightlifter, trainer and gym owner Sydney Paul, who it was disclosed is 91 years of age, was lauded for his exceptional contribution to weightlifting over the years. Rugby referee Terrence Grant was also honoured for his sterling contribution to that sport for a number of years.
Wilton Spencer, currently attached to the Department of Sport, was recognised for his outstanding work with the disabled, Bakewell received commendation for their wholehearted and unwavering support to sports through its sponsorship of several sporting disciplines and personalities.
Former athletics association boss Claude Blackmore’s contribution to that discipline for over 20 years was noted, while Joseph Lee Lam of weightlifting fame was also commended for his impressive contributions.
Dr. Karen Pilgrim was the GOA Council Member of the year for her impressive service at various levels of activity representing the association and sports in Guyana during 2008. This award was decided by GOA boss K.A. Juman Yassin.
Cycling coach Hassan Mohamed MS was presented with the IOC Trophy for his sterling service to youth and sports during the past year and previously in cycling.
Several other persons were presented with bouquets, noting their work during 2008. Among them were 2008 senior and junior sports woman of the year Alika Morgan.
The GOA president, Mr. Juman Yassin and Dr. Anthony made brief remarks, while GOA Secretary General Ivor O’Brien gave the report of the organisation’s work during the past year.
In his feature remarks, PASO’s David Peterson Q.C, reminisced on his first visit to Guyana in 1992 when he served as Chairman of the international Commonwealth team which oversaw the general elections in Guyana.
Peterson informed that he is the head of the bid committee for the Canadian city of Toronto’s bid for the 2015 Pan American games. He highlighted the importance of sports’ ability to unify peoples of the world, echoing sentiments intimated by Dr. Anthony.
The highly qualified lawyer, who also holds an Honorary Doctorate, stated that sports treated people on their merit and bonds rather than divide people, and is a powerful unifying force.
He also stated his role in attempting to foster closer ties between the governments of Guyana and Canada.
Peterson also guardedly solicited Guyana’s vote for their bid for the Pan Am games. He disclosed that avenues are open for Guyanese athletes and coaches to travel and to train in Canada prior to those games once their bid is successful. He mentioned the legacy venues that would be built to host the games would leave noting the importance of high level training.
Peterson pointed to the serious nature of sports today compared with years gone by and the need for top level preparation, hence the thrust to construct improved facilities, which would be made available to Guyana.
The budget for hosting the event is in the vicinity of Can$1.4B. Its was noted the large number of persons (250,000, ten thousand of which are athletes) that are likely to visit Toronto during the event and the level of sports tourism it entails, providing massive earnings and long term spill offs for Canada.
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