Sep 03, 2010 Sports
Pleased with the outstanding performance of Guyana’s National Sevens Rugby Team at the regional and international levels President Bharrat Jagdeo extended a benevolent donation of $5M to cover the costs associated with its participation in the Commonwealth Games in Delhi, India beginning on October 3.
President of the West Indies Rugby Union Christopher ‘Kit’ Nascimento accompanied the team on a visit to State House recently where they met with the Head of State who conveyed his pleasure to the team for delivering at the world class level.
Nascimento described the President’s donation as an investment in the team, recognising that its success depends on the full patronage of the people of Guyana.
During the discussion with the athletes, the President said it is remarkable that a sport with a mere three local clubs is playing rugby successfully at the international level.
He acknowledged, however, the limited publicity often given to the sport in this part of the hemisphere compared to cricket.
In this regard, the Head of State made a personal commitment to help promote the game at the domestic level by encouraging the media to publicise it more often as a major event.
He also proposed that organisers extend awareness of the game by venturing into rural communities.
The inaugural entry of the locals to the Commonwealth Games makes it the first time a Caribbean team has been recognised to compete at that level. A total of 16 teams will be participating in the tournament.
Nascimento was optimistic about the undefeated local team competing at its best against top teams from New Zealand, South Africa, Australia, Samoa, Kenya and England. He believes Guyana is likely to cop bronze.
“The Commonwealth Games is a huge sporting event. It is the largest multi-sporting event which includes Rugby, in the world behind the Olympics and soccer. So it’s a big event that will have huge television coverage,” Nascimento told the Government Information Agency (GINA).
The local team was successful for the fourth consecutive year at the Caribbean Championships hosted in Mexico and is thus qualified to represent Guyana in the international Rugby Board’s “Sevens World Series” which is held in various countries across the world.
On February 14, Guyana participated in the World Series in Las Vegas competing against some of the top teams around the world, including New Zealand, Australia, the United States of America and Scotland – and ended the series with a draw against France. “This team now has sustained its top level rugby. Proof of that is that five years ago we became Caribbean champions and it shows that what we are doing with the game here is the right thing and we are able to sustain the level that we have reached,” Nascimento.
The local rugby association won coach and association of the year 2009 at the National Sports Awards.
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