Aug 29, 2012 Sports
The Government of Guyana, especially those assigned to the holistic development of sports in the country should be embarrassed with the developmental rate of sports in the country.
Guyana, a South American country which has a population more than six times that of Grenada’s population, should be capable of competing with the other countries in the majority of sports but unfortunately we cannot since the country does not have most of the facilities for athletes to undergo a strategic training schedule to reach the international level.
Lately Guyana’s National Senior Netball team suffered a series of defeats in the American Federation of Netball Association (AFNA) Netball Championship in Trinidad and Tobago at the Jean Pierre Sports Complex, Port-of-Spain.
Guyana was hapless in the Championship which featured countries like Trinidad and Tobago, St. Lucia, USA, Grenada, Bermuda, Jamaica, Canada and Barbados. It was not a shock when Guyana did not win a game against the other countries. The reason for that downhill was totally because of the lack of facilities and funds toward athletes’ development.
The other countries especially Jamaica, the powerhouse of the Caribbean, have numerous playing courts where the girls would usually conduct their scheduled training programmes. But Guyana on the other hand does not have the proper facilities for the players to develop themselves which of course contributed to the AFNA Championship results.
What is even more devastating for the players and even the coach is the unavailability of the only two facilities, National Gymnasium and Cliff Anderson Sports Hall (CASH), the Guyana Netball Association (GNA) had access to conduct their training sessions for international competitions like the one they attended in the Twin Island.
Coach of the team, Lavern Fraser-Thomas revealed that she was dissatisfied with the training session for the international competition as the Senior National Team was denied access to the two venues they were granted permission to by the National Sports Commission (NSC).
The Director of Sport revealed that extensive repairs were done to the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall (CASH) and the National Gymnasium (NG) to offer better usage as the venues are adequately utilized by the National Sports Associations/ Federations and Organisations, but the Senior National Netball team was not privileged to use the venues.
The host of the Championship, Trinidad and Tobago who was defeated by the Caribbean powerhouse (Jamaica) has numerous courts (in and outdoors); the opening ceremony of the Championship was held on the indoor court in the Jean Pierre Complex.
Jamaica’s National Netball Coach, Oberon Pitterson-Nattie disclosed that the Jamaicans netball players have a criteria to fit before qualifying for a national team during an interview with KS.
Pitterson-Nattie firmly stated that the sport is not a professional one and said that the players receive incentives once they represent the country from the relevant authorities which of course include the Government.
The coach added that nutrition and fitness along with proper training facilities for the team played a vital part to their performance at the Championship, so there is absolutely a reason as to why they are the powerhouse of the Caribbean. Trinidad and Tobago is similar to Jamaica with their multi-netball courts at the Jean Pierre Complex.
Pitterson-Nattie during the interview said that the team has a fitness trainer and also someone that monitors the nutrition of the team while in camp.
In closing she mentioned that most of the girls on the team are either 5’8 or 5’9, “We have short girls playing the sport but generally we choose the taller one for national teams.”
Lavern Fraser indicated that the Guyanese players were intimidated by the Jamaicans who were like Twin Towers compared to their height, “I think that the team was intimidated by the Jamaicans, of course both their height and sizes.”
Guyana’s level of competition compared to the other Caribbean countries implies a lot of things.
Lavern Fraser stated that if anything is to be done presently to reverse the state it will be solely the responsibility of the Guyana Netball Association since the National Sports Commission does not have anyone employed to overlook netball development, “At this present moment if anything is to be done on those levels it will have to be the responsibility of the Guyana Netball Association, but if the two entities can collaborate then something can happen,” she said.
Lavern Fraser continued, “One of the projections for the Association for the new school year is to hopefully gain the necessary permission from the Ministry of Education to utilize some of the more experienced players to start a netball programme within the primary schools.”
She added that she was once employed by the NSC as a netball coach, “I did annually conduct a summer programme with primary schools and actually that was one of the programmes that was able to keep netball alive in Guyana because a lot of the players from the primary programmes are players who were eventually sent into our U-16 programme and eventually became our senior players. So this is another void that needs to be filled if the sport will continue in Guyana.” (Juanita Hooper)
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