By Michael Benjamin
2015 was an eventful year for local sports with every discipline aspiring to supersede its adversaries. It was amidst such fierce competition and with the ‘weighty’ responsibilities of leading their charges that the executives
of the Guyana Amateur Weightlifting Association (GAWA) aspired to provide meaningful competition even amidst debilitating challenges.
Deion Nurse had served as the Secretary of that entity but has since been elevated to the status of Honorary Life Member, while paving the way for his successor, Seon Erskine, to take up the mantle. Kaieteur Sport recently spoke with Mr. Nurse on the issues and challenges of administrators in their quest to strengthen the GAWA while creating opportunities for their charges.
“We have been bogged down by financial issues but nonetheless, we have been able to successfully address certain aspects of our itinerary,” Mr. Nurse replied to a question asked of him. He admitted that tournaments have been somewhat sparse and informed that the last tournament was staged at the Guyana National Service Sports Complex, Carifesta Avenue, in June last year where several schoolboys vied for honours.
“We detected raw talent in that tournament that was perched for a grand takeoff provided it was nurtured,” said Mr. Nurse. He made special mention of Christopher John, a bright prospect that had won the prize for Best Lifter at the June tournament. However, GAWA executives were unable to pursue this goal since John, a student of the Guyana Industrial Training Centre,
became engrossed in academic pursuits that precluded his participation in future competitions.
“This is a regular occurrence where our stalwarts are forced to abort participation in the game in order to engage in other life defining activities and academic persuasions,” revealed Mr. Nurse. He also pointed out that many of the lifters had migrated to other countries thus creating a vacuum that is somewhat difficult to fill.
At the moment, weightlifters ply their trade out of three institutions, The Michael Parris Fitness Centre (MPFC) situated in the National Park, True Foundation in West Ruimveldt and the Hardcore Gym. “Equipment is very expensive and we have had numerous challenges in acquiring these items for the various gyms and it is on this note that I’d wish to acknowledge the input of the Guyana Olympics Association (GOA),” said Mr. Nurse.
He said that the Juman Yassin led organization has recently renovated the MPFC and has installed two weightlifting platforms along with much needed equipment.
The GAWA also benefitted from the intervention of the National Sports Commission (NSC) and Mr. Nurse revealed that executives of his entity has recently engaged Director of Sports, Christopher Jones, and discussed strategies towards the sport’s development and the NSC’s input. “We have submitted a developmental proposal and from all indications, Mr. Jones is impressed; he’s approved the document and is now in the process of putting the modalities in place to address those concerns,” Mr. Nurse said.
Additionally, GAWA officials will benefit from the chivalry of the International Weightlifting Association (IWA) in (the latter organization’s) drive to support the efforts of its affiliates worldwide. Recently, that entity had donated over US$15,000 worth of equipment including 4 new weightlifting sets with a total of 760kgs, 2 kids training bar (10kgs) and a commitment of further support in the near future. This gift will arrive in Guyana soon.
Mr. Nurse said that this level of support was garnered after the parent body noted the hard work of the local association coupled with (Guyana’s) regular participation at (the IWA) congress over the last three years.
Locally, executives are hoping to expand and encourage the inauguration of more clubs. “There is also a need to train additional coaches while expanding on the knowledge base of current ones,” said Mr. Nurse.
When asked to rate the performance of the GAWA over the past year, Mr. Nurse replied, “We have commenced the school programme and hope to continue along that line in the new dispensation.” He said that his executives are cognizant of the benefits that can be derived while concentrating on development at the nursery level. “I would say that the GAWA executives have accomplished at least 60% of their objectives,’ he surmised.
This is a new dispensation and Mr. Nurse said that the GAWA executive is currently fine tuning plans to field a team to the Pan-American Youth Championship in San Salvador, El Salvador, in April. Further, a team of administrators are preparing to attend the Electoral Congress scheduled for Santo Domingo February month end.
Amidst the many ploys that will be initiated to push the fraternity forward, Mr. Nurse envisages that an incentive scheme may provide the answer. He said that the GAWA executives are currently toying with an idea where clubs and individuals could receive incentives for outstanding performances.
On that note he highlighted the work of Denoila Bristol, a young lifter attending St Roses High School who recently acquired a distinction in weightlifting at the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) examination. “These are the satisfying moments that encourage administrators to toil behind the development of the young lifters,” exhorted the former General Secretary.
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