By Edison Jefford
President of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, David Granger lobbied for a “fresh” approach to the development of sports here Friday night when he delivered the feature address at Guyana’s Olympic Association (GOA) Awards and Appreciation Ceremony.
Granger, a trained historian, informed the sports community present at
the Georgetown Club that in 68 years of Guyana’s participation at the Olympic Games, the country only managed a bronze medal that Michael Parris won in 1980 in boxing.
It is against that background that the President called for a new look at sports development. “So why do we do so poorly? What we need to do is take the model that we are using and take a fresh look at sports,” the President said.
His Excellency suggested the introduction of the ‘Populist Model’. “The populist model in sport is essential to provide our athletes with a greater chance of development. Populists allowed latent potential in sport to develop,” Granger believes.
The concept of populism in sport is basically to make sports appealing to the general population. The ‘Sports For All’ programme in Trinidad and Tobago, for instance, uses the populist structure to support and advance its programmes.
Granger was basically calling for the development of sport from the grassroots level. “We need to look at the way we have been producing our athletes over those years to see if we need further change to produce better athletes,” the President observed.
“We need to see a new way of producing younger sports men and women,” he stated, adding that Guyanese athletes have the potential to be world class performers. He indicated that there is need for the “acceleration” of sports in schools.
Once these recommendations are followed, Granger believes that sports has an exciting future in Guyana. Earlier, President of the Guyana Olympic Association (GOA), K. A. Juman-Yassin had called for the implementation of the Sports Policy.
“With the Sports Policy, the criteria and standard is set, for instance that if standard is made there will be funding,” Yassin noted, adding that a lot of sport associations and administrations need the financial assistance that the Policy will guarantee.
He said that the Olympic association will start a programme that will assist with the nourishment of athletes. In addition, Yassin informed that the GOA will fully fund all those athletes, who had qualified for the August 5-21 Olympic Games in Rio, Brazil.
Minister with responsibility for Culture, Youth and Sports, Dr. Nicolette Henry, who also spoke at the occasion, indicated that there will be no more neglect for the development of sports since it plays an important role in human capacity development.
“I am pleased that the Ministry of Education is supported. Human capacity development is key to any country’s development. Education and sports should go hand in hand,” Henry noted, making it clear that her ministry will continue the developmental thrust.
Some of the Awardees include: Sean Devers (Sports Journalist of the Year); Godfrey Wray (Contribution to the Development of Sport); Carl Ince (Support to Youth Development in Sport); Taylor Fernandes and Larissa Wiltshire (Outstanding Performance in Sport – Squash); Charles Corbin (GOA Council Member of the Year 2015); Buxton Youth Developers (IOC Trophy 2015 ‘Sport and Innovation’).
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