“We have a number of very talented sportsmen and women in this region and I will do whatever I can to ensure that they garner the right opportunities to propel their development.”
This is the commitment given by Regional Executive Officer of Region 8, Rafel Downes who is embarking on securing partnerships and collaborations in order to achieve this aim.
Downes, who is credited for aiding and teaching his son Guyana’s number one lawn tennis player Anthony Downes the sport, said that sports is a perfect vehicle to bring about holistic development.
He noted that while his workload as REO is challenging in terms of getting projects and programmes executed, he firmly believes that sports is the best avenue for further developing the youths in the Region.
“It’s already an established fact that opportunities are limited for the young people in Region 8 and as such, sports would be the best option of further enhancing the talent and skills of several of the young men and women,” he said.
Downes issued an appeal to the various sports associations in Guyana to invest in the youths who possess the talent and skills from outlying areas, noting that in many cases all they need is an opportunity to show what they can do.
“Sports is not cheap and frankly it’s very expensive if you are going to go the long haul. Therefore if you don’t have the finances you must have the sponsor (s) who are prepared to invest heavily in you,” he said.
He continued, “When I was investing in my son Anthony it was challenging but I am very satisfied and proud of his achievements over the years as he has certainly proven that irrespective of which area or community you are from, once you have the right support base you can achieve anything. Today Anthony is a tennis champion beating everyone in his path in very convincing ways.”
The REO noted that the formula used for his son’s success at lawn tennis can be replicated if both the business community and sporting associations coupled with the National Sports Commission takes a deep interest in producing new stars.
“What you are seeing a lot of is very raw talent in football, lawn tennis, volleyball, archery and cricket but the respective associations must be prepared to invest seriously in sports development and sports development must not only come in the coastline areas but throughout Guyana.”
He expressed disappointment with the reluctance of several sports associations’ officials who have never visited several of these communities to review and examine the talent that exists, expressing the view that sports is not just talking about it but toiling both night and day for long hours seeking the best while seeking to produce the best.
“We have a lot of officials who unfortunately claims that they have passion for sports development but yet they ignore these regions for varying reasons. The common excuse that we hear is that it’s expensive to visit these regions or that time is limited… foolishness, they are many innovative ways that they can explore in visiting these regions. As a matter of fact, expanding the sport to the hinterland communities should be the top priority of every association and I am hoping that for this year a number of associations are seeking to do this,” he opined.
Downes disclosed that for his region’s budget for 2017 there’s any money for sports but expressed the view that he will embark on a number of collaborations and partnerships as being from Region 8; he better understands the plight and cries of the youths.
“I have been passionate about sports over the years and I will continue to build relationships which hopefully will evolve into partnerships and collaborations. We cannot allow our talented youths to sit by idly with broken or lost dreams thus seeing themselves as failures resulting in many of them turning to social ills. It’s time that we help in our own little ways in saving dreams and desires as when you listen to many of the youths in this region they have come to the realisation that they cannot get out unto the big scene because of their location and or situation so I will seek with the help of others to change this perception while renewing their desires and ability to dream big,” he declared.
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