By Rawle Welch
In what could be interpreted as a new and welcomed development, rugby teams in Guyana will for the first time benefit from financial bounty for winning a tournament.
Yesterday this was confirmed during the launching of the inaugural Guinness Sevens Competition when Brand Manager Lee Baptiste pledged over $300,000 towards the event which takes place tomorrow, at the National Park Playfield.
Among those present were Guinness Brand Manager Lee Baptiste, Guyana Rugby Football Union President Peter Green, Communications Manager Troy Peters, Union Secretary Petal Adams, Match Secretary Shane Grant-Stuart and players.
In remarks, Baptiste said the motivation to reward the teams was prompted following a visit to a game whilst in Ireland sometime ago, informing that it was always his wish to renew the enthusiasm in the game which in his opinion has diminished over the years in terms of local spectator support.
”This tournament was in the making for over one year and half and the motivation came after a visit to a game while I was in Ireland where I saw the enthusiasm and passion fans had for the game,” Baptiste told the media.
He said Banks DIH is leading the way towards the resuscitation of that passion and enthusiasm for the sport which undoubtedly has kept the Guyana flag flying high across the Caribbean and further.
”It is our objective to put back energy and excitement back into the sport,” Baptiste said.
The one-day event which will be played under floodlights will see the men’s winner receive $150,000, runner-up $50,000, 3rd place $25,000 along with trophies, while the women’s winner will take away $50,000 and a trophy.
The Most Valuable players will be rewarded with $5,000 each, while fans will also have the opportunity to win prizes through participation in novelty events. The participating teams in the men’s category are: Police Falcons, Panthers, the Guyana Defence Force, Pepsi Hornets and Yamaha Caribs.
Green in his remarks said that with the introduction of Guinness the sport now has another chance to develop further, adding that players will now be compensated no matter how little for their dedication and service to the game.
He spoke of the success of the sport in spite of the sparse support it receives and this he attributed to the players dedication and steadfast commitment which has earned them the right to consistently beat the best teams in the Caribbean and be worthy representative for the Region at the highest level such as the Hong Kong Sevens.
Grant-Stuart spoke of how happy the moment was for him to see rugby now moving to another level where teams are now being financially compensated. He then gave a brief synopsis of how the tournament will run, informing that scrum time is 15:30hrs and games will be played for duration of 14 minutes with a total of 15 games carded for the day.
Adams, who has responsibility for women’s development, thanked the Company for coming on board once again, especially since the women are being included as well. Meanwhile, Police have recruited two guests’ players from Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) who according to local officials are highly regarded in rugby circles at home and expected to provide a significant boost to the team. They are the Pantor brothers Jeron and Leon.
Fans are being urged to come out and support the event and have fun with drinks and food for sale throughout the day.
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