By Rawle Welch
After a whirlwind start to his new term in office, President of the Guyana Olympic Association (GOA) K.A Juman Yassin appears to be back in normal mode.
Yassin, who was re-elected to serve another four years to go with the twenty-plus that he enjoyed before last December’s elections, commenced the year dishing out huge financial support to two performing associations to augment their preparations for Caribbean and international engagements.
The GOA Head was again in the news offering advice to track & field coaches following the completion of a coaching course, while also cautioning member associations to submit their respective long-term strategic plans for development, failing which no assistance would be forthcoming from the GOA.
Yassin was also harsh on doping violators, reminding them of their responsibility to adhere to the conditions of the World Anti-Doping Agency policies, warning that those who are in contravention would not receive funding by the GOA.
An early scrutiny of Yassin’s performance to date would give him a rating of 6 out of a possible 10 – not bad for someone whose previous tenure was repeatedly described as a total failure.
It would be remiss of me not to mention his one blemish in the early hours of his new term, which is his letter to the International Cycling Union President, urging that entity to intervene in the current imbroglio facing the sport locally.
Yassin’s premature call for the world body’s involvement clearly demonstrated his inability to understand and possibly settle an issue that many feel could be reconciled right here.
Equally, because there was no report of any request made to summon the President of the Guyana Cycling Federation Horace Burrowes to a meeting to settle the issue, and then for him to exercise the option to solicit help from the highest authority in the sport, many felt that he was: (1) taking favour with the disgruntled faction and (2) using his high office to scare the incumbent.
However, the motivation for this article stemmed from a conversation I had on Friday last with US-based Sports Journalist Orin Davidson, who asked, among many things, what is the current state of the application made by the Guyana Sports Shooting Federation (GSSF) since 2014 to become a member of the GOA, that has so far been spurned by the Yassin administration.
President of the GSSF Vidushi Persaud-McKinnon had written in a few dailies last December detailing her disappointment with the GOA’s snub of the entity’s application for membership status. Here is a discipline that has received endorsement from several major stakeholders including the Ministries of Education and Sport, National Sports Commission and more importantly, recognition and affiliation to the Swiss-based World Archery Federation.
Persaud-McKinnon went on to say that, “This international affiliation was granted and is currently maintained by the GSSF after having fulfilled all the criteria set out by the International Olympic Committee (IOC)’s governing body for Archery.”
She further stated in her letter that the sport of Archery gives Guyana an excellent chance of medaling at the Olympics, so it is somewhat mystifying to comprehend the stance taken by the GOA.
The GSSF is a young Federation, but in a very short space of time has been able to achieve a lot, an incontrovertible testimony to the commitment and acumen of its executive.
Some have argued that the Federation’s progress was heavily facilitated by preferential treatment, but whatever the circumstance(s) were, no one could deny its inspiring development to date.
Being such an important Body, the onus is on the GOA – which had promised to be more open and accountable in its new term – to give reason(s) for not agreeing to grant the GSSF membership if this is the current scenario.
The ball is in the GOA’s penalty area, and failure to defend that danger zone could result in its defence being breached.
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