Guyana invited to next month’s Creole tournament
By Sean Devers in St Lucia
”It’s time Caribbean Governments invest in the sport of boxing since there are so many spin-offs from this investment” urged President of the St Lucia Boxing Association David ‘Shakes’ Christopher.
”We need more funding, trained coaches and administrators but the Region is working together and if everything goes to plan, in the next five years we should be back to the standard of boxing of the 1980s” Christopher said.
Christopher added that if Regional Governments invest more in Sports this could help reduce the level of crime, produce fitter nations, less cost for Health Care, promote sports tourism and create more champions.
”Governments and the private sector should help to offer sponsorship for more boxing tournaments across the Region since boxing can provide an income to young boxers with scholarships now available. Boxing should be introduced in more schools since the sport is now in the CXC curriculum,” disclosed Christopher.
St. Lucia hosted the OECS Boxing tournament in April and is now preparing to hold the ninth annual Invitational Creole Boxing Championships, July 5-9 and Guyana has been invited to participate.
The SLBA’s activities will conclude with the Caribbean Development Boxing Tournament in December. Christopher revealed that preparations for the Creole Boxing tournament is going full steam ahead and will be held at the Beausejour Indoor Facility next to the Darren Sammy Cricket Ground.
The tournament which was held in French Guiana last year is usually for the French Caribbean but English speaking nations have been invited this year. “Preparations are going nicely and we used the OECS tournament in April to test the facility and already we have 86 Boxers from the Caribbean registered in the four categories including a female division,” Christopher disclosed.
He informed that the event which was held in St Lucia for the first time in 2013.
Although St. Lucian fighters have no Gym presently to train they are doing road work to keep them in shape and provide much needed glove-work ahead of next month’s tournament. In addition to the host Country, French Guiana, Martinique, Guadalupe, Dominica, St Marten, Antigua, St Vincent, Barbados, Grenada and Guyana are expected to participate.
The Guyanese born Christopher has severed as SLBA Head for the last three terms after taking over the position in 2005 from another Guyanese, Joseph ‘Reds’ Perrier, who served as President from 1996.
The SLBA is refocusing its efforts on urgent completion of the National Boxing Gymnasium construction project in Castries. Construction is 50 percent completed and will be named in memory of SLBA’s former PRO Brian McDonald who died three years ago at age 42.
According to Christopher, the Gym is currently needed to afford national boxers with a more conducive environment for training. He thanked the businesses and private citizens in St Lucia for their contributions towards the completion of the project, which he feels is an important investment in the youth.
St. Lucia Olympic Committee has contributed EC$20, 000 to the project. “The standard of boxing in island is high and I would say only second to Guyana, the defending champions from last year’s Caribbean Development tournament in Barbados. But generally the sport in the Caribbean is struggling” Christopher stated.
Guyana dominated in Barbados to win 10 gold medals and one silver medal and over the years several Guyanese have played significant roles in the development of boxing in St. Lucia with former Guyana National Coach Carl Franklyn and the late Cliff Anderson and Courtney Artherly conducting coaching stints.
This past May in Guyana, St. Lucia finished third among six nations in the Caribbean School Boys and Juniors Boxing Championships. The team, Coached by Guyanese born boxer Conrad ‘Hunt’ Fredericks and Captained by 19-year-old Nathan Ferrari, captured two gold medals, one silver and bronze medal. Ferrari secured a gold medal in the tournament’s featured fight on the last night.
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