Bartica leading the Sports Tourism charge
By Franklin Wilson
Director of Sports Christopher Jones has expressed immense satisfaction following the successful hosting of the historic and inaugural Bartica Cycling Challenge (BCC) on Saturday last, organised by the Guyana Cycling Federation (GCF) in partnership with the Bartica Town Council.
Over 60 of the nation’s best cyclists along with dozens of youths from the Bartica community combined to showcase their skills in a competitive atmosphere witnessed by hundreds of Barticians as well as others from Berbice, Linden and Georgetown.
A satisfying day was had by all with Jones, who also made the trek by speedboat ride lasting for just about one hour from Parika, to be a part of history. He said that both Mayor Marshall and President Burrowes ought to be commended for a well organised and put together event.
“In fact, the municipality of Bartica has taken on board the suggestion that has been made as it relates to sports for a number of years and that is sports tourism. We would have seen over 60 plus riders, their families and fans coming to Bartica and by virtue of that, the hotels, restaurants, taxi drivers, food houses and others all benefitting economically.”
Commending the initiative and investment that would have been made by the Town Council, Municipality, Business Community and the GCF, Jones stated that it’s a great start moving into the direction in which they would like to see sports moving.
“The municipality of Bartica as well as cycling via president Burrowes has taken that lead.”
DoS Jones took the opportunity to interact with residents along the route which was strategically mapped out to ensure community involvement. He shared that they are already looking forward to the next event.
“They are already looking forward to the next event with a view of putting even greater arrangements in place to accommodate the influx of people that are coming to the municipality. There is even a request that we should probably have another one before this year is concluded as well, this is the direction in which sports has to go.”
He reasoned that the municipalities, Neighbourhood Democratic Councils and Regional Democratic Councils have to take sports in their respective areas seriously.
“It boosts tourism, it gets your young people engaged in sports activities, it gets your community engaged in activities and it all feeds into the government’s thrust for bringing about social cohesion.
You see out here in Bartica, there was not just Barticians or Guyanese participating in a race, you saw persons of different ethnicities running with a bottle of water to feed a cyclist of a different ethnicity, it didn’t matter to them; all they knew is that they were participating in something exciting, something that they were happy to be a part of and that is social cohesion.”
Jones noted that he is hopeful that the other Municipalities, NDC’s and RDC’s take note of what the Municipality of Bartica has accomplished, what the GCF has done and seek to develop their respective areas from a sports perspective also.
Dozens of the senior citizens of Bartica also came out to be a part of the action with many spending the entire day to soak in all the action; this did not escape the eyes of Jones who said it was great to see that.
“It tells you that in many communities people are longing for sports activities, there was an elderly woman who came out on the road and she was clapping and cheering along. We talk about the importance of sports in terms of lending to health; a body in motion stays in motion and these are activities that the elderly loves to be a part of; it helps them health wise and this too is why it should be taken on board by the other communities.”
The DoS stated that any other Municipality that takes up the challenge to follow suit, the National Sports Commission would be on board to assist.
“It doesn’t necessarily have to only be cycling, it could be any sports discipline of which you bring other regions into your domain and have competition taking place.”
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