The National Sports Commission (NSC) yesterday supported the Guyana Boxing Association (GBA) to the tune of $2.5M in order to have an eight-man team participate in the Olympic Qualifiers scheduled for Argentina next month.
The NSC leapt into action after it was revealed that the GBA had missed a February 24th deadline to pay for accommodation and meals for the team. Initially, the request to Government for support received a negative response, while, according to GBA head Steve Ninvalle, the Guyana Olympic Association (GOA) had pledged US$5,000 to assist in airfares.
Director of the NSC, Chris Jones, during the handing over ceremony yesterday morning at the body’s secretariat, explained that a lack of budget forced the NSC to initially turn down the GBA’s request for support.
However, after consultations with his board members, a decision was taken to ensure that the young pugilists who will be representing the Golden Arrowhead will not be distracted with the difficulties and financial assistance would’ve been rendered.
Jones said he was puzzled as to how other Caribbean National Olympic Associations (NOCs) were able to fully fund their boxing team but the GOA was unable to. According to Jones, this was another reason why the NSC board voted to render assistance.
Ninvalle thanked the NSC and by extension the Government of Guyana for their contribution while calling for a structured approach towards funding of sport disciplines. “On behalf of the executive of the association I would like to thank the National Sports Commission for this donation even though it is at the eleventh hour. As the saying goes, it’s better late than never,” Ninvalle said.
“There always seem to be an eleventh hour rescue mission and at times it may lead one to assume that they are created emergencies. I think the time has come for a different approach towards funding of sports in Guyana. They are certain sports disciplines that have been constantly been doing well and it is my belief that those disciplines should be given priority. You should not put marbles or chink about on the same platform with hockey or football,” Ninvalle posited.
The GBA president added that ‘eleventh hour’ rescue missions have negative impact on athletes. Both the Guyana Olympic Association and the NSC combined to send four boxers for a three-month preparation stint in Cuba. The four boxers will form the core of Team Guyana.
Ninvalle disclosed that the GOA’s pledge of US$5000 has been increased to approximately US$$12,500 which will cover the accommodation and meal costs for the team in Argentina. Airfare is now pegged at US$2,000 per person.
Although Guyana has missed the deadline of February 24th to pay for their accommodation, the GBA President said that the GOA was up to yesterday working to pay the full amount. The boxers currently in Cuba for the three-month training are Guyana Defence Force’s pair of Colin Lewis (Captain) and Desmond Amsterdam, Policeman Dennis Thomas and Forgotten Youths Foundation’s (FYF) KeevinAllicock are expected back in Guyana on March 21stbefore departing for Argentina on March 23rd. They will be joined by Canada-based Taveena Kum and coaches Terrence Poole M.S., Sebert Blake and Francisco Roldan. (Calvin Chapman)
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