Aug 11, 2022 Sports
Labelling the Winfield Braithwaite Caribbean School Boys and Junior tournament as the most important within the Caricom jurisdiction, Steve Ninvalle, President of the Guyana Boxing Association, and architect of the event, disclosed that the prestigious championship will now be staged from August 26th-28th at the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall, Homestretch Avenue.
Ninvalle disclosed that the competition, named after Guyana’s 1978 Commonwealth Games gold medalist, has been rescheduled from its initial period of August 19th-21st in order to allow participating countries to meet Guyana’s Covid19 entry requirements.
“This will be the 5th edition of the Caribbean School Boys and Junior tournament. It was scheduled for August 19th-21st but we had to push it back by one week because we are trying to make sure that the overseas participants can meet Guyana’s Covid-19 entry requirements. We have confirmation from Trinidad, the Bahamas and St. Lucia and we expect Saint Maarten and Grenada also to be a part,” Ninvalle informed.
He further added that, “It is one of the most if not most important competition that the Caribbean will have, simply because of the fact that it is tailored, points to, and is aimed at developing the nursery of the sport. The nursery of course is your most important.”
The GBA has shortlisted 30 young fighters for the regional championship, with possible national representatives emerging from Vergenoegen Boxing Gym, Young Achievers, the Forgotten Youth Foundation, Pace and Power and the Rose Hall Jammers Boxing Gym.
Vergenoegen will be represented by Glaston Winter, Jemuel Jones, Keyon Britton, Markel Blue, Garvel Hyman and Jevon Anthony, while the Pace and Power Boxing Gym participants are Stephon Clarence and Tofina Barker.
Similarly, Young Achievers representation will come in the form of Ceafa Chris, Ezekiel Bancroft, Shamaria Isaacs, Kendel Domonic and Eon Bancroft Jr, with Forgotten Youth Foundation being represented by the likes of Tequan Sampson, Chance Niles, Shaquian James, Josiah McPherson, Seon Graham, Dwane Baptiste, and Yusdiel Gala.
Rose Hall Jammers participation will occur in the form of Roopesh Balgobin, Jadon Lewis, Isaiah Nurse, Shawn Sabola, Travis Sancho, Matthew Thomas, Joshua Thambarain, Arlington Johnson, Jahuan Haniff and Akhan English.
In preparation for the upcoming event Ninvalle had implemented a system whereby there was an Under-16 competition held every two weeks. The GBA has also contracted Cuban coach Francisco Roldan to assist in whipping the squad into shape.
The coaches and instructors helping the youngsters are: Lennox Daniels, Francisco Roldan, Selbert Blake, Gregory Cort and Clifton Moore.
“The coaching staff will soon select the national team which will go into encampment. It is a very exciting time regardless of how many overseas participants we get. It’s an exciting time for boxing because the nurseries have been injected with some vigor, vitality and some much needed international competition. Trinidad and Tobago is slated to send the largest overseas contingent, they have nine and they will be followed by the Bahamas. Once we get all the Covid-19 entry requirements met, then we are off to have a very good tournament for want of better words. It is a much needed international competition for the Caribbean.”
According to the GBA boss, the importance of the championship cannot be overstated, as it provides an avenue, and opportunity for Caribbean territories to assess the quality of their respective nurseries.
He made clear, “It’s the only of its kind. This nursery tournament in Caricom was first held in Guyana in 2016. The Caribbean had no way of assessing where its nursery was. We (The Caribbean) didn’t have any U-16, school boy or junior tournaments. So what was happening was that all of our Caribbean countries were having their nurseries operate in silos, individually, and there was no way of assessing where each contry was as it relates to another nation. So we thought it fit to do that, we took a break in 2020 and 2021 because of Covid-19 and now we are back even though, in my personal opinion, some were hoping that it wouldn’t return and will not support. ”
Ninvalle assured that the tournament will and must go on. “We are pushing ahead with it regardless because Guyana sees the nursery of our sport of boxing as very important. That opinion is shared by one of closest partners in Trinidad and Tobago and several others. Mr. Cecil Forde (president of Trinidad and Tobago Boxing Association), Mr. David Christopher (president of the St Lucia Boxing Association), Vincent Strachan (president of the Bahamas Boxing Association and several other presidents in the Caribbean understand this. We cannot afford to let this die, or, we would be doing a great disservice to the sport and those who elected us. If you don’t have a strong and structured nursery then how are we are going to get good senior fighters,” Ninvalle asked.
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