Upon the conclusion of the Terrence Alli National Open, the Guyana Amateur Boxing Association (GABA) named a team of 3- odd boxers (inclusive of standby pugilists) who would compete at the 2019 Caribbean Boxing Championships.
A hopeful GABA sought sponsorship from the National Sports Commission – among others – in order to send at least 20 boxers to the twin-island republic of Trinidad and Tobago.
On the eve of the boxing championships, for which Guyana are the reigning champions, Guyana Times Sport spoke exclusively with GABA President Steve Ninvalle, who disclosed that only 13 pugilists, along with three officials, would be making the trip today.
As was previously reported by this publication, the GABA’s request of $3 million to jet off its 20 boxers was met with the release of $500,000. As such, the Association was forced to seek sponsorship from various other avenues.
“We’ve had persons who have come forward and assisted greatly. A lot of persons came out and we’re thankful to them,” the GABA President stated while expressing his gratitude to those benevolent persons.
With the cloud of an insufficient number of boxers hanging over his head, Ninvalle expressed doubt about Guyana’s ability to retain the title, especially if they have to come up against large contingents from fellow Caribbean countries.
“I don’t know if that amount will be enough for us to retain that title. Little Barbados has, I think, 17 boxers going,” he said.
When questioned about the team’s fitness, the GABA boss shared that the only area where the team may be affected was mentally, given the uncertainty surrounding participation.
“The uncertainty may have had a psychological effect on some members of the team,” he said.
Nevertheless, Ninvalle was optimistic about the Guyanese pugilists’ ability to shine individually when they get into the ring.
“Hopefully, they can return with gold medals, whether or not we retain the championships. I think now what is our main focus is these guys going out there and doing the best that they can,” Ninvalle shared.
Going forward, it is Ninvalle’s hope that specific procedures can be outlined so as to prevent any other funding disappointments.
“From my perspective there’s a serious imbalance. I’m not trying to pinch anyone, but if we have a clear picture as to how things are done, then it puts us in a better position to get our stuff right too.”
The Caribbean Boxing championships are expected to run from December 4 (today) to December 9 at the Southern Regional Indoor Sports Arena, Pleasantville, San Fernando, Trinidad and Tobago. (Jemima Holmes)