— Leonora Secondary leading way in expansion of golf
In every misfortune there’s a silver lining, and in this case, the Guyana Golf Association is capitalising on the fact that golf is among the few fully COVID-19 guidelines-compliant activities to grow the game across Guyana.
From the Essequibo Coast to the easternmost recesses of the Ancient County of East Berbice, and from Linden to Georgetown and the communities in between, golf is the topic of conversation in a surprising turnaround, as this sport was once viewed as “only for the ‘big shots’.” But with easy and extremely affordable access being provided by the Guyana Golf Association, hundreds of new players are now attracted to the sport.
This reaction is evident from the various Regional Education Officers, Head Teachers, Ministry of Education, and Regional Leadership around the country, but especially so in Region 3, where massive planned development is underway, as indicated by President Dr. Irfaan Ali recently as he unveiled plans for the new mall, highways, and gas-to-shore facilities.
Leonora Secondary School is leading the way in the expansion of the game behind the strong support of REDO Annesta Douglas, Head Mistress Gittens, all of the teachers, PTA president, and members of the RDC, all of whom are actively involved in creating the facilities for the children (and parents) to play the game.
“This is a dream come true for our region, and I am extremely happy that we are in a position to offer a sport that would promote discipline, outdoor physical activities, and mental toughness, especially during the pandemic,” said Douglas.
“West Coast Demerara is the new growth area, and this will bring attention to our region and provide meaningful activity for our families, and I am happy to throw my support behind this wonderful effort.”
At the official launch of the schools pilot programme on Friday, the REDO and Head Mistress faced off in a putting contest, to the delight of the school assembly and teachers who were present to also say farewell to Miss Letoya, a 15-year veteran who was recently promoted. In the keenly contested putting match (4 playoffs), Ms. Gittens delivered the winning putt for her school.
“The total feeling of excitement, accomplishment and focus is unlike anything you have ever experienced, and I am very pleased to be the first school in Region 3 to have this wonderful opportunity!” said the Head Mistress as she praised the receptive attitude of her Deputy HM, staff and students.
In launching the programme, Nicholas Fraser of the Ministry of Education’s Allied Arts Unit said the unwavering support of the Ministry of Education and his department head, Ms Barker-King, made the programme possible, and the focus on golf, because it fully complies with COVID-19 guidelines, is a blessing in disguise for students, who had been deprived of physical activity.
President of the Guyana Golf Association, Aleem Hussain, explained that development of the sport is the most important thing at the moment, and he thanked all involved for their support.
“As the force behind the development of the game in Guyana, we are focused on guiding our partners on the manner in which they can use their dormant facilities to benefit our kids. The GGA does not own or operate facilities, but simply provides access to training, equipment and competitions for participants,” he said.
With Copa Airlines, Assuria General Insurance, Nexgen Global Marketing Services, Macorp, AR Printery, the Shafura Hussain Foundation, and many other corporate supporters on board, the GGA feels that golf can, and will, become one of the prominent sports in the country in the coming months.
With close to 1,000 new players in less than a year, a 900% increase, it certainly seems that they are on the way to making that a reality.
In addition, Copa Airlines will continue its HOLE-in-ONE challenge around the country, holding events in Linden, Essequibo, Berbice and Leonora.