President of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana, His Excellency David Granger, speaking on his weekly programme, Public Interest, on September 8, 2016, gave his view on the way forward for sports in the country.
“We can’t think of sports as elite, just have one aquatic centre, one stadium we have to think of it at the regional level so we get the best talent coming out.” the Head of State said.
With a plan to develop athletes that can compete on the world level the president indicated that there must be a plan to start at the roots level and move onward.
“If you are going to develop Olympic grade athletes, we need to start at the bottom, at the schools and in the communities,” Granger recommended.
He went on to highlight the historical nature of one of the more popular local sport, cricket saying that it was many years ago that we had a wide base for the selection as the sport was played on the sugar estates and at the small clubs.
On the other hand, mentioning sports such as swimming and field events, Granger stated that there needs to be more activities at the school level to broaden the bases.
In order to accomplish more in sports, the leader maintained a position that there needs to be a sports policy but to date, the policy is yet to be examined at cabinet level pointing out that it has to be massed based.
Reminiscing on his younger days, President Granger mentioned his experiences in the Upper Mazaruni distict where over a dozen villages participated in their summer sports.
“I always refer to my own experiences in the Upper Mazaruni where every year August we have about a dozen villages coming together on their own accord.” Adding, “This is not government, the government helps but it doesn’t sponsor or promote so they do a lot of sports on their own and I am very impressed with the standards they achieve. Unfortunately, they are so far away from Georgetown they don’t catch the eyes of selectors but that is the right attitude. I would like to relate that they relate to what we do in local government in terms of development of towns and we would see eventually each town having a sport centre.”
The President, holistically speaking, envisioned that “in any given year we will find we have the opportunity to bring sports persons from all ten regions to participate competitively.”
In his submission, Granger spoke of the fact that there is only one venue that could be up to par on a national level such as “one aquatic centre and one stadium” but rather we should look at sports on the regional level and in every district we could possibly see as a possible hosting venue to have the best talent coming out.
The President reiterated the fact that “much more has to be done in the schools cause that is where we have the mass of young people cause many people when they get older they don’t participate.”