By Treiston Joseph
Youth Basketball Guyana (YBG) on Thursday launched its 12th edition of the National School Basketball Festival at the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall, and will tip off action later this month with the regional conferences. Schools everywhere will begin their journey to the national championships, set for July, through the regional conference, which will tip off on March 31.
Arguably one of the most coveted school titles in Guyana, the National Basketball Festival has become one of the most anticipated events on the school calendar. At the launching, Director of YBG, Chris Bowman, expressed that the event has had its own share of challenges over the years, but thanked the major stakeholders, including the Beharry Group of Companies, the Ministry of Education, the National Sports Commission and the Guyana Amateur Basketball Federation.
“We are extremely grateful to host this event for the 12th year in a row and it has been hardwork; we started with one sponsor and because of Digicel, Banks DIH and Beharry Group of Companies, we have grown into the tournament you see today that spans several districts and touches over 600 students,” Bowman stated.
He continued, “Regrettably, Banks and Digicel because of internal issues cannot be onboard with us this year, but it is also because of their commitment we are here today including that of Beharry who has been onboard with us for nine consecutive years… finally, I really just want to thank everyone who has been involved with us and helping us build our programme.”
Brands Manager in Training of Beharry Group of Companies, Monique Tiwari, noted that Beharry Group of Companies will continue to support the event, highlighting that the top company is “proud” of the achievements of YBG. Vice-president of the Guyana Amateur Basketball Federation, Kenrick Thomas, shared that the federation is more than willing to continue working with the YBG in the development of youth basketball.
He also thanked the sponsors for their continued support of the event, which has really made its mark in Guyana. Meanwhile, Director of Sport, Christopher Jones, was pleased to be a part of the event, pinpointing that the pulling out of Digicel and Banks DIH lends to the agenda that the National Sports Commission has been pushing to the Ministry of Finance where businesses can receive tax wavers and/or exemptions once they play a role in sport.
Nevertheless, Jones committed that the National Sports Commission will try to fill the gap where necessary. Ministry of Education representative, Nicholas Fraser, was pleased to see the growth of the event and noted that the Ministry is in full support of the YBG programme.
There will be four regional conferences, namely New Amsterdam, Corentyne, Region 10 and Georgetown combined with East Coast and East Bank. Action is set to tip off on March 31 at Cliff Anderson Sports Hall from 15:00h.