By Avenash Ramzan
The Guyana Darts Association (GDA) is aiming big with the hosting of an Independence International tournament set for the weekend of May 26-28.
The tournament, the first major event under the new presidency of Sheik Yassin, is being touted as a precursor to fulfilling greater aspirations that the Association has, key among them the hosting of the Caribbean championship in 2020.
The three-day extravaganza will feature top players from Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago, while participation from Barbados, Jamaica and Brazil is yet to be confirmed.
The Millennium Manor Hotel on Hadfield Street in Georgetown has been earmarked as the venue for the showdown, with the Luck of the Draw taking centre stage on the opening day, followed by the Mixed Nations Doubles on day two and the Male and Female Singles on the final day.
The Luck of the Draw is open to practically anyone who believes he/she has the ability to play the game, while the Mixed Nations Doubles will see a local player being paired with one from overseas.
The Male and Female Singles is the major attraction of the weekend, with reigning Caribbean Singles champion Sudesh Fitzgerald being the host nation’s marquee player. Luis Ramirez- Merlano, who teamed up with Fitzgerald to win the Caribbean Doubles title last year in Barbados, will also be on show for Guyana.
Other players who are expected to defend home turf in the Male division are Lalchand Rambharose, Anil Lachhman, Sherwin Greene, Anthony Bissoondyal and Bholanauth Ramdyal, while on the distaff side, Guyana will be represented by Rosetta Hiralall, Shondell Hyles, Hemwantie Amyan, Victorine Chandro and Melissa Smartt among others.
Meanwhile, President Yassin pointed out on Thursday that planning for the tournament has been a major bugbear, especially with regards to corporate support. From his interaction with potential sponsors, Yassin, who was only elected to the post six weeks ago, indicated that many of the belief that Darts is dormant in Guyana.
He used Thursday’s official launch of the tournament to highlight that Darts is being played every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at the Malteenoes Sports Club in Georgetown. Yassin revealed that the ultimate aim is to have a home for the sport, which will help to better streamline and promote the game.
He further stated that the Independence International forms part of a packed agenda of the GDA for 2017, with the next major event being the National Championship in October.
The Independence International will start at 18:00h on the first two days and at noon on the final day. Over US$3,000 in cash would be up for grabs.
Over 40 local players will be competing, while 15 have been confirmed from Trinidad and Tobago. To date, Millennium Manor Hotel, Roosters Bottled Coconut Water and R. Ganesh Mining Enterprise are the corporate partners onboard for the tournament.