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Home for hockey at discussion stage

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By Avenash Ramzan

A home for local hockey is in the pipeline, as the Guyana Hockey Board is in preliminary discussions with the relevant authorities to make such a facility a reality.

For decades, the sport of hockey has been utilising cricket grounds, as a secondary priority, the National Gymnasium on Mandela Avenue and the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall on Homestretch Avenue.

Over that time, the sport has emerged as one of the success stories of Guyana’s sporting landscape, medalling at high-level international competitions.

Despite its well documented success and the exceptional administration of the sport, hockey continues to linger on the list of disciplines without a home.

It is something current president of the Guyana Hockey Board, Philip Fernandes, is looking to rectify in the future, and according to reliable information reaching News Room Sport, discussions have started in this regard.

The Diamond Mineral Water International Indoor tournament is the marquee event on the hockey calendar
The Diamond Mineral Water International Indoor tournament is the marquee event on the hockey calendar

News Room Sport understands that the plot of land next to the National Gymnasium on Mandela Avenue has been identified for a possible artificial grass hockey pitch, similar to what is required for international competition.

A state-of-the-start facility would require a huge amount of financing, something the Guyana Hockey Board would not be able to provide on its own.

It would therefore require partnerships between the Board, the international Federation, the government of the day and corporate Guyana.

This is the model Fernandes has proposed in order to bring the project to reality, something he believes is very much needed if hockey in Guyana is to consistently progress.

Once the project comes to fruition, Guyana would be in a position to not just host prestigious international and regional competitions, but also afford local players the luxury of training on the same type of surface they would encounter overseas.

That has always been a bugbear, as almost all international competitions are hosted on artificial turf, which is not available in Guyana.

All that will change once the project gets the blessing and support of the key parties, but as it is now, a home for hockey is at its infancy stage.

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