National School Championships declared open by Minister Norton
By Treiston Joseph
For the next week, the future of Guyana’s sport will be on show at the premier junior event for athletics, swimming and cycling in the nation- the National School Championships.
On Sunday, the grand opening was held at the National Track and Field Centre, Leonora, where Minister of Social Cohesion with responsibility of Sport, Dr. George Norton, declared the 57th edition of the championships open.
During his speech, Dr. Norton highlighted the power of sport. “Sporting events play a major role in bringing Guyanese from all walks of life together. It is a powerful medium for social and economic change,” the former Athletics Association of Guyana Vice-President mentioned.
Dr. Norton, while sharing that sport plays a role in allowing a young person to function better as a student, also noted that the Government will be placing much more attention on sport by pinpointing the increased activity in facility development as well as provision for gears.
In addition, Dr. Norton noted it is with purpose that Government is keen on having sport as part of the school curriculum.
Minister of Education, Nicolette Henry, while sharing her belief that the Ministry’s increased effort to ensure physical education is a part of the curriculum correlates with the notion that “to produce mentally alert, energetic and healthy children, then they must be involved in sport and games,” ended with a quote from the late President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela.
“Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand. Sport can create hope where once there was only despair.”
Regional Executive Officer of Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara), Denis Jaikarran, and General Secretary of the Guyana Teacher’s Union (GTU), Coretta McDonald, also made brief remarks at the event before musical renditions by the West Demerara Secondary School Steel Orchestra and a physical display by the South Ruimveldt Secondary School.
The opening ceremony that began with the march past of all the districts then ended with the lighting of the games’ torch by current champions Upper Demerara/Kwakwani that featured the likes of World Championships Under-18 silver medallist Daniel Williams, Carifta gold medallist Chantoba Bright and South American Youth gold medallist Deshanna Skeete.
The Championships will continue on Monday (November 27) with swimming at the National Aquatic Centre and cycling at the National Park simultaneously from 09:00h before returning to Leonora for the remainder of the week for the staging of all track and field events.