15th Diamond Mineral Water Indoor Hockey Festival gets underway tonight
By Avenash Ramzan
A journey that started in 2004 is set to continue this evening (November 27) when the 15th annual Diamond Mineral Water International Indoor Hockey Festival gets underway at the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall.
Titled-sponsored by Demerara Distillers Limited with category sponsorship from ExxonMobil and ANSA McAl Trading, the five-day tournament will conclude on Sunday with the semi-finals and finals of the Open Men, Open Women and Over-35 divisions.
Six teams- Pepsi Hikers, YMCA Old Fort, Bounty GCC and Saints of Guyana and Queen’s Park Hockey Club and Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force of Trinidad and Tobago- will battle for the Open Men’s title, while the Open Women would be contested by GBTI GCC Tigers, YMCA Old Fort, Saints and GBTI GCC Spartans of Guyana and George United of Trinidad and Tobago.
YMCA Old Fort, Bounty GCC Vintage and Antonio’s Hickers will represent Guyana in the Over-35, as they face competition from Queen’s Park Hockey Club and Fatima of Trinidad and Tobago.
President of the Guyana Hockey Board and Coordinator of the tournament, Philip Fernandes, said officiating will be a key competent of this year’s event, with the experienced Susan Gomes of Trinidad and Tobago performing the role of Umpires Manager.
“Local officiating will also be strengthened with the addition of two well-respected Trinidadian umpires, Kevin George and Jordan Reynos. The tournament will be held at the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall with the plastic tile surface that is the best we have ever had for indoor hockey. We are thankful to the Ministry of Sport and our Director of Sport, Mr. Christopher Jones for accommodating us once again in making this fantastic facility available for the festival,” Fernandes said at the launch on Wednesday morning.
“Cash prizes and trophies will be awarded to the winners and runners-up in the male and female and veteran categories. The winning teams in both male and female tournaments will each receive US$1,000, while the runners-up will cart off US$500. The winner of the veteran tournament will receive US$500 with the second place teams receiving incentive prizes.”
Fernandes expressed gratitude to the three companies for sticking with the tournament over the years. Demerara Distillers Limited is the tournament’s Platinum sponsor, ExxonMobil the Gold sponsor and ANSA McAl Trading the Silver sponsor.
“These fine companies have stuck with us through the years and trusted us to deliver year after year, building this event and the profile of hockey in Guyana,” Fernandes said.
Larry Wills- Demerara Distillers Limited: “This has been 15 great years for Diamond Mineral Water as title sponsor. We’re very happy to be onboard; we continue to show the support that’s necessary for the development of sports in Guyana and hockey more specifically. This is something the teams can look forward to in the coming years; there is no letting up from us at this moment. We want to see our sportsmen and women develop and be the best they can be.”
Nicholas Yearwood- ExxonMobil: “ExxonMobil is very committed to being a good community partner and investor in the development of youth through sports. We are going to continue evaluating opportunities for partnerships. We just want to wish the teams best of luck and a successful tournament to the organisers.”
Treiston Joseph- ANSA McAl Trading: “We definitely think it (the tournament) is an integral part of hockey development in Guyana, and of course Lucozade is the perfect brand to be aligned with Diamond Mineral Water to further progress this level of development. We are very enthused and proud to be a part of this tournament.”