Hockey Festival: Fernandes hoping for more overseas participation next season

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Following the conclusion of the 15th annual Diamond Mineral Water International Indoor Hockey Festival, which attracted teams from Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago, the Guyana Hockey Board is aiming for more overseas teams for the 2020 edition.

The five-day competition, which is the premier local hockey event, was played at the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall, concluding Sunday last with teams out of Trinidad and Tobago making a clean sweep of the three titles.

GHB president Philip Fernandes

Despite efforts to get more overseas participation, the organisers were only able to get a commitment from Trinidad and Tobago in 2019, making it a two-way battle with the local sides.

Coordinator of the tournament and president of the Guyana Hockey Board, Philip Fernandes, said efforts will be made to have the North American teams and more regional sides make the trip in 2020.

“This year we almost had teams from Canada and Barbados (but) they had to cancel their plans at the last minute for various reasons. I think next year we’re likely to see some North American flavour and hopefully some other regional flavour. We’ve been having some questions from Jamaica as well, so hopefully Jamaica, Barbados and some maybe North Americans (will be here next year),” Fernandes explained.

Reflecting on the 2019 tournament, Fernandes said the Trinidad and Tobago teams gave a good account of themselves, not only by carting off the titles, but by providing a stern test for the local players.

“Trinidad (teams) are regional powerhouses in indoor hockey. If ever you want one nation to come it will be Trinidad in terms of the indoor game. We’re always happy to have them. They push us on, they encourage our players to strive for the next level and I think that both countries are competitive enough that when they (Trinidad) come it makes for a good show,” Fernandes highlighted.

The tournament, sponsored by Demerara Distillers Limited, ANSA McAL Trading and ExxonMobil, concluded on Sunday evening with Queen’s Park Hockey Club winning the Diamond Mineral Water Men’s Open by beating Pepsi Hikers on a penalty shootout, George United topping the ExxonMobil Ladies Open by edging GBTI GCC Tigers 5-4 and Queen’s Park toppling Vintage GCC 11-8 in the Lucozade Veterans final.

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