Coronavirus: Disappointment for Guyanese boxers as IOC suspends qualifier

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The Guyana Boxing Association (GBA) has been informed by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Americas Boxing Confederation (AMBC) that the Americas Olympic Qualifier for boxing has been cancelled because of fear of spread of the coronavirus.

The Qualifier was scheduled for March 26 to April 4 in Buenos Aries, Argentina.

Guyana was scheduled to send a team of five boxers and three coaches to the tournament. GBA president Steve Ninvalle called the cancellation a major setback, but reasoned that it was done for the safety of all involved.

“We have already spent a hefty sum securing tickets and insurance for the boxers and coaches; those monies are not refundable. We had also timed preparation of four of the boxers to peak just before the Qualifier. We will now have to await information from the IOC regarding if there would be a rescheduling,” Ninvalle said.

“The spread of the coronavirus is a very serious issue and for that alone we accept without reservation the decision to cancel the tournament.”

With the support of the Guyana Olympic Association and the government, the GBA dispatched Keevin Allicock, Desmond Amsterdam, Colin Lewis and Dennis Thomas for a three-month training stint in Cuba.

Guyana Boxing Association President Steve Ninvalle

The stint is scheduled to conclude next week. They would have been joined by Canada-based Taveena Kum at the Qualifiers. The coaches were Terrence Poole, Sebert Blake and Cuban Francisco Roldan.

Ninvalle said that he has sent off a message informing the boxers and had called president of the GOA, K.A. Juman Yassin SC, AA to update him. Efforts to contact Director of Sport Christopher Jones proved futile, Ninvalle related.

Meanwhile, Ninvalle informed that in light of the recent cancellation, the GBA is planning an international card for early April.

“We have to make sure that at least the four from Cuba remain active. I am in discussion with Trinidad and hopefully by weekend we will have concrete information.”

The aim of the GBA is to have Guyanese boxers qualify for the Olympics for the first time since 1996 when John Douglas represented Guyana at the games.

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