Sport Minister: Elite Training Programmes necessary to push athletes to next level

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While acknowledging that facilities are important, Sport Minister Charles Ramson Jr. says elite training programmes are necessary to push athletes to the next level.

Responding to a question posed by Opposition MP Jermaine Figueira during the consideration of the budget estimates about whether provisions have been made for training for coaches, Ramson Jr. said: “The simple answer to the question is yes. But the question is how.”

The Minister pointed out that coaching is just one aspect of developing talent. He went on to explain the administration’s approach to drive the process of development in this area.

“When you’re competing in sport you’re not just competing in your village or your town or your community, you’re competing against the world. Sport is a business; it’s not just a pastime,” Ramson Jr. said.

“We have a lot of talent here in Guyana. We have to drive the development of talent by the science of developing talent. That’s why when I started out I said that tournaments are going to be an integral part of the process of widening the pool so that we can get more people participating in competitive sport. So that’s the starting point.”

“Second, when you are able to identify talent coming out of those tournaments you then gear them up into the Elite programmes. The Elite programmes, then is where you see the engagement of the facilities, the real kind of world-class, higher level kind of facilities. But the facilities alone and the access to the facilities alone that doesn’t help to take your talent from whether it’s a good or above average into the level of great.”

A structured and functioning programme is then needed, one that involves coaching, the minister pointed out. Addressing the Parliament this week, Ramson Jr. said he has already engaged with the Ambassadors for China, India, The United Kingdom and Cuba for bilateral coaching exchanges to aid in this regard.

“What we’ve started to do is discuss how do we get coaches from there into Guyana and how do we get our coaches trained on their programmes, so that when they come here, their coaches come here and our coaches go there, get trained and come back they then participate and implement the Elite Training Programmes that can take their game up to the next level.”

“The jump between being a good talent and a great talent is huge, and the market, the sport market, which operates as I said as a business, they don’t reward just good talent, they reward the great talent and they are competing on a global basis.”

The government has plans to build multi-purpose facilities at the Anna Regina Community Centre (Region Two), the Albion Sports Complex (Region Six) and the Mackenzie Sports Club (Region 10), to complement the existing infrastructure across the country.

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