Historic Sport Conference paves way for Elite Training Academy

- Core sports to get $12M annually for tournaments


The engaging discussions at the first-ever Guyana Sport Conference hosted by the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport at the National Cultural Centre on Saturday have given immense clarity to what the structure and aim of the Sport Academy – the brainchild of subject Minister Charles Ramson Jr.– will be when officially implemented in the coming weeks.

Minister Ramson Jr. described the event, which will become a yearly fixture, as fulfilling, given it presented a platform for the administrators of the 12 core sports to engage others and learn from the successes, failures and critical matters regarding policies.

The core sports currently identified by the Ministry are: Badminton, Basketball, Cricket, Squash, Table Tennis, Rugby, Volleyball, Swimming, Football, Squash, Lawn Tennis and Track and Field.

Minister Ramson Jr. clarified that these were just the initial disciplines chosen and going forward, others will be added or subtracted based on needs and facilities.

Sport Minister Charles Ramson Jr. with members of the various panels (Photo: Emmerson Campbell)

The Minister explained that the three pillars of the Sports Academy are a Nursery, Tournaments, and Elite Training Academy.

The nursery will focus on athletes aged 12 to 25 and the Ministry or the National Sports Commission (NSC) will provide facilities and employ coaches/organisers and assign them to the core sports.

Additionally, the training programme is designed in a “native way”, but using best practices of the associations’ parent bodies.

The Academy will “focus strictly on talent development” and it will do so through the National Sports Commission (NSC) in collaboration with the 12 core sports.

“The NSC will earmark $12 million every year where the 12 core sports get at least $1 million each just to do local tournaments,” the Minister stated.

He added that when the Associations/Federations are planning their yearly activities they “will know the money is there as a basis to do tournaments.”

Ramson Jr. clarified that some tournaments will get more money because of the wider reach or higher cost to run the tournament. A prerequisite will be a national final, which will be broadcast on the Ministry’s Facebook page.

Sport Minister Charles Ramson Jr. addressing the gathering on Saturday

Finessing talent

Out of these tournaments, the “above average performers” will be placed into camps and the athletes will be paid stipends for the duration of the encampment.

Minister Ramson indicated the Elite Training Programme has to be done in partnership with the parent body of the Association so they can also train the coaches or look overseas for coaching development programmes/opportunities.

“While they are in there [encampment], what they [athletes] do is only that sport, but what they focus on is the finessing of their talent in playing the sport.”

In assisting such, Ramson Jr. noted that with the implementation of more technology over time, they can do more in-depth work on biomechanics and develop the Training Academy into a modern system.

“If you don’t have a system that is designed to produce Elite Athletes, the chances of you developing successful outcomes or successful athletes where they are competitive at the international level, it is far more reduced.”

The Guyana Sports Conference took the form of closed door panel discussions, involving representatives of the 12 core sports.

The discussions were led by Sport Journalists Akeem Greene and Avenash Ramzan of the News Room, Rawle Toney of NCN/Guyana Chronicle and Franklin Wilson of Kaieteur News, with the specific areas of focus being Governance, Nurturing Talent, Mindset, Revenue, Sponsorship, Media, Nutrition, Injuries, Psychology, Tournaments, Elite Training and International Competition.

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