“I believe in you!”- Sport Minister tells youngsters as Basketball Nursery tips off
By Avenash Ramzan
“I’m convinced more than ever that the partnership is stronger now in sport than it’s ever been, and I’m also optimistic about the results that can be achieved based on that partnership.”
“I believe in it! And I believe in you!”
The utterances of Sport Minister Charles Ramson Jr. were met with resounding applause at the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall on Saturday when the Ministry launched the Basketball Nursery, which attracted a massive turnout of youngsters, all eager to be edified on the fundamentals of the sport.
Basketball, one of the 12 core sport identified for strategic development through the Ministry’s Sport Academy Programme, is the sixth discipline to have its Nursery launched.
Delivering feature remarks, Ramson Jr. spoke glowingly of the partnership approach being undertaken by his Ministry, working in tandem with the Associations to facilitate a pathway for growth and development.
This posture has also been adopted in Basketball, as the Ministry and the National Sports Commission have been communicating on the advancement of the game with the Guyana Amateur Basketball Federation (GABF) and its affiliates.
Ramson Jr. said the ultimate aim of the Nursery is to start the process of producing world-class athletes, an undertaking that will help to finesse the large pool of talent that exists.
“And that is something we’ve set ambitious goals for, and we’re determined to meet them,” the Minister declared.
“That is why it is important we lock our arms on this and we see this become ultimately successful.”
The Minister said it is important every stakeholder play his/her role in shaping the next generation of athletes, as he called for a collective approach from all concerned with the development of the sport.
“Every one of you- the coaches, the administrators, the National Sports Commission, myself- they (the youngsters) believe in us. They want to believe in our future, in the future we all share. Collectively, it is our future, and we cannot fail them,” Ramson Jr. told the gathering.
In terms of facilities to bolster the Academy programme, the Minister highlighted that Basketball courts with “high-quality rings” are being developed in Buxton, Ithaca, Queenstown (Essequibo) and the National Track and Field Centre at Leonora among other areas.
“High-quality rings that will be durable in Community Centres that I just identified, will be installed within the next three to four months,” Ramson Jr. stated.
The equipment are expected in Guyana shortly and will be delivered to the Federation to “widen the reach of our Academy.”
“What you can be assured of is that never in the history of this country would you have had this kind of investment being placed into sport, and never in the history of this country has the investment being made into Basketball,” the Minister pointed out.
President of the GABF, Michael Singh, said the Academy will take a decentralised approach, touching areas such as Georgetown, Linden, Berbice and Bartica.
Importantly, Singh pointed out, the Coaches Association will be the body spearheading the Nursery on behalf of the Federation.
“Not only will we be conducting a Basketball Nursery, but we’re also empowering Level One and potential Level One coaches and persons to be certified in a structured way,” Singh highlighted.
“Gone will be the days when anybody can call themselves a coach; you have to get certification.”
Singh said the fraternity welcomes the long-term funded and structured approach being undertaken by the Ministry to push the 12 core sports to another level.
‘Failure not part of our lexicon’
Director of Sport Steve Ninvalle said the National Sport Academy Programme started out as a concept and later became a promise that has been kept by the government.
“This only came about because of the fact that it is being backed by some tenacious minds, who are determined to make sure that failure would not be a part of our lexicon,” Ninvalle declared.
The Director highlighted that while the current focus is on the Nursery, the other two pillars of the Sport Academy Programme- Tournaments and Elite Training- would soon be put into motion.
“If this is not to say that we’re going places, then nothing else will,” Ninvalle concluded.
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.