Medals the ultimate aim, but development key at SA Youth Games
By Avenash Ramzan
While the ultimate aim is to secure medals at the third South American Youth Games in Rosario, Argentina, the key for the Guyana Olympic Association (GOA) is for athletes to progress from their current status in this critical stage of their development.
The Games are billed for April 28 to May 8 and Guyana will be represented in five disciplines- Badminton, Basketball, Boxing, Swimming and Table Tennis.
GOA Vice-president Godfrey Munroe, moments after announcing the travelling contingent at a press conference on Saturday, declared: “I think it is a great opportunity for our young Olympic prospects to be engaged, so at the Olympic Association we’re quite happy to have this good nucleus of athletes participate in these Games.”
“Being pragmatic, we understand where our athletes lie and where the competition is. As most of the coaches outlined, the region is a tough one. Medals prospects are always welcome, but we would like to see good performances in terms of Personal Bests and those athletes giving of their best.”
Munroe also indicated that it is important the athletes display good attitude and discipline, as “these are pillars to build on.”
More than 2,000 athletes between ages 14 and 18, representing the 15 countries of the South American Sports Organisation, will compete in 26 disciplines, the vast majority of them featured in the Olympic programme.
Guyana will be represented at the Games by:
Badminton: Matthew Beharry. Jonathan Mangra is the Coach
Basketball (3×3): Anthony Kimol, Man-son-Hing Camelo, Arrindell Matthias and Travis Patrick Anthony Lewis. Junior Hercules is the Coach
Boxing: Travis Inverary. Sebert Blake is the Coach
Swimming: Leon Seaton, Paul Mahaica Jr., Vladimir Woodroffe, Patrice Mahaica, Ariel Rodrigues, Zara Cane. Paul Mahaica Snr. is the Coach
Table Tennis: Jasmine Billingy, Thuraia Thomas, Jonathan Van Lange and Kristian Sahadeo. Idi Lewis is the Coach
Munroe clarified that notifications were sent out to other GOA affiliates to submit athletes for the Games, but “these were the only responsive disciplines.”
Accompanying the athletes, parents and coaches would be Chef-de-Mission Nalini McKoy, GOA President K.A. Juman-Yassin and Secretary General (ag) Deion Nurse.
Treasurer of the GOA, Garfield Wiltshire, highlighted Eureka Labs for special praise for once again providing the PCR COVID-19 tests for the travelling contingent.
Jonathan Mangra (Badminton): “It will be very good for him to get some overseas experience. This will be his first tournament competing on the international stage. He will get great experience from this moving forward in his development.”
Sebert Blake (Boxing): “Travis will be competing in the 57-63kg category. Our intention is to get on the podium and we’re trying our best to get there. We’re in our final stage of preparation and I assure you he will give of his best and likely bring home that medal.”
Paul Mahaica Snr. (Swimming): “We have six talented swimmers who are going to make Guyana proud. They are training very hard for these Games and they are looking forward to swimming fast. These are the athletes that you would be seeing a lot because they’re swimming some excellent times and soon they will be bringing home medals.”
Idi Lewis (Table Tennis): “Preparation has been going pretty good. The players started preparation in their respective clubs and right now they’re under the Cuban high-performance coach (Osdani Romero Garcia). Outside of Jonathan, I think the other three players this is their first major Games and I know it’s going to be a great experience for them.”
*The basketball players nor coach was present at Saturday’s press conference.