If Mr. Affeeze Khan, recently re-elected president of the Guyana Amateur Boxing Association (GABA) is to be believed in that there have been threats to his life and that he fears for the well-being of his family then that is indeed a frightening development for sport in this country.
Sport is not war. It is about friendly yet oftentimes fierce rivalry. It is about the triumph of skill and brains not brawn, and the use of force and threats.
Participation in sport is a wonderful thing. There is no more glorious sight in the world than watching a professional sportsman/woman at the height of their prowess.
Athletes such as Muhammad Ali, Pele, Michael Jordan, Pete Sampras, Tiger Woods, Sir Donald Bradman, Sir Garry Sobers, Brian Lara and Jesse Owens to name a few have exemplified all that is the best in sport.
Their performances on the field of sport have given viewers endless enjoyment and enabled the media to showcase their performances to eager audiences worldwide.
And behind all these famous athletes have been associations/sporting bodies with their own rules and regulations that govern the sporting disciplines.
One knows fully well that to be the head of an association is to be powerful person with money, equipment and such like at one’s disposal.
This is why sometimes association presidents occupy those positions for lengthy periods. And now it seems as if persons will go to any length to become elected.
Recently there has surfaced a trend where people who contest positions on sporting associations are being threatened which has given the sporting arena in Guyana a black eye.
This newspaper has learnt that after the recent Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) elections that a member of the current executive was told that his life was in danger.
The GCB election was keenly contested but one of the most heartwarming scenes was a photograph published in this newspaper where the vanquished Bish Panday, went across to the victor Chetram Singh and congratulated him.
This is how it should be. There should be no rancour, no ill will after a defeat just good sportsmanship which, in this case, means accepting defeat graciously.
It will be interesting to know what will be the reaction of the Minister of Sports Dr. Frank Anthony to this development and certainly Mr. Steve Ninvalle, the challenger, who was defeated by Mr. Khan by a mere one vote, should immediately move to disassociate himself from this development.
While there is no evidence to suggest that the threats came from Mr. Ninvalle’s supporters or that Mr. Ninvalle himself had any hand in it, and though we believe that Mr. Ninvalle had no knowledge of it, we believe that at this point he should denounce the attacks on Mr. Khan.
And, Mr. Ninvalle, if he has not done so, should immediately offer his congratulations to Mr. Khan and offer to work along with the GABA in his capacity as parliamentary secretary in the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport.
This reaction of threatening and abusive behavior appears to be a microcosm of what occurs at general elections when party supporters react to defeat at the polls in a number of ways.
One can vividly recall the looting and mayhem that took place in 1992 when the PNC/R lost the general elections after 28 years in power.
Stores were burnt and those with glass windows had those windows shattered and televisions and other such luxury items were removed.
That day, October 5, 1992 was a black day for the return to democracy in Guyana; Wednesday February 11 was a black day for sport in Guyana.
Steps should now be taken to prevent a re-occurrence and also to prevent this ugly situation from getting out of hand.
Perhaps it is time that there are rules/guidelines concerning the running off of annual general meetings and in light of what has transpired it just might be necessary to have police officers present at future meetings.
The ball here is with the GOA, the NSC and the associations.
And on another note the ugly situation that occurred in the National Park on Saturday where a cyclist prevented the main event from starting should be laid squarely at the feet of the Guyana Cycling Federation (GCF).
Simply put, the GCF seems incapable of upholding its own rules and regulations.
It should be interesting to see what steps the GCF will take to deal with Jude Bentley, who has once more brought the sport of cycling into disrepute.
The GCF seems to have handled the ban and subsequent fine it imposed on Bentley rather badly and it is obvious that there is still some degree of rancour remaining.
While Bentley might have a case that the GCF failed to accept the fine which he was prepared to pay, after serving out his one year ban, there is simply no way he can decide to take matters into his own hands and prevent a race from taking part.
This continued breakdown of persons adhering to the rules and regulations of sport in our society can escalate if it is not nipped in the bud.
The ball in this case, is with the GCF.