By Floyd Christie
A record number of 32 teams from the top secondary and tertiary level educational institutions are scheduled to participate in this year’s National Schools Basketball Festival (NSBF) which will run from June 27 to July 5 at the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall.
Coordinator of the basketball festival, Chris Bowman made this announcement during the launching of the tournament at the CASH yesterday.
The festival is now in its fifth year and this is the highest number of participating teams to be involved in the rapidly developing tournament since its inception in 2006, nearly doubling the number of teams participating in the festival’s inauguration.
Also present at yesterday’s launching was Director of Sports, Neil Kumar, Communications Manager of Banks DIH Ltd.,Troy Peters, Digicel Public Relations Manager Shonnet Moore and organizer Ryan Boyce.
The NSBF has evolved into a national championship for the country’s top school teams. Bowman told the media at the press conference yesterday that.. “The event has become the benchmark for youth basketball in Guyana.”
He said that the tournament had become so reputable that the junior national basketball team that competes in the Inter-Guiana Games was comprised of players selected during the NSBF.
“We believe that the National Schools Basketball Festival is well positioned to foster change among young people,” Bowman said.
He also observed that because of such a high number of teams competing in what he refers to as “intense games” this year, the tournament “will demand a high level of organization and collaboration between stakeholders.”
The coordinator then acknowledged the contributions of the collaborating partners, especially the NSC, who according to Bowman, “deserve a lot of credit for this tournament.” He also recognized the contributions of the Ministry of Education which… “played a much greater role this year in facilitating this programme,” and the sponsors of the tournament.
Banks DIH has been collaborating and sponsoring the tournament since its inception and has once again established themselves as the major sponsor.
Speaking as a representative of Banks DIH, Peters pledged the company’s continued support.
Banks DIH will be promoting the Sprite and Coke Zero brand at the upcoming tournament.
Digicel also came on board again as a sponsor this year and Moore stated that the company sees the festival as an opportunity for young people to sharpen their basketball skills. She also noted that it was great to include youths from the rural communities.
Kumar also addressed the gathering and reiterated that they were expecting a very exciting and entertaining tournament.
“I want to assure the sponsors that they will get the adequate mileage and I would like the spectators to come and support the teams so we can look forward to a very packed festival,” Kumar said.
The tournament will begin with a march-past and opening ceremony on Sunday. The march-past is expected to be graced by the presence of Prime Minister Sam Hinds, the Minister of Education Shaikh Baksh, and the Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, Dr. Frank Anthony.