President of the Guyana Olympic Association (GOA) K Juman Yassin on Wednesday affirmed that the GOA has not received any funding from the Government of Guyana for the Commonwealth Games and the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games this year.
He was at the time briefing members of the media on Guyana’s performance at the recently-concluded XIX Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, India when he responded to the claims of Director of Sport Neil Kumar in his Sportsview column of October 17 in the Guyana Chronicle.
Yassin noted that the thrust of Kumar’s article seems to have been pointed in the direction that the money which government had spent in sending the team to the Commonwealth Games “was a waste”.
In Yassin’s estimation this was not the case since “no money was given to the Guyana Olympic Association for the Commonwealth Games and I also believe for the CAC Games.”
Yassin continued: “These games, to send athletes cost millions and millions of dollars but we have got no funding from the ministry as regards to this. I know the sum of five million (dollars) was given to rugby by the President. I don’t think it was money wasted [since] this was the first real serious competition that Guyana rugby team has faced and I sincerely hope that they will learn from their mistakes.”
Yassin acknowledged that when CAC Seven Rugby tournament was held in Guyana in July there was a joint effort with the GOA, Guyana Rugby Football Union (GRFU) and the government. “We got assistance from the government providing the stadium, the vehicle but for the teams going abroad there has been no funding,” Yassin maintained.
The GOA paid half of the travelling expenses for the 49-member contingent while the respective sports bodies paid the other half for the Commonwealth Games, and this was also the case for the CAC Games.
In Kumar’s column he wrote: “Millions of dollars were invested in sending our sport personalities to the recent Commonwealth Games in Delhi. However, reflecting on the performances leaves most of us feeling dazed and empty. “Sadly, it has become a norm for some of our Sports Administrators and Sports Personalities to exhibit their best performances when petitioning the Government to invest more money in their teams and officials travelling overseas. As a result, we have people travelling across the globe as “Sports Administrators” and “Officials” while our athletes are woefully neglected.”
Meanwhile, Yassin reported on Wednesday that Guyanese athletes may have another packed year of competition next year and funding will be needed for these assignments. He made mention of the Pan American Games that will be held in Guadalajara, Mexico, next October and the opening ceremony will be on October 14.
He revealed that unlike the CAC Games and Commonwealth Games, the local athletes will have to qualify for the event at stipulated meets. According to Yassin the GOA will be sending out to the sports bodies what has to be done for them to qualify for the meet.
He pointed out that for track & field athletes they have until September 14, 2011 to qualify for the Pan American championships. The qualifying times are as follows: for men and women: 100m-10.38s/11.50s; 200m-21.00s/23.78s; 400m-46.25s/53.00s; 800m-1:49.0/2:07.0; 1,500m-3:48.0/4:25.0; 5,000m-14:20.0/17:00; 1,0000m-29:50.0/35:30.0.
Currently, only locally based distance athlete Cleveland Forde and overseas based two-time Commonwealth Games medallist Aliann Pompey have qualified for this meet. Forde has the qualifying times for the 1,500m and 5,000m while Pompey has the time for the 400m.