By Treiston Joseph
The 2012 London Olympic Games countdown began yesterday with a press conference organised by the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport and the British High Commission at the Umana Yana.
The world’s greatest and largest sporting event will roll off on July 27 next year.
It will be the third time in Olympic history that London will stage the games after hosting in 1908 and 1948 and they will become the first city to host the games thrice.
At the press conference, Director of Sports, Neil Kumar, welcomed everyone which included the British High Commissioner, Simon Bond, Vice President of the Guyana Olympic Association, Dr. Karen Pilgrim, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport, Alfred King and Guyana’s lone medalist (bronze) in Olympic history Michael Anthony Parris.
Parris won the medal at the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow, Russia in boxing.
Bond made a few remarks whilst showing some clips of the event’s greatest moments, concluding that the legacy of the games is what awaits the World at the London 2012 meet.
“The Olympics is indeed the largest sport gathering in the World and we are on schedule with all our plans for the games,” he said.
“The organizing of the games was done with the thoughts of inspiring young people to continue in sport, with the needs of the athletes at heart and also to showcase London.
“Beijing will be a tough act to follow but we will certainly do our best to host the games with London’s culture at the forefront and I’m sure that come 2016, that your neighboring country, Brazil, will follow in good stead as well,” Bond stated.
Pilgrim and King in remarks both wished the British High Commission and London well in the hosting of the games while acknowledging Guyana’s lone legacy at the games in Parris’s bronze medal. They also challenged the Guyanese athletes to train hard in order to produce the best results of the prestigious event for their homeland.
King went a little bit further in singling out boxing as the most likely sport discipline to bring a medal(s) back to Guyana.
“I’m not choosing boxing because of my past endeavors or affiliation with the sport, but I believe they will do well because of the programme that they have put on for their boxers and I believe that the other sporting disciplines should put on such programmes where you encamp the athletes and probably supply a stipend for them as well,” King commented.
Parris spoke of his preparations for and experience at, the Olympics before wishing the athletes well.
The Games, which will see 26 sports disciplines and 20 Paralympic sports, is expected to attract approximately 15,000 athletes, 120 Heads of State, an estimated 320, 000 foreign visitors along with the potential of four billion television viewers.
The construction of the Olympic Park is mainly focused on benefiting the community after the games with more modern sporting facilities.
Kumar concluded by wishing 400 metres and two time silver medalist at Commonwealth Games, Aliann Pompey well in her preparations for the 2012 Olympics.