By Iva Wharton
Sport Minister, Dr. Frank Anthony, last night told the National Assembly that the government would be focusing on number of developmental projects for 2012 among them the construction of a 25-metre warm-up pool to supplement the 50-m pool currently at Pattensen.
Dr. Anthony made the disclosure in his budget speech to the National Assembly.
Apart from the warm up pool, other projects set to be completed this year include the construction of a pavilion and administrative building at the synthetic track at Lenora, outfitting the Andrew ‘Sixhead’ Lewis gym with new equipment, construction of a sports institution at the Racquet Centre, Woolford Avenue and the commencement of work on the coaching accreditation system.
The warm-up pool, according to Dr. Anthony, will see Guyana being able to host the Carifta Swimming Championship in 2013.
“Right now we have several rising stars in swimming and I would like to point out Jessica Stephenson who has already won a gold medal at the 2012 championship and we expect her to win some more, Dr. Anthony told the gathering. Addressing the issue of the synthetic track, Dr. Anthony said that contracts were awarded last year and work was ongoing on the fence, the filling of the entire site, the parking area, the football field, internal roads and synthetic track and the areas designated for shot-put and long jump.
“With this year’s money that we get we will start the construction of the Stands and Administrative Building and this project will be completed in 2013.” Boxing which has always been popular in Guyana has seen resurgence at the amateur and professional levels ever since Peter Abdool was elected president of the Caribbean Boxing Federation (CABOFE)
“This year we will be adding new gym equipment and our intention is to make this into the best boxing facility in Guyana,” said Dr. Anthony. According to him, the ministry has made contact with a Cuban coach who will be working with boxers for the next two years.
“We are also starting the construction of a Sports Institute at the Woolford Avenue site.”
The institute, he said, will provide training to coaches, officials, sportsmen and women and students who are writing physical education at the Caribbean Secondary Examination Council (CSEC).
“They will vastly improve our human resources capacity to carry our vibrant and robust sports system”.
On the national coaches and official accreditation system, Dr. Anthony said it will aid in professionalizing the sports sector. “The ministry will also have a very strong focus on schools and community sports. A partnership with the Ministry of Education will be working to get more schools involved in physical activities. We will promote the development of cricket, football, volleyball, basketball, athletics both at the primary and secondary level,” he said. At the community level, $180 million has been set aside for the development of community grounds. Dr. Anthony also said that his ministry will be working with a number of sport associations to assist them in acquiring their own facilities.
The government, he said, has given one acre of land each to the karate association and the Guyana Olympic Association (GOA).
He also said that the ministry will be working with the Guyana Table Tennis Association (GTTA) and the hockey, power lifting and weightlifting associations with the hope of also assisting them in acquiring land for their facilities.
Over $1 billion in the $192.8b budget presented in the National Assembly by Finance Minister Dr. Ashni Singh has been allocated for sports.