Human development opportunities in sport was the theme for the feature address delivered by Justice Roxanne George when the GOA’s Annual Appreciation and Awards Ceremony was held Friday night at the Georgetown Club.
At the gala event which was attended by athletes, association heads and stakeholders, Justice George outlined several areas in which sportsmen and women and the economy can be developed in a captivating 12-minute speech.
“By providing our athletes with the necessary supportive environment, we would be creating the future for them, thereby maximizing the economic and social potential that can be realized by individuals and for Guyana from the opportunities through the enterprise that is sport,” Justice George proclaimed.
“We are just two years away from the 2016 Olympics in Brazil. If there is commitment to continuing the conversation that was started at the recent public forum, backing words with action, I have no doubt that Guyana would be well on the way to achieving more medals at future Olympic, Commonwealth and other Games,” she opined.
George added: “As we seek to develop our athletes, there is a number of skill sets that are required to provide them with the requisite support for them to excel. From reports in the media, the recent public forum hosted by the GOA on the development of sport in Guyana highlighted the need not only for better infrastructure, but also the necessity for trained and knowledgeable sports personnel to achieve such development. I gather that it was canvassed that in order to fully utilize any sports facilities and venues, there will be need to understand what one newspaper report termed the “science of sport” in order to produce elite athletes who can maximize the use of such facilities and venues.
“So I offer you my thoughts on the necessity for a supportive environment for our athletes so that we create opportunities through the enterprise of sport.
“While we seek to develop coaching abilities as regards the technical aspects of various sports, we know that there is much more to ensuring high class performances from our athletes. In order for them to excel they must operate in an environment that is conducive to excellent performance.
“I read another newspaper article recently about the need to improve the psychological mind set of one of our track and field athletes. And having interacted with sports administrators on the GOA Sports Administrators course over the years, I am aware that they are grappling with a number of social issues that affect our athletes. Therefore, we need to have psychologists, particularly sports psychologists, to work with our athletes to strengthen their mental fitness to compete at the highest levels. I suggest that we also engage social workers because they can assist in addressing a number of the social issues that our athletes face, especially our young athletes. These include family related issues, domestic violence, inter-personal violence, sexuality, peer pressure, depression and other vulnerabilities.”
George also touched on a strategic plan for the GOA.
“What is needed is a data base of skills that are necessary to advance the development of and support for our sportsmen and women as they prepare for competition in this highly competitive sports world of today. “A mapping of what is needed should be undertaken. Having ascertained what skills we need, the simultaneous or next step would be to develop mechanisms to partner with persons who have the required skills and/or to have persons qualify in the fields identified. I suggest three mechanisms for fostering this partnership, though there may be others.
“Firstly, a call can be made for more persons who have the required skills to come forward and make a contribution or to make themselves available for further training. So a data base of persons who can be called on to assist in the specialized areas required can be created.
“Secondly, the GOA should disseminate information about what skill sets are needed so that a larger number of persons, especially our youth, would know what career choices are available in the field of sport. While no doubt sports related fields of study can be researched online, I think that information coming from an organization like the GOA about what is required in and for Guyana would send a more authentic message and allow for greater buy in to what must be our continuing effort to enhance the performances of our athletes.
“Thirdly, the GOA through its affiliates can introduce an Olympic Solidarity type programme whereby it identifies persons who can be trained in the required fields. Whether it is the Public Service Ministry or the Ministry of Culture Youth and Sport or the Ministry of Education or the GOA – they can seek to offer scholarships or scout for scholarships in the areas that are considered necessary.
“There may be students e.g. at the University of Guyana, who are already pursuing studies in related areas who can be invited to apply for such scholarships and who would welcome the opportunity to be trained in new and cutting edge areas in the varied fields that now make up the sport enterprise.
“A partnership could be established with the University of Guyana in exploring ways in which the university can enhance current areas of study, or prepare students for post graduate education in the required fields. The next career fair at the University should see the presence of the GOA to provide such information on the opportunities through the enterprise of sport.”
At the end of her speech, George was presented with an orchid as was Marva Patterson, Priya Ramdhani, Annabelle Sharma and Bernadette Juman-Yassin.
During the event, Hector Edwards gave an overview of the GOA report for 2013, Guyana Times’ Treiston Joseph received the award for sports journalist of the year while Winston Bentham, Hassan Mohamed, Wilton Spencer, Kim Kissoon and Charwyn Walker received plaques for their contributions to the development of sport.
Walker also made a brief speech on behalf of the awardees.
Congratulatory remarks were also made by Prime Minister, Samuel Hinds, president of the GOA, K Juman-Yassin and Minister of Sport, Dr. Frank Anthony.
Juman Yassin also presented a cheque to Dawn Oditt from the Doobay Medical Centre.
Garfield Wiltshire received the GOA’s council member of the year and also gave the vote of thanks.