GOA support for GRFU’s Sevens team for Olympic Qualifier

The Guyana Olympic Association (GOA) has lifted a huge monkey off the back of the Guyana Rugby Football Union (GRFU) ahead of the 2016 Olympic Games.

Yesterday at the GOA’s headquarters, president of the association, K. Juman-Yassin told media operatives that the body will cover the expenses of the men’s 7s team for the first Olympic Qualifier in North Carolina on June 13-14 as well as the Pan Am Championships in Toronto, Canada from July 11-12.

Being triumphant at the above events will ensure that Guyana clinches an Olympic berth for the Games in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.

Shanomae Blackmore
Shanomae Blackmore

According to Yassin, the price tag for preparation, airfare, meals, accommodation, bringing overseas based players home and other miscellaneous expenses for the two tournaments is in excess of $14M.

“After dialogue with the union, we came up with some of the factors that the Guyana Olympic Association will be responsible for,” said Yassin.

He stated that “The budget that we got from the union for the team to go to North Carolina is $6,532,680 and we will cover that.”

“The Olympic Association will also be covering the Pan American team’s preparation before they leave for those Games and that includes training expenses, supplements, medical examinations, airfare for overseas players to Guyana from the USA, accommodation, meals and transportation for overseas players and that comes up roughly to $990,600.”

The GOA head pointed out that the association will also be covering “the team going to the Pan American Games and that comes up to $5,527,200.

“We are also looking into covering the team to be in Canada about two weeks before so that they can have some matches in Canada”. That will also come at a cost.”

Yassin stated that the GOA has stepped up to allow the GRFU to focus on effectively preparing the ruggers rather than begging for funds, which has been the norm of Guyana’s premier outdoor sports team.

“The GOA has done its job so that heartache and that burden that the rugby union usually have to go out and beg, we have taken that off their shoulders so that they can concentrate on the important aspect, a well prepared team.” The GOA is also responsible for the cost of airfare, accommodation, meals and per diem for Australia based Technical Director, Angus Thomson who is here to work along with the local coaching staff on the road to Rio. Thomson’s expenses is in the neighbourhood of $3.7M.

Before the ruggers depart to North Carolina and Canada, they will travel to Hong Kong to compete in the prestigious HSBC Hong Kong 7s tournament scheduled for March 27-29.

According to Thomson, players will be put under the microscope in Hong Kong in an effort to get the best unit for the NACRA Qualifier and the Pan Am Games.

“Don’t get me wrong, we are not going to Hong Kong as a training exercise, we are going to Hong Kong to do Guyana proud. We start on the competition the very first game of the whole tournament at 9:00am on Friday against Zimbabwe and I can assure you that we will be going out from the first whistle to beat Zimbabwe.”

Guyana is currently ranked 44 by rugbyredefined.com and according to president of the GRFU Peter Green starting with Hong Kong “our goal is to get in the top 20.

Our ruggers known as the ‘Green Machine’ will spring surprises” Green prophesied.

With the continued support from the GOA, the government of Guyana and the private sector, a top 20 ranking is not out of Guyana’s reach. (Emmerson Campbell)

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