Guyana Amateur Basketball Federation (GABF) President Nigel Hinds says that 2016 was a historic year for the sport with the successful staging of the Caribbean Basketball Confederation (CBC) U16 championships being the highlight of the year.
In an exclusive of interview with Stabroek Sports, Hinds said: “The successful hosting of U16 CBC Championships, dwarfed the other achievements of the GABF in 2016. FIBA Americas President, Usie Richards and Secretary General, Alberto Garcia and CBC President, Glyne Clarke were generous in their praise on Guyana’s hosting of the U-16 Championships, as the records show.”
He revealed that preparation for the event started in the latter stages of April, declaring “Youth Basketball Guyana played significant role in the preparedness of our young men and women, as their annual Youth Basketball Championships enhanced the quality of players that the GABF selected for the U16 Championships.”
Teams that featured in the boys division were Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Dominica, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and Suriname. In the Girl’s section, Bahamas, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Trinidad and Tobago and Suriname participated.
Guyana finished with a silver medal in the boys section losing to eventual champs The Bahamas and in the process qualifying for the CentroBasket U17 Championships (Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean) scheduled for the Dominican Republic in July.
“Hosting the championships and the preparedness of Guyana in terms of accommodation, transportation, improving significantly the facilities and ambiance of Cliff Anderson Sports Hall (CASH), security and general organization of the double event between July 2-17, 2016; required not only the unbending leadership of the GABF, but also the substantial financial support from the Government of Guyana,” said Hinds.
He revealed the Ministry of Education and the Office of the President respectively played pivotal roles in the staging of the event by contributing $40 million dollars, noting that corporate Guyana and the Guyana Olympic Association also contributed $10 million dollars.
“The National Sports Commission accelerated their capital expenditure programme to ensure that the CASH was facilities and aesthetic ready for the Championships. The financial advances loaned to the NSC by GABF to ensure that CASH was ready for the championships, pale in comparison to the value of the assets, convenience and grandeur that CASH has become,” he affirmed.
According to Hinds, the highlights of the year started with the Road to Mecca Club Championship during the months of March and April which was won by Georgetown club Colts. The Georgetown team defeated Linden unit Retrieve Raiders in the replayed final after the initial contest suffered a premature and controversial ending.
“With the first final ending in dispute over officiating and executive intervention; GABF made the decision to fly in two FIBA-certified referees from Barbados to officiate in the replayed final. The two Barbadian referees were joined by the FIBA certified referee from Guyana, Sherwyn Henry for the replay. Colts won the replayed final and fans and the basketball public were generally satisfied with the final outcome,” he added.
Hinds said the other achievements include Guyana’s participation in the U-15 FIBA Americas CentroBasket held in Puerto Rico during August.
“Guyana’s participation was aided in no small way by New Guyana Pharmaceutical Corporation and GABF executives.
“Inter-Guiana Games was hosted by the NSC at the recently renovated CASH in October and the basketball games were well attended, however our Suriname counterparts won both the male and female championships,” he said.
According to Hinds, Guyana participated in the Tri-Nation Tournament in Jamaica which featured the Jamaica senior squad and the Libertyville Vipers from the American Basketball Association’s (ABA) semi-professional league, noting.. “The Guyana team comprising a mix of young and senior players achieved second place at the end of the tournament, with young stars such as Terron Welch and Stanton Rose leading the way, under the skilled captaincy of Akeem Kanhai and the solid centre play of Shane Webster.
“Also in November, GABF held the U-17 3X3 Championships in accordance with FIBA regulations; the winning team comprising players from Kwakwani and Georgetown, namely Stanton Rose, Jonathan Mangra, Timothy Thompson and Jamal Willes will represent Guyana from February 24-27, 2017 in St. Lucia. The coordinator and coach for the Guyana U-17 3X3 team is Junior Hercules, who has been a remarkable utility executive for the Federation” Hinds added.
“For 2017, GABF will focus more on strengthening its internal capacity, inclusive of its affiliates from Linden, Georgetown and Berbice, upgrading the Burnham Court, and basketball courts in other regions, improving our financial standing, financially supporting our affiliates and having regular meeting with stakeholders.
“We have already purchased and installed a 1,000 watts lamp at Burnham Court and by the end of March we will have the full complement of four 1,000 watt lamps at our main outdoor playing facility.
“There will be no senior male CBC championship in 2017, however, plans are being made by CBC to have the senior female championships in 2017 at a location to be decided. Once the female regional championships are being held, GABF will seek to have overseas based Guyanese on the team to ensure the competitiveness of the Guyana team.
“The GABF executive takes this opportunity to thank all the stakeholders, especially the Government of Guyana for their sterling support,” he added.