The 13th Annual Diamond Mineral Water Inter-national Hockey Festival, which was launched yesterday at the Georgetown Cricket Club (GCC), will commence today at the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall.
The festival, which ends Sunday, will be divided into three categories, men’s, women’s and veterans respectively.
A total of 16 teams including two sides each from Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados, will contest the event.
Among the local participants in each category are GCC, Old Fort, Hikers and St Stanislaus College.
Winners of the male and female sections will pocket US$1,000, while the runners-up will receive US$500. On the veteran side, the winner will receive US$500 while the runners-up will receive incentive prizes.
The opening match at 17:00hrs will pit Woodpecker Hikers against Old Fort in the women’s division while Bounty GCC and St Stanislaus College will faceoff at 17:50hrs in the men’s category.
At 18:40hrs, Pizza Hut will battle Bingo Spartans in the women’s section, while Old Fort will match skills with GCC Vintage in the veterans division at 19:30hrs. The final two matches will pit Pepsi Hikers against Old Fort at 20:20hrs in the men’s section and Antonio’s Hikers against Young Men Christian Association (YMCA) in the veterans’ category at 21:10hrs.
Meanwhile, Philip Fernandes, Guyana Hockey Board (GHB) president said at the launch yesterday, “We would like to announce the staging of the 13th annual Diamond Mineral water Hockey Festival as the longest running indoor hockey competition in the region. The festival continues to attract top teams from the Caribbean region and North American and has been a key feature on the Guyana annual calendar of sports events.”
According to Fernandes, the successful staging of the recent Pan American Cup was built on the experience of hosting the Diamond Mineral Water Championship on an annual basis.
“The Pan American Federation sent a senior representative down to Guyana as far back as 2006 to observe the festival and it was the quality and sustainability of this event that gave the Pan American Federation confidence in Guyana. Having run off this international competition for 12 years, we as a federation gained confidence to submit a pitch to host the Pan American Indoor.” Fernandes went on to thank the sponsors for their support.
“I wish to express my gratitude to our sponsors who have stuck with us and trusted us to deliver year after year, building this event and the profile of hockey in Guyana. Guyana is now on the regional map for hockey and its name on the top of tongues of all those who visited. We are happy to have out Platinum sponsor, Demerara Distillers Limited with us today and who has been with us from the inception of this tournament. Back in 2004, Diamond Mineral water took a risk with hockey and that has paid off greatly in terms of the success that this event has become.
“Our Gold sponsor Ansa McAl came on board two years after the inaugural festival and have stuck with us since then. The veterans’ teams from overseas finds the largest participation of foreign teams this year and always feature teams who maximize the enjoyment of their visit over a few cold Caribs,” he added. Larry Wills, Diamond Mineral Water Brand Manager said, “Demerara Distillers Limited and our Diamond Mineral Water Brand are pleased to be associated with this tournament for 13 consecutive years. The Diamond Mineral water Indoor Hockey Festival is one of the main events on our calendar of activities each year. This partnership has had an incredible impact on the sport since it has provided players with the opportunities to compete and enhance their skills. Diamond Mineral Water is proud of its contributions towards the spectrum of sports in Guyana and is committed to the development and promotion of sports as a healthy form of entertainment.”
He added, “Demerara Distillers Limited and its Diamond Mineral Water Brand will continue to support sports in Guyana and would like to take this opportunity to wish the GHB and the players a competitive and successful tournament.”