In a climate where local sports associations are often divorced from the realities of what needs to be done to develop sports, kudos must be given to the Guyana Hockey Board [GHB] for their bold initiative to bring together a squad of young players to begin preparations for the Junior PanAm Games in 2020.
Because of the board’s efforts, Stabroek Sports ventured to examine the junior hockey nursery and to highlight two of Guyana’s exciting emerging prospects.
After carefully observing the just-concluded GHB Junior Nationals, we found Sarah Klautky and Warren Williams who have forced the spotlight on themselves after stringing together performances fenced by their unquestionable skills and talents.
Klautky is a dynamic 14 – year-old GCC Bingo Spartans scorer who attends the Marian Academy School. Gifted as she is with a hockey stick in hand, Klautky is also equally enterprising on the lawn tennis court and was recently named brand ambassador for GBTI.
“I’m very pleased with the way things are going, especially after the last tournament… it’s really nice that I can perform and make people proud,” Klautky said after dominating the nationals.
“It feels really good,” she added of her personal performances but explained that her success is attached to her being “compatible with her team.
“It’s a team sport, and I wouldn’t have gotten where I am without my girls,” she declared.
Only three years into the sport, Klautky’s recorded success on the hockey court has drawn her closer to the sport which would see her placing all of her emphasis in that direction.
“For me, at this point, it would be hockey. I mean lawn tennis is great but now that I’m maturing and I’m understanding myself better, I think hockey is really what I want to play,” she explained.
Williams, on the other hand, who is two years older than Klautky, attends the St. Joseph’s High School and turns out for his Old Fort club.
“I guess I’m a naturally gifted hockey player because even though I miss a lot of practice sessions because of school, I surprised myself by coming out and producing good performances,” Williams explained when quizzed about his remarkable returns after only first playing the sport two years ago.
After scoring 18 goals in this year’s junior nationals, we asked him what separates him from his junior counterparts.
“When I’m on the court, I see myself doing things that I haven’t even thought that I could have done.
“I’m a very fast player. I’m swift with the ball and when it comes to striking or shooting it’s like I have a totally different ability from the other players and during gameplay, I can tell when to lift the ball off the ground or when to shoot it flat and hard,” he said of his natural ability.
National coach Robert Fernandes when asked to share his thoughts on the two, explained what impresses him.
“For the time, he’s [Williams] being playing the game, it’s remarkable how he reads it, and his finishing is exceptional,” he pointed out as the features which set Williams apart.
On Klautky, he added;” Sarah is a phenomenal player… I think she is the one player who plays with the intensity that is required for international hockey and you could see that she is on her way to be a special player… hopefully, if she keeps her grades up she could be a prime candidate for a scholarship.”