23rd Goodwill Games splash off at National Aquatic Centre
DPI, GUYANA, Saturday, August 19, 2017
At the opening ceremony of the twenty-third Goodwill Caribbean Junior Swim Meet 2017, participants were advised to keep their competition ‘clean’, to abstain from the use of sport enhancement drugs, so that their natural talents could be showcased during competitions.
The swim meet splashed off Saturday at the National Aquatic Centre(NAC), Liliendaal, East Coast, Demerara, featuring participants from Guyana, Barbados, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Lucia, Grenada, Bahamas and Trinidad and Tobago.
Speaking on the behalf of the Acting Minister of Education, Nicolette Henry, Assistant Director of Sport Melissa Dow-Richardson assured the government’s continued support towards ensuring the growth and development of sports in Guyana; whether competitively, recreationally, or as a force within the aspect health and fitness.
“We are here, today to celebrate the games in goodwill at the national, international and regional level so that our athletes understand that they are valuable and their place is secure as well as their future…..they have the capacity to develop to take on new challenges and roles to continue to build sport and swimming to the next level,” Dow-Richardson noted. She added that the competitors should continuing striving to reach their ultimate goal.
Director of Sport Christopher Jones promised that all sporting facilities will be equipped with the necessary equipment, with the guidance of the Education Minister, as the administration continues to guarantee that local athletes and young people are given the opportunity and support in their respective fields.
However, he stressed that the visiting participants should also be given time off after the completion of the games to explore, so they could absorb both the social and cultural aspects of the host country.
“I acknowledge the sentiments about the visiting participating countries having the opportunity to explore those countries. In fact, recently Guyana held a sport-tourism meet where we are exploring the option of ensuring that once we (Guyana) have these types of international tournaments that the opportunity presents itself so that the participating countries are able to visit Guyana and its shores.”
The Director of Sport highlighted that this will assist in boosting sport tourism, an industry that Guyana is hoping to capitalise on. This package realises the economic benefit of hosting international sports which seek to maximise the returns on the investments in sports stadiums, tournament venues, track and field facilities, sporting arenas and other facilities. He also expressed his gratitude towards the participants, coordinators and corporate sponsors among others who made the competition possible.
President of the Guyana Amateur Swimming Association (GASA) Ivan Persaud said he was expecting fierce competition and hopes that the athletes are proud of their performance in the games. He noted while there will be hiccups when hosting the Goodwill games; he is pleased that it attracted a huge crowd to cheer on the athletes.
By: Neola Damon