Sunday, May 31, 2020
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Education ministry challenged to ensure gym will be competition-ready

The 2019 Bahamas National High School Basketball Championships has been announced. The island location is Grand Bahama, and the time frame is March 28 to April 1. The venue is the St. George’s Gymnasium in Freeport.

On Thursday, I spoke to Ministry of Education Senior Education Officer Evon Wisdom, who is also the architect of national high school sports events, and he pledged to make certain that the St. George’s Gym is competition-ready.

“I guarantee you, the gym will be ready. I have already spoken to that issue. The lights will be in place,” said Wisdom. This will be the fourth basketball nationals staged in Freeport, and Wisdom expects the status of the championships to be further enhanced.

“Grand Bahama is special for sporting events. This is the fourth basketball nationals and hopes are naturally high,” he said.

It is reassuring that Wisdom intends to personally stay on top of the situation, showing the kind of attentiveness that was missing just a week ago when the 20th HOYTES (Helping Our Youth Through Education and Sports) Geneva Rutherford Girls Basketball Classic was staged. Bishop Michael Eldon defeated St. George’s for the senior girls title and St. Mary Patricia triumphed over Eight Mile Rock to take the junior crown.

The young ladies were incredibly competitive and it was shameful that they were forced to perform in a poorly-lit gym. A dozen of the ceiling lights were not functioning. It was truly a disgraceful situation. There would be further embarrassment if the matter does not get resolved in time for the national championships.

Wisdom insists he will maintain an awareness of a competition-fit gymnasium being imperative, and acknowledged that the responsibility does fall on the Ministry of Education and those in charge of respective jurisdictions/institutions.

Grand Bahama, in recent times, has returned to being a major sports host location. It is therefore incumbent on the connected stakeholders to do all within their powers to heighten the appreciation of all and sundry involved in the events, from the competitive, management, officiating and fan participation levels.

The Grand Bahama Port Authority (GBPA) and the Grand Bahama Office of the Prime Minister, by engaging sports leaders and organizations, have been excellent in helping to project the culture of efficiency and high standard for the planning and staging of sporting events.

Hopefully the dereliction of responsibilities which resulted in the lighting issue last week at St. George’s Gymnasium will not dampen the renewed enthusiasm for hosting sporting events in Grand Bahama.

• To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at e-mail address or on WhatsApp at (242) 727-6363.

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