“The risk is too big for us to take” – GBA President Steve Ninvalle
“The risk is too great for us to take as a society.”
That was the reason given by Guyana Boxing Association (GBA) President Steve Ninvalle why Guyana’s 4-member team for the World Boxing championships departed from the international tournament.
For them to have participated, the Guyanese team would have had to leave Many Watersland days or even weeks ago, since the event was slated to run from April 10 to 24 in Kielce, Poland. However, the Association took a conscious decision in the best interests of the young boxers.
“So finance wasn’t a problem,” the GBA President revealed. “But it was COVID.”
Talking exclusively to the
> on Saturday, Ninvalle highlighted the growing coronavirus outbreak in Poland and explained that the GBA’s first thought was about keeping the Guyanese team safe.
“It’s not about how COVID goes in Guyana, it’s what happens in the neck of the trees they were supposed to be,” he said.
He added, “Poland has seen astronomical increases in COVID cases.”
This past week, Poland has seen a significant surge in coronavirus cases, recording more than 27,000 new cases on April 8; 28,000+ on April 9, and 24,000+ new cases on April 10.
The game of getting boxers stuck in a foreign country continues to distance itself from the GBA, and as such, Ninvalle explained that with European countries entering locks, the possibility of repeating the experience could not be entertained that again.
Ninvalle told this publication, “What also adds to our decision is the fact that many European countries are actually shutting down and putting restrictions (in place); and remember that we just came out last year, when we had boxers spending 126 days stuck in Cuba, which would have been a financial burden, a mental and psychological burden, and a physical burden on them.
“So we made our decision, basically about the safety and welfare of the boxers at all times. Yes, we want medals, and yes, we want them to participate, but we could not guarantee their safety and well-being. And if we can’t guarantee that, then we won’t allow them to leave these shores, ”the head of the GBA went on to explain.
In the meantime, should a similar scenario arise for the Olympic Qualifiers, the GBA is likely to take the same lead in keeping the local pugilists safe.
“I’m also saying this will go for the team to the Olympic qualifying games as well,” Ninvalle declared. “If there is anything threatening (to affect) their welfare and safety and health, then we will have to make a decision, and we will make that decision and we will not apologize for providing safety, well and health above all.
“It’s no use sending your fighters out and their security is not guaranteed. I’m not saying that you could have 100% guaranteed (in) security, (but) there must be a percentage that you receive. Once I am in charge of society, that is what we will continue to do, anything else will be secondary, ”concluded the President of the Boxing Association.
The head of the GBA also shared that, in making the decision, the team had been informed and brought similar concerns to GBA executives about their safety, thereby agreeing to the move to be absent from the World Youth Championships.
The Guyana Boxing Association (GBA) had previously indicated their interest in sending a four-member team to the international pool in Poland, including single female pugilist Abiola Jackman.
A similar team has also been assembled for the Olympic Qualifiers, with three men and one woman. That team reads: Keevin Allicock, Colin Lewis, Desmond Amsterdam and Taveena Kum from Canada. (Jemima Holmes)