Diamond Mineral Water Hockey Festival returns on Thursday!

On Thursday December 1st, the Diamond Mineral Water International Indoor Hockey Festival will bully-off for the sixteenth time. Born from the idea of Joseph ‘Reds’ Perreira, who upon visiting Guyana in 2003, met with the Guyana Hockey Board and encouraged them to stage an annual international hockey festival. Reds being a huge proponent of sports tourism thought that the Guyanese sporting bodies needed to do more to attract foreign athletes to our shores. The Guyana Hockey Board took up the challenge and secured the volunteer services of former national hockey players, Troy Hugh Peters, to be the Tournament Coordinator.

Sarah Klautky in action at the 2019 edition of the Diamond Mineral Water Hockey Festival

Eighteen years later, the Festival has grown into one of the premiere indoor hockey events in the region and attracts top club teams and players from the Pan American region. While over the years the festival has had its challenges and missed years due to renovations at the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall in 2012 and then again during the restrictive covid-19 times.

This year the mighty Queens Park men’s contingent returns to compete in the men’s veteran over 35s and the Guinness Masters over 45s divisions. The over 35s will be the first foreign side on show as they take on the Antonio’s Hickers at 19:30hrs on the opening night.

Trinidad Police makes their debut this year with a large male and female contingent. The TT Police men will be on show for the final match of the evening on Thursday as they take on the recent GTT National Indoor Champions, Bounty GCC. The police ladies similarly will face local national champs the GBTI GCC Tigers in the TLC ladies division at 20:10hrs

The tournament will feature 18 teams which includes 6 foreign teams. In addition, four players from Canada and two from the USA will be on show as guest players among the local sides, adding to the international flare of the festival.

Diamond Mineral Water has been the mainstay of the festival and has been the title sponsor since its inception in 2004. Local freight-forwarding company, TLC Guyana Inc, which is the sponsor of the women’s division is new to the sport locally while Guinness, more popular with football, has been the welcome sponsor of the Masters division.

All matches are being player at the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall and begin at 18:00 hrs on Thursday 1st December, 15:00hrs on December 2nd, 13:00hrs on December 3rd and 11:00 hrs on the final day of December 4th.


Copa America: Argentina’s Messi tells Yerry Mina to ‘Dance now’ following shootout win

A fired-up Lionel Messi mocked Yerry Mina, telling him to “Dance now,” as Argentina beat Colombia on penalties on Tuesday to set up a Copa America final against Brazil.

Everton defender Mina missed Colombia’s third penalty as Argentina won 3-2 following a 1-1 draw in normal time in Brasilia.

Mina is known for dancing after scoring goals and pulled out his trademark celebration in the quarterfinal after netting in the shootout win over Uruguay.

However, Mina’s penalty was saved by Emiliano Martinez on Tuesday, with television footage cutting to Messi screaming, “Dance now” at his former Barcelona teammate from the halfway line.

Yerry Mina

With the game played without fans due to the coronavirus pandemic, the footage also picked up Aston Villa goalkeeper Martinez’s attempts to put off Mina in the build-up to the penalty.

“Look, the ball’s not on the spot,” he told the referee as the centre-back stepped up to shoot.

He then shouted at Mina: “You’re nervous, huh? I can tell you’re nervous. I know where you’re going to shoot. Watch and see how I’m going to eat you up. Remember, I’m going to eat you up.”

Luis Diaz’s second-half goal canceled out Lautaro Martinez’s opener for Argentina and took the game to penalties, with no extra time in the Copa America except for in the final.

In the shootout, Martinez also saved from Davinson Sanchez and Edwin Cardona to help the Albiceleste progress to Saturday’s final against Brazil at the Maracana in Rio de Janeiro.

“It was a tough game, but we deserved to win,” Messi said. “We had to dig deep at times, but we have [Martinez] and he’s a phenomenon. I’m really happy for him; he deserves it.”

Messi, who is a free agent after his Barcelona contract expired on June 30, has never won a major trophy with Argentina.

He won the U20 World Cup and the Olympic Games with the U23s, but has lost four finals with the senior side, including three in the Copa America.

“It’s the final [against Brazil] that we were all hoping for,” Messi said. “It’s going to be a very even game, a very tough game. We’ve achieved our main goal, which was to reach the final itself. Now we have to try and win it.”

(Story from ESPN FC by Sam Marsden & Moises Llorens)

Golden Jaguars first Fitness Tests a success

The Guyana Senior Men’s National Team, the Golden Jaguars, moved a step closer to the full resumption of training on Sunday with the first wave of physical evaluations of players taking place at the Guyana Football Federation National Training Centre in Providence.

Some of the locally based Golden Jaguars’ players during their drills.

The fitness tests provide important information for the coaching staff and will inform individual and squad training regimes in the run up to the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers in March. The evaluation, conducted over two days with different cohorts of players, follows testing of the domestic-based squad and backroom staff for the COVID-19 virus this week as part of protocols put in place under the UEFA Assisted 100-day “Bounceback” programme.

The National COVID-19 Task Force has granted permission for training to resume as long as strict measures are in place to defend against the spread of the virus.

“Today’s rigorous tests give our coaches a clear idea of the fitness levels of individual players and what we need to work on to ensure the squad is in peak condition come March,” said GFF President Wayne Forde. “Considering the lack of competition over the past year, we are pleased to report that the squad is already looking in good shape thanks in part to the individual training plans they were given by the GFF technical team during the lockdown.”

“Going forward, we will be taking every precaution necessary to ensure that the squad and staff remain safe and well during this time, including regular testing for COVID-19. We look forward to the full resumption of training in the coming days, as long as conditions allow, and remain ready to take any action required if the pandemic enters another difficult phase.”

GFF Fitness Coach Wilson Toledo and Golden Jaguars’ Assistant Coach Charles Pollard oversaw the fitness evaluations on Sunday, with a total of 25 players going through their paces.

Guyana has been drawn in Group F with Trinidad and Tobago, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Puerto Rico and the Bahamas for the Concacaf regional qualifiers for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, which takes place in Qatar. The Golden Jaguars will kick off their delayed campaign away against Trinidad and Tobago on March 25th. The winner of the group will proceed to the second of three qualification rounds.

‘Always believe in yourself & work hard to achieve your dreams’ urges Curtez Kellman

Considered one of the brightest youngsters in Guyana’s footballing fraternity, Curtez Kellman has always been dedicated, hardworking and humble in his growth. 

Now 22-years-old and well aware of what it takes to succeed, Curtez firmly believes in this quote by track and field legend Jesse Owens; “”We all have dreams. But in order to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, discipline, and effort.”

In an exclusive sit-down with The 592 Dugout, the outspoken footballer shared his journey thus far, a fascinating story of positivity and discipline. 

Curtez Kellman after his International Debut against Indonesia in 2017

Kellman who made his international debut for the Golden Jaguars back in 2017 at just 19-years-old in a friendly against Indonesia revealed that football was not his first love; “I started playing football as a teenager, I was already 13 or 14-years-old. The first sport I loved to play was cricket, I always used to prefer cricket over football”.

However, as he got into ‘Jogo Bonito’, the ‘Beautiful Game’, his preference quickly changed; “I believe I was meant to play football, it was always in my genes because my dad used to play and many other family members. I eventually joined the Georgetown Football Club (GFC) in 2014 and that’s where my football journey all started”.

The persons that he credits with his development are no strangers to Guyanese football; “After Vurlon Mills and Faizal Khan took over at GFC after the death of Coach Peter Lashley, under their guidance I quickly developed into the player I am today”. 

The guidance of Mills and Khan along with the support of his mother, father and many other relatives has meant alot to the youngster.

Mills who has been one of Guyana’s best footballers until his recent retirement from international duty has always been Kellman’s inspiration. “I have always looked up to Vurlon Mills due to the fact that he’s disciplined and gives good advice. He’s a mentor and has always been with me helping to ensure that I make good decisions. He has played a pivotal role in my development in the sport”. 

Curtez who admires the football of Sergio Busquets and Paul Pogba has played numerous positions in his career thus far and spoke about his role in football; “I’m a utility player but my preferred position is that of a Defensive Center Midfielder, I’m more of a player to break up plays, make passes going forward and also in keeping possession”.

Reflecting on his first call up to the Golden Jaguars, Guyana’s National team, Kellman revealed that it was a strange experience; “I first got called up to the National team at age 17 against the Canada U-23 side in 2016. Being the youngest in the camp was an odd feeling because I was not accustomed to being with more mature players, but gradually practicing with them I gained more confidence and I got used to it. It’s always an honour to represent your country and I want to continue working hard, to be in the best shape and the best of my ability so that I can be a main call up for the national side, that requires consistency which I always strive for”.

Presently, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Kellman who was on a scholarship to the Eastern Florida State College explained that budget cuts caused the College not to have a football program anymore which meant he was out of a scholarship. However, as good fortune would have it he was offered another scholarship from Daytona State College which he accepted with pride.

“I’ve gained a full scholarship from Daytona State and I will be completing my associates degree there, I have one more semester to do so. On the professional side of things I’m fully focused and I think this is the right opportunity now for me to be in a professional environment. I’m fully confident that I can and will succeed at the next level with the attributes I possess, the discipline that I have is key”.

Looking at the future, Curtez is full of ambition; “I’m working on getting a few tryouts with some professional teams and hopefully everything works out in my favour. I have realized that having a certified agent is very important and that’s what I’m currently working on. I don’t want to divulge any details as yet because it is not confirmed, but the agent that I’m in talks with had a professional career in the USA Major League Soccer (MLS) and he currently works with a lot of the MLS players”.

In a resounding statement, Kellman spoke of where he came from; “I grew up in East Ruimveldt and when people hear about that area, they always view it as a ‘bad’ area but we have a lot of good that comes out of our community and I am one of them. It is because of that perception of my community, I want people to look up at me as an inspiration to do good things and as a mentor”. 

“In life you will always face challenges and that’s reality but it always depends on how you face them as an individual”. 

Speaking directly to any youngster who has ambitions in sports, Kellman dropped this gem of advice; “Youths once you have aspired to do something, focus on following your dreams, do not let anyone tell you that you can’t do it or that you can’t make it. Always believe in yourself and work hard to achieve your goals”.

Guyana Olympic Association to host ‘Virtual Fitness’ event as part of Olympic Day activities

In the continuation of their Olympic Day 2020 activities, the Guyana Olympic Association (GOA) will be hosting a ‘Virtual Fitness’ event, the first of its kind on Thursday (July 9) at 6:30pm.

Although Olympic Day was on June 23, the GOA has a number of virtual activities planned; however this event which has never been tried before in the sports fraternity takes precedence and all athletes and sports associations are invited.

Dr. Karen Pilgrim who is the Caribbean Director of the Regional Anti-Doping Organisation (RADO) and Vice President of the GOA told The 592 Dugout; “Although we have had several virtual meetings, this will be our first attempt at a public event so we’re hoping it works”.

Dr. Karen Pilgrim

She explained; “The intention is to have a half-hour of Jazzercise; If you’re not familiar with that, It’s basically a fun aerobic and strength training programme.  This will be followed by about 15 minutes of strength training and no equipment is needed for either section”.

Quizzed about the move behind the event, Dr Pilgrim revealed that the GOA Executive discussed several ideas and agreed on a few events which will be carried out by the Olympic body.

Jazzercise is a dance fitness franchise company founded by Judi Sheppard Missett in 1969 and headquartered in Carlsbad, California, United States. The company currently has over 8,300 franchisees worldwide in 32 countries.

It combines dance-based cardio with strength training and stretching to sculpt, tone and lengthen muscles for maximum fat burn. Choreographed to today’s hottest music, Jazzercise is a fusion of jazz dance, resistance training, pilates, yoga, and kickboxing.

The ‘Virtual Fitness’ event which starts at 6:30pm via Zoom will be facilitated by trainers from ‘Guyana Jazzercise’ and ‘Spartan Fitness’.

The Login information is as follows:

Join Zoom Meeting: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/5082882516…

Meeting ID: 508 288 2516

Password: 1GPxZh

Persons are encouraged to sign in at 6:15pm and all are invited.

Titans Table Tennis Club planning for Life after Covid-19

  • Dick urges National Federations to unite & improve policies

The Covid-19 pandemic has affected the world throughout without discretion and has brought sports to a standstill. While in certain parts of the world professional football and motorsports have resumed behind closed doors and under specific conditions, it is unclear when it would be safe for sports in Guyana to make a return.

However, despite this uncertainty, Guyana’s leading table tennis institution, the Titans Table Tennis Club is remaining proactive in its plans for the future. Known for their almost factory-like production of top junior athletes, The Titans family has been putting their time during lockdown to good use.

In an exclusive interview, Titans’ President and Head Coach Dwain Dick, told The 592 Dugout that the younger athletes have been given a much needed break.

Dick opined; “I think the uncertainty of our return to normalcy is the biggest concern. Sports have been a big part of our lives as coaches, players, and even parents, thus, the pandemic has forced us to alter our schedules and our lives to some extent. It’s challenging, but we are all trying to cope, by focusing and prioritizing our areas that were somewhat a bit neglected because of table tennis. The younger athletes now have more time to rest and place emphasis on academics”.

Titans Head Coach Dwain Dick addressing his charges before a training session.

Despite there not being any guidance from the relevant sports authorities, the Titans administration has been busy looking ahead to when it is finally safe to resume operations.

To this end, Dick revealed; “We are presently drafting a set of safety protocols for the return of our senior (adult) and elite junior players as a trial. This would include temperature tests, wearing of masks, playing areas limited to only coaches and specific number of players, handling of equipment and a few other things that would have to be adhered to”.

Looking at the impact of the lockdown and it’s ripple effects, both negative and positive, the outspoken Titans President explained; “Our full time coaches were forced more or less to take up part time employment outside of sports so we are all trying to adjust. It is taking a financial toll on us as we still would have had some overheads but we are trying to cushion those expenses through our academic arm, the TTTC Virtual Learning Academy”.

He further revealed; “It’s an online platform where we offer students, student/athletes, and adults tutoring in subjects that propel them towards careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics)”.

He continued; “Since the inception of Titans I was offering CSEC Mathematics to club members with phenomenal success. It is just that this period has given us the opportunity to think and plan ahead a bit more seriously or in other terms, has forced us to consider opportunities in the present”.

Quizzed about plans for when the club can finally resume their operations, Dick revealed; “There are no immediate plans for tournaments but we are in the process of drafting our elite junior program, which hopefully we will be able to implement. It’s a junior program that will see us moving away from the recreational aspect into the professional (elite) realm”.

Dick who was a former national player appealed to everyone to be; “more responsible and cautious. As we put ourselves at risk, we also put others at risk too”.

In closing he encouraged the various national federations to; “Collaborate whether it’s virtually and use this period to strengthen and improve their policies etc, so that when sports resumes we can see them operating at the highest standards. They can use this time to communicate their vision and become more efficient and effective, as well as see ways how to improve athletes performances and how best to support athletes”.

“To the parents, emotional support provides the biggest benefits to young athletes, so continue to be that support. To my fellow coaches, adapt, and find ways to stay relevant. This time will pass”.

Dick further urged; “To the players, stay positive, there will be more chances and opportunities in the future. To become a great athlete it requires tremendous amounts of dedication, discipline, desire and effort. Stand up and face the present challenges. Stay positive, remember it’s not about a one time trip, it’s about self development, being the best that you can be”.