… Tackling Sports Policy key criteria under new administrationBy Clifton RossMINISTER of Culture, Youth & Sport, Charles Ramson Jr, has promised a bright future for athletes and media operatives as his new administration plans to holistically reshape sports, thus broadening Guyana’s spectrum for the future.Yesterday’s media debriefing held at Duke Lodge in Kingston was the first of its kind in recent history as the recently appointed Sport Minister sought to familiarise himself with the senior core of Guyana’s sport media faction.The highly interactive session touched on a wide range of topics, including those plaguing sports as well as endeavours, future objectives and short-term plans to reshape the totality of how sports is run in Guyana for the next few years going forward.Meeting with Sports AssociationsMinister Ramson, who grew up as an avid cricketer playing for the Georgetown Cricket Club (GCC), took off his ministerial cap, as he recently met with a number of local sport bodies to have an idea of the current state of things and potential progressive ways forward.“I have to meet with more associations, because sports is not in good shape, it’s very disorganised,” said the minister who admitted that he had been trying to make assessments from the outside looking in, but his reality was confirmed following taking up his new post as Head of Sports in Guyana.He stated that ‘talented persons’ are needed to take things into the international level and as such he plans to do a full assessment of sports and organisations while calling for those bodies to further share in the responsibility as it is now time for all stakeholders to be heavily involved in the affairs of the sports sector.Minister Ramson also assured associations that no form of mistreatment will be handed out, referring to admittance by some about being treated unfairly in the past by the previous administration.“Sports is not just a hobby or a pastime, it’s a business”Regarding the current role of sports in Guyana, the minister believed that the evolution had already begun and had eclipsed being just a way to pass the time or just a fad for some. Rather, Ramson was firm on Sports playing a huge role in the business world here locally with the possibility of going international.“Sports is not a hobby or a pastime it’s a business, it’s also an antisocial deterrent. Big money that comes from sports is sponsorships. We have to become an event-driven ministry. We need to have mass engagement and in order to change the trajectory of sports we have to give sponsorship avenues to local and overseas sponsors.”Social Media was also identified by the minister as a key platform of boosting the level of sports locally. He believed that the government along with associations should team up and have a social media outlet where they can properly and transparently market themselves for sponsorship, but on a much larger scale.SPORTS POLICY AND MORE CULTURAL INVOLVEMENT With regard to the Sports Policy which has been on the table for a number of years under all the previous administrations, Minister Ramson was adamant that the policy was crucial and revealed that the draft will be shared in the near future with the media – something he said will help to make better decisions for the future of sports in Guyana.Speaking on the other responsibilities of the ministry, Ramson said, “It’s not just sports we will be dealing with, it is culture, youth and sports. It’s a cross pollination of all sector heads, we want to tap into the cultural aspects along with sports. It’s a good fusion to create and one which will entertain Guyanese and help up appreciate each other and relish in our country’s diversity”.SHORT-TERM GOALS As for plans leading up to the weeks to come, the minister noted that he will have his hands full tackling a number of sports-related issues as he looks to fully get himself acquainted with what has been happening in Guyana’s sport world.“We are in discussions with all sports associations to see how their facilities are and how they can be used in the best optimal way. We also want to examine which sports can and cannot be played amidst the pandemic,” he stated.Minister Ramson further revealed that the identity of the new Director of Sport will be confirmed in the weeks to come as they are currently in the process of interviewing persons.Plans to meet with media personnel at least twice a year in order to strengthen ties were also part of the new administration’s short-term policies.
For the second time in three days, the No. 3 Wisconsin men’s basketball team has a 30-point victory under their belts.After the Badgers took down Northern Kentucky 62-31 Friday night, UW (2-0) followed that up by blowing out Chattanooga (1-1) Sunday afternoon at the Kohl Center 89-45.Preseason First Team All-Big Ten selection Sam Dekker led the way for the Badgers scoring a game-high 18 points to go along with four rebounds and two assists. The Big Ten’s preseason Player of the Year Frank Kaminsky added 15 points, 10 rebounds and four assists to pick up his second double-double in as many games. Traevon Jackson (16) and Nigel Hayes (15) followed after Dekker and Kaminsky in the scoring column for UW.Hayes continued to show prowess on the glass, adding 13 rebounds to pick up his first double-double of the season. He also knocked down his much-anticipated first career three-pointer in the first half.The Badgers jumped out to an early lead on the Mocs scoring the first eight points of the game en route to a 20-4 advantage a little more than five minutes into the contest. UW shot 58.1 percent (18-for-31) from the floor including 54.5 percent (6-for-11) from beyond the arc and took a 52-21 lead into halftime.Four Wisconsin players hit double figures in the first half with Sam Dekker leading the way with 13 points. Hayes finished the first half with a double-double, going for 10 points and 10 rebounds. UW outrebounded the Mocs 26-8 and held them to only 28.6 percent shooting in the first half as well. Wisconsin ended up outrebounding Chattanooga 49-21 over the course of the game.“Wisconsin’s a great team. I really like their team,” Chattanooga head coach Will Wade said. “They did a phenomenal job. We’re a team that relies a lot on offensive rebounding and obviously you’re not going to get a lot of those when you play Wisconsin.”It was much of the same in the second half as the Badgers dominated the Mocs on the glass and offensively, outscoring Chattanooga 37-24. The Mocs finished the game shooting only 32.1 percent (18-for-56) and just 27.3 percent (6-for-22) from three. After shooting just 23.5 percent from three in their opening game against Northern Kentucky, UW bounced back and shot 44.4 percent (8-for-18) from beyond the arc Sunday.“That’s 24 points on 18 shots. That’s what you want,” Ryan said.Chattanooga is well-known for their up-tempo offense and “chaos” defense that forces turnovers which leads to fast break points. The Mocs scored 110 points in their first game of the season but the Wisconsin defense held them to no fast break points Sunday as they committed just nine turnovers, largely taking Chattanooga out of their preferred style of play.“They can create some chaos and that’s what they advertise,” Ryan said. “I thought our guys stayed really solid. We had three turnovers there in the last couple of minutes which we shouldn’t of had. But other than that, for about 36 minutes, 37 minutes, I thought we did a real good job of getting looks that we wanted.”“You can’t run it against Wisconsin,” Wade said of his offense. “They would’ve scored 130 points on us if we would’ve run it against them, so we had to back off of it.”Sophomore forward Vitto Brown once again came off the bench and provided valuable minutes in the absence of fellow forward Duje Dukan. Brown finished the day with six points and was third on the team with nine rebounds. In two games so far this season, Brown has played 34 minutes and contributed 13 points and 13 rebounds.“I just want to come in and make a positive impact on the game,” Brown said. “I think getting offensive rebounds and defensive rebounds allows our team to have more opportunities to score.”“It’s real simple in the way we play. Play defense and rebound and take your scoring opportunities when they come,” Ryan said of Brown. “So he’s done that in his first two games but we’ll play against bigger teams where some of our bigs will be challenged more inside. But he’s brought great energy off the bench.”Wisconsin will continue their four-game home stretch to open up the season when they take on Green Bay Wednesday night at the Kohl Center. Tipoff is scheduled for 8 p.m.