The morning Opening Ceremony on Friday 16th September, 2016, of the Indigenous Heritage Games 2016 at the Everest Sports Ground, Eve Leary, Georgetown, began with a colourful March-Past of the Athletes from nine of the Regions led out by the GDF Drum Corps.
The morning proceedings were chaired by Sports Producer, Mr. John Ramsingh who welcomed everyone and introduced Mr. Joel Fredericks, the NTC Chairperson who said a Prayer for the Gathering followed by the gathering reciting the National Pledge before the Speeches.
President of the Foundation, Ms. Vidushi Persaud-McKinnon speaking on behalf of the Guyana Sport Shooting Foundation (GSSF) expressed delight at the opportunity to participate in the Indigenous Heritage Games 2016.
She opined that “anyone with a modicum of intelligence will recognise that the term “sport shooting” is not restricted to the bang bang of firearms being discharged: it embraces all sporting events which involve the launching or shooting of projectiles at targets. This expansive concept of sport shooting was given tangible expression on July 31, 2015 when the Guyana Sport Shooting Foundation was accredited as a permanent member of the prestigious World Archery Foundation.”
She went on to point out that significantly, Archery has been emerging as a sport involving the participation of indigenous people across the globe. Canada will host the World Indigenous Peoples’ Games in 2017. In neighbouring Brazil, a trio of youngsters with only a few years training went head-to-head with the country’s elite, attempting to become Brazil’s first indigenous Olympic athletes.
The young Brazilians did not make it to the Olympics but the pilot project aimed at capitalising on traditional indigenous skills was vindicated. And here in Guyana she pointed out that the obvious area of traditional indigenous skill which ought to be transported to the national and Olympic level is Archery.
She went on to state that historically, members of our indigenous communities employed archery for hunting. “Our association with archery was reflected in our primary insignia of statehood …. Our national flag is fondly and familiarly referred to as “the Golden…. Arrowhead!”
“We learnt of the use of archery over the years in our literature and religious texts …. of deities and heroes in several mythologies who were described as archers including the Greek god Apollo, the Roman Cupid, the German William Tell, the Indians Ram and Arjuna, the West African Yoruba deity of the hunt, Osoosi, who is identified with bow and arrow and the adoption of archery as a British tradition dating back to the tales of Robin Hood. Then we were weaned on the western movies of the so-called “Red Indians” using bow and arrow to hunt buffalo and to ward off intrusion unto their land.
However, since the 1920’s professional engineers took an interest in archery and the traditional craft experts gave way to the commercial development of new forms of bow, including the modern recurve and compound bow.
Mrs. Persaud-McKinnon pointed out to the gathering that the good news is that the International Archery bodies have assured the Guyana Sport Shooting Foundation of their commitment to the promotion of Archery sport shooting in this country. The Foundation can see members of our indigenous communities, the natural inheritors of the sport of Archery, coming forward as Team Guyana to bring home that elusive Gold Medal at the Olympics! Indeed, she went on to say that she can feel it in her bone that the future world champions were standing right there in the audience.
She stated that the selection process starts as early as the following afternoon right there on the Grounds with the Archery Qualification Exercise. The Finals Archery Competition will be on Sunday from 3-5p.m.
Also speaking at the Opening Ceremony was the Director of Sport, Mr. Christopher Jones.
The Honourable Minister Valerie Garrido-Lowe, Minister within the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs delivered her Feature Address to the competitors and fans gathered and formally declared the Games open.
The Guyana Sport Shooting Foundation extends best wishes for a productive weekend of activities.
Photo 1: from right to left: Ms. Vidushi Persaud-McKinnon, Mr. Christopher Jones, Honourable Minister Lowe delivering feature address and Mr. John Ramsingh.
In photo below:
Ms. Vidushi Persaud-McKinnon delivering her speech on behalf of GSSF flanked by Mr. John Ramsingh on her right and Mr. Besham Ramsaywack, Co-Ordinator of the Heritage Games 2016 on her left.