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Jun 29, 1998

Karate selection prepares for France

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Good evening, I’m James Adderley and welcome to this edition of Sports Monday.

Saturday at the M.C.C. Grounds saw the National Cricket Competition try to reach its natural conclusion. It’s Brilliant of Crooked Tree in action against Tropical Disturbance in a rubber-match and indeed it seems this series may never finish. The defending champion Brilliant bats first and strikes for 106 runs but Tropical Disturbance comes up.

Announcer

“Lawrence Burner comes in and he switches. And the ball went in the air and it was missed. And there is one more ball for this ball game to say that Brilliant did not win. One more ball and let’s hope that is wicked, otherwise that’s the end of the ball game. That’s a drawn ball game.”

Hey this series ends up in a stalemate. Thus it will take at least another match before this hotly contested title is decided so look out for more fireworks at the M.C.C. Grounds this Saturday.

Turning to the karate scene, a contingent of 10 leaves Belize for France’s World Shoto Cup at the end of July and we caught up with Leonard Nuñez and Angelo Aquilar headed towards France for this most prestigious of karate competitions.

Leonard Nuñez

“We’ll be going to Paris the twenty-ninth of July to compete in the World Shoto Karate Tournament. This includes about a hundred and add other countries – you have from Europe, you have from South Africa, you have from South America, North America, Central America, Caribbean.”

Q: “Only members of the Belize Shoto Federation can make it to France?”

Leonard Nuñez

“Right, only members from the Belize Shoto Association.”

Q: “How was this group picked?”

Leonard Nuñez

“Groups have been picked by the top ranking karate athletes who are trained for the past six months for this tournament. So we don’t have any tournament at such national region to select our competitors. We just look at serious guys who have been training for a period of six months continuously.”

Q: “What will happen this time around? Are we at this level to be in the World Shoto Cup?”

Leonard Nuñez

“Yeah, we are at the level. This is not the first time we’ve been in the World Shoto Cup; this is our fourth time.”

Q: “Have you ever represented this country before?”

Angelo Aguilar

“No, this will be my first time.”

Q: “How do you feel about that?”

Angelo Aguilar

“Well, kinda nervous but I think I will do better because I’m training harder and I took part in this one to gain some experience.”

Q: “Will it be full contact that you’re participating or will it be the Kata?”

Angelo Aguilar

“Both.”

Finally we spoke to Paul Flowers of the B.N.B.A. to get a postscript on the fourteen CARICOM Basketball Championships.

Q: “Now that we’ve won the gold have the organizers reached their target in terms of excitement, in terms of basketball?”

Paul Flowers, P.R. Officer, B.N.B.A.

“I am absolutely sure we did. We did something on the final Friday that we felt would never have been accomplished when the new Belize City Centre was built – we closed the gates and put a sold out sign on the door. There were literally hundreds if not even a thousand people who said they wanted to gain access to the City Centre, who could not gain access because there was no more standing space.

And as far as the atmosphere inside the City Centre was concerned the crowd was on their feet for offense and defense – all of them. When the games were over and we won the gold, the crowd showed tremendous control and restraint by not stampeding on the court; they just held their ground and celebrated at their spot.

The entire event went on without any major physical incident, no fight. There was one small scuffle on Wednesday night and that’s the only slight incident that we can report. And, I think, even more stunningly was the fact that the entire Belizean audience listened to all the anthems of all the other countries, applauded at the end and sang their own national anthem as though it really meant something.”

Q: “Can we say that this entire CARICOM Tournament was the level of competition that we expected after having to settle for only a four team roster in the male division?”

Paul Flowers

“I believe so. You have to understand that the Caribbean countries are extremely poor and finance is the overbearing factor to making any of these tournaments. As a matter of fact, many of the teams have come and gone and are still very, very much in arrears and that is going to be a major issue. Many of the teams are definitely very much in arrears but to get the tournament off the ground we accepted some of their conditions because we had already invested and we needed the games to go on. But this is commonplace in the CARICOM Basketball Tournament. It’s commonplace and most teams who do not come, it’s not for lack of interest because all of these teams sent their managers, their managers come and they are all excited about basketball.”

Q: “Paul, I don’t know if I’m being very fair here but I figure your input in basketball is limited to this B.N.B.A. initiative for the CARICOM Games. We have a brand new court, we have brand new successes; we should have a brand new attitude, what happens next in Belizean basketball? The hoopla and fanfare is gone.”

Paul Flowers

“I have a sixty day contract; it’s up this Friday. I have no idea how the semi-pro basketball is structured or how it is run or what the organizational factor is like. I am not saying that I am not interested; I am open to a contract; I am open for discussions. But at this point I am neither qualified or authorized to make a statement.”

Q: “An impact of the CARICOM Games from Paul Flowers’ vantage point?”

Paul Flowers

“As far as I can see the CARICOM Games shattered a lot of myths and legends. I’m going to try and name off a couple: One, live television and live radio does not affect the amount of people who want to be in a stadium if the product is good enough. There’s is this whole myth that if the stuff is live nobody’s gonna wanna come.”

J.A.

“Being at the ball park is very different from being in the lounge chair.”

Paul Flowers

“True, very different. Secondly, Belize people it’s time for you to realize that that old fight mentality, the whole gang bang era is over. Yes there are a few gangsters around; there always were gangsters around but that whole warrior mentality – people don’t wanna have fun anymore, they just wanna show up and get in groups and fight, that is a dead issue.”

Hey folks, that’s our show for today. We invite you back same time, same place next week. Jah over all. I’m James Adderley.

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