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Jan 27, 2006

Natl. Basketball Championships take over City Centre

Story PictureHeavy rains and school cancellations earlier this week may have threatened the National Primary School Basketball Championship games, but it appears nothing could have dampened the spirits of an enthusiastic crowd of children who showed up at the Belize City Centre today to compete and cheer for their peer players. This afternoon, News Five spoke with Marvin Ottley of the National Sports Council about the competition and basketball programmes in Belizean schools.

Marvin Ottley, Tournament Coordinator
?What we have is the district champions from all six districts representing their respective schools in their different districts. We have St. Alphonsus R.C. who represents the Stann Creek District and they are the defending champ. Wesley Upper is the defending sub-champ in the male division. So we expect that those two teams will hopefully be back tomorrow sometime, not excluding the other districts who do have very good players and we hope that their teams will play good enough that we could have some surprise for tomorrow.?

Karla Vernon
?How much attention do our primary school sports programmes pay to basketball, do you think it sufficient??

Marvin Ottley
?Well, no, we won?t say it?s sufficient, we certainly we would want more, more commitment. But at this present time, our five major disciplines that we do have tournaments for, we have at least ten thousand children across the country, so that is very little compared to the number of children that goes to primary school, but we think it is a fair number for us to work on and continue to improve on.?

?I am very enthusiastic, especially when they come this far, especially if you have a player or a team that repeats and comes back for a national; it is always interesting. Maybe it?s to see another district, to get to know somewhere new, or to come back and show that they could repeat as champ again.?

Games for the national championship continue on Saturday at the Belize City Centre. Besides holding tournaments, Ottley says the National Sports Council continues its workshops for teachers and coaches to help them develop sports in their schools.

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