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May 25, 2004

Young athletes shine in school championships

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Good evening, I?m James Adderley and we?re rolling out this latest dish of Sports Monday. The Regent Insurance Cup playoffs produce high drama at the M.C.C. Grounds on Sunday as defending champion Kulture Yabra of Belize City hosted Sagitun of Independence in a must win situation.

The need for three points prompts the city team to go shopping real early when in its first possession, when this wicked centre from Elvir Espejo finds Deon Frazier who comes up empty this time.

At the other end, Sagitun?s response is immediate and effective. This header from number seven Mark Leslie crashes into the crossbar, but Wilmer Garcia finds himself at the right time at the right place, as Yabra find themselves down 1-zip some three minutes in.

But wait, is it a goal or not? After consulting his linesmen the reference rules it is and Sagitun breathes a sigh of relief.

Of course, Sagitun knows a 1-nil lead at this level of play is absolutely not safe, so they look for more off this Francis Arzu punch that is handled well by Elias Pelayo.

Yabra?s response finally comes from Emory Nunez with this potent left foot smash that sees Darren Hinds come up with a real spectacular save.

Meanwhile, Yabra?s best opportunity to score in first half comes on this mad scramble in front of the Sagitun goal that sees Norman Nunez?s delicate push get rejected by Peter Mariano covering for his fallen goal keeper.

At the thirty-ninth minute of the half, this Emory Nunez centre finds Elvir Espejo whose header crashes behind Darren Hinds and it?s a 1-1 game at intermission.

So whose gonna break the 1-1 tie in second half? Well Sagitun mounts this effort off this set piece, but Pelayo steps up again. The Brazilian, Marcos Soto, tries again to put his team ahead, but this open look at goal is directly at Pelayo who hangs on.

It?s more Sagitun when Robert Mushlar catches up with this floater inside the box, but his effort from point-blank range falls short of expectations.

At the other end, Elvir Espejo mounts this nice individual effort that gets him taken down inside the eighteen by Jose Lara and the referee rules penalty.

Yabra goes to team leader Norman Nunez for the lead, but he doesn?t fool Darren Hinds who comes up with the save as the ballgame as the result settles for a 1-1 final score. For certain, Kulture Yabra desperately needed the three points, but they still remain with a shot at making the playoffs.

In other action from around the league, Juventus bombed the Calcutta Bulls 3-1 at the People?s Stadium on Saturday night and Builder?s Hardware Bandits burned the San Pedro Seahawks 1-zip on Sunday.

As a result, Juventus now leads in the standings with twenty points, they are assured of making the playoffs; Griga United shows eighteen points, Sagitun has seventeen, while the Seahawks, the Bandits, and Kulture Yabra are all tied at fifteen apiece, while Calcutta Bulls still have only one point with two matches remaining to the conclusion of regular season.

From the M.C.C. Grounds in Belize City we head north to the Ricalde Stadium at Corozal where our colleague Patrick Jones was on hand for the National Primary School Track and Field Championships.

Patrick Jones, Reporting

Primary School children from all six districts competed against each other in long jump, shot put, distance walking, relay races, and hurdles. The level of competition, even among the nation?s youngest athletes was as good as any senior track and field championship. A view shared by Keishmer Salazar from Mary Hill School in Corozal, who anchored his team?s victory in the finals of the relay race.

Keishmer Salazar, Student, Mary Hill Primary

?It?s a very exciting thing for me, and I enjoyed it.?

Patrick Jones

?What do you think about the level of competition that you met at the championship this year??

Keishmer Salazar

?For my team mates, thanks to them we won. It was difficult but we still won.?

While the team concept held true throughout the championships, there were individuals who stood out in the competition, like Ashton Neal of Belize City who was impressive in his jump for top honours, and Nykemah Kuylen of Sacred Heart School in Dangriga, who easily out sprinted the rest of the field in the infant A female relay.

According to Hugh Staine of the National Sports Council, the Primary Schools Track and Field Championships are an important stepping stone for the next generation of athletes.

Hugh Staine, Coordinator, Track & Field Championships

?We are trying to take this to the highest level possible at the primary level so that as the kids go on they continue in their different disciplines. What we have to try to do is identify for the kids the discipline that they are stronger in because when we enter tournaments some kids are participating in all five tournaments.?

Patrick Jones

?What is being done to ensure that they specialize??

Hugh Staine

?Well what we are trying to do this summer is to do a coaches and officiating workshop and then what we do to join closely with the Secondary School Association. And from the Secondary School Association, we try to put in what is a junior-varsity. The junior-varsity will be that then the kids will have to specialize in one event because then they will not be able to participate?the way how it will run they would not be able to participate in more than one competition at a time.?

But before that system is implemented, students like Arbony Meighan and Evan Thompson, both of St. John Vianney School of Belize City, will continue to compete in multiple disciplines. While Meighan walked away with several gold medals and the M.V.P. trophy in the Infant B female category, winning at the highest level in her division is not as easy as it looks. And her secret for winning?

Arbony Meighan, MVP, Infant B Division

?like training and warming up to run. I tried my best to come in first…I feel happy and proud of myself.?

Nykemah Kuylen, Infant A Division MVP

?Well I didn?t know I was about to get the M.V.P. I wasn?t expecting the M.V.P.?

Patrick Jones

?When you came here did you expect to find this level of competition??

Nykemah Kuylen


Patrick Jones

?How did you prepare for it??

Nykemah Kuylen

?By practicing everyday with my coach.?

Patrick Jones

?The culmination of the primary schools track and field championships over the weekend gives officials of the National Sports Council, and some of these same athletes at least three weeks to rest and recover before the boys and girls take to the diamond, more than likely at the Joan Garbutt Stadium in Esperanza for the softball championships. At the Ricalde Stadium in Corozal, Patrick Jones for Sports Monday.?

Patrick Jones in Corozal Town, we certainly thank you for the report.

Turning to the karate scene, the National Shotokan Karate Tournament presented Sunday at Belmopan saw many athletes and many Belizeans perform. However, they also saw former burn victim Asha Pasteur strike for gold in the open team kata event. Coming back from such a disaster, we?ve got to say, we salute you Asha.

And finally folks, the Mayor?s Co-ed Softball Tournament in Orange Walk now ended in dramatic fashion yesterday as Falcons clobbered unknown Strikers thirteen to seven to take that title. Hey, again we say congratulations.

That’s it for now. We invite you back same time, same place next week. Jah over all, I’m James Adderley.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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