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Aug 10, 2001

National Jr. basketballers return from Bahamas

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On, July twenty-eighth the National Junior Basketball Team arrived in the Bahamas to compete in the CARICOM basketball tournament. But just a couple of hours before the team was scheduled to play against Barbados, they received the disturbing news that while the team could play it would not be allowed into the medal round. Why? Because Belize does not belong in the Caribbean. The team went on to valiantly win two games, not enough to qualify for the semi-finals in any case. Today at a press conference, Marshall Nunez, chairman of the National Sports Council, says he believes the move to keep Belize out of the tournament was a psychological ploy by our old nemesis, Barbados.

Marshall Nunez, Chairman, Nat’l Sports Council

“I think it was a strategy by the executive. The executive is dominated by members from Barbados and if you can recall in 1998 when Belize won the senior CARICOM championship we defeated Barbados. Then in 2000 when we went to the senior championship in Barbados, it was a questionable finish against Barbados with the games against Belize. So Barbados seem to have some fear in their hearts and minds about Belize basketball and they were trying to use whatever political clout they had at that tournament to get us out. What they did is the distraction, we took a small contingent and they were successful in distracting the team and having them worrying about out placing in the semi-finals and final rounds instead of just having to focus on the games and play the games well.”

Jacqueline Woods

“So what was the feeling like when you’ll reach there to only be told that you’ll could not advance to the medal round?”

Matthew Smiling, Coach, Nat’l Junior Basketball Team

“Well their faces sank when we told them that, but we had to get them up because we had a game against Barbados like two hours after that meeting. So it was like a down feeling and we had to get them back up two hours later to play against Barbados.”

Daniel Grant, Player

“To keep out spirits up we just kept focused. I really kept focused, I really wanted to win. This was my last year I could play in the CARICOM tournaments so I really wanted to win. I gave

it everything I gave it one hundred and ten percent. I don’t know through injuries and all I continued playing. I went to the hotel iced down injuries, just kept a good mind, prayed say a little prayer now and then and remembered those at home who wanted me to win, you know I did most of that to keep my spirits up.”

Grant sustained two bruised hips, a sprained right angle and back spasms. Smiling says that a week ago he was told that Belize would be moving from the Caribbean to the Central American region in future international basketball competition.

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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