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Mar 20, 2023

A Review of the Weekend in Sports

Good evening and welcome to another edition of Sports Monday, I am Paul Lopez.  It was another weekend of high-flying, goal-scoring and road-racing events across the country. We will tell you all about it in a few, but first in recognition of Child Stimulation Month, we would like to highlight two groups that are encouraging children to grow through play and discipline. Here is that story. It’s two-thirty on a Friday afternoon at St. Martin de Porres Primary School in Belize City. Students Breenah Brown and Sophia Bol have joined their fellow schoolmates inside the gymnasium for some lessons from the Belize Table Tennis Association.


Breenah Brown

Breenah Brown, Student, Saint Martin de Porres Primary School

“I the learn how fuh thing the ball pan the table.”


Paul Lopez

“What do you think about table tennis, is it something you like?”


Breenah Brown



Paul Lopez



Breenah Brown

“Because, you get to play.”


Sophia Bol

Sophia Bol, Student, Saint Martin de Porres Primary School

“I am learning to not let the ball drop off the table. I can learn it more and more. I like how I learn it. I like how you just bounce the ball on the table and you just do it again and again.”


Breenah and Sophia are being introduced to the basic rules and principles of ping pong, how to serve the ball, receive it, the perfect stroke and drive.


Arturo Vasquez

Arturo Vasquez, President, Belize Table Tennis Association

“This is collaboration between the Belize Table Tennis Association and the St Martin Primary School. Clearly the association is always in the schools looking for the young talents.”


At St. Martin’s, table tennis and other extracurricular activities are integrated into the children’s daily schedule as compulsory class time. Dawn Wade, the principal, continues to create opportunities for her students’ holistic development.


Dawn Wade

Dawn Wade, Principal, St. Martin de Porres School

“It helps to develop their brain mentally. It keeps them very sharp. It also develops their hand eye coordination, their speed, their agility, and overall health. So, in essence it really helps to develop the student overall.”


Arturo Vasquez

“In 2013 we started this and we actually started in seven primary schools. That resulted in some very top players that we have actually won Central American Championships, under eleven, under thirteen, under fifteen and under nineteen, those are the tournaments that we would compete in.”


And from table tennis to a discipline that is popular among police cadets, foot-drill. Some people may argue that foot-drill is not a sport. But, it took a lot of practice and dedication for these seven cadet groups, consisting of eighty-six children from across Belize District, to prepare for this competition. And, to show you just what it entails, here’s a brief look at some highlights from Saturday’s event in Belize City.


Being part of the cadet program is not only about learning to shout and follow a number of commands. Throughout the time spent in the program, these children gain valuable life lessons that contribute to their holistic development.


Howell Gillett

ACP Howell Gillett, Head, National Community Policing

“We go to young people from the age of eight and they could stay in the cadet program up to age seventeen when they graduate from the program. There are many cadets who have gone on to become soldiers, coast guard officers and a lot are in the police department, so that tell us a story and we must act on that story to help young people. Preventive policing is the harder work, simply because it takes a lot of time to be out with these cadets. They have been practicing since January for today and we are very pleased to see their performances.”


The San Pedro Police Cadets were declared the winner of the first-ever foot-drill competition. They will be representing the Belize District in the Foot-Drill Nationals.


Moving on now to some basketball action; the Belize Elite Basketball League is now in the second half of its 2023 season. The Benny’s Belize Hurricanes hosted the Punta Gorda Panthers inside the Belize City Civic Center on Friday night. That match ended one hundred and forty-three points to seventy-eight points in favor of the Hurricanes. Fans were anticipating the return of Kirk ‘Shabba’ Smith Junior, who was on suspension for the first half of the regular season. He played a total of thirty-one minutes and ended the match with sixteen points on the scoreboard. But, his performance was not as impressive as Tyrie Orosco’s who scored thirty-eight points and fourteen rebounds within twenty-four minutes of playtime. We will have to see more from Kirk Smith Jr. to give a comprehensive verdict on his value to this already stacked team.

Griga Dream Ballers upset the Belize City Defenders with a close finish, seventy-seven to seventy two points on Saturday night. Jahiem Ciego and Edgar Mitchell carried their team in that matchup, scoring twenty points and twenty-three points, respectively. Inside the U.B. Gymnasium in Belmopan, the Red Taigaz took on the San Pedro Tiger Sharks. San Pedro came out of that one with a much needed win, while the Orange Walk Running Rebels defeated Western Ballaz a hundred and one to eighty-nine points.  Orange Walk has won its last five games.  It remains the team to beat.


And from basketball to cycling, things are heating up for the Ninety-Third Annual Holy Saturday Cross Country Cycling Classic, scheduled for April eighth. This past weekend was all about the Fifth Annual Ernest Meighan Mount Hope Classic organized by the Cycling Federation of Belize. The one hundred and twenty mile race saw elite, junior, and master riders set off from Leslie’s Imports in Belize City all the way to Mount Hope in the Cayo District and back. At the end of the race, some four hours and forty-nine minutes later, it was Byron Pope who took the spot at the top of the podium for the second weekend in a row. Pope walked away with a trophy and a thousand dollar prize. Fans chanted “Lovell is back”, as seasoned rider Greg Lovell secured second place. Shawn Codd Junior was the third rider to the finish the race.


Byron Pope, Winner, 5th Annual Ernest Meighan Classic

“I gawn real real deep again for them. I was the domestique. I was doing a lot of riding earlier in the race for the team. But, unfortunately the guys who we had intended for the win today missed the split in the last and I said, mien, and I doubted myself because I was attacking and pacing early. So, I doubted myself. But this is a route I have trained a lot, going out to Mount Hope and back to the city I always do a good sprint after five or six hours ride, so I knew I packed a punch.”


Congratulations Pope, now the pressure is on for the Cross Country Cycling Classic. And, last, but certainly not least, the Belize Men’s National Football Team will be facing off against Guatemala in the CONCACAF Nations League B this Friday at the F.F.B. Stadium in Belmopan. This is the biggest match of the year thus far for our men’s national team and this game will be aired live exclusively on Channel 5. Over the past weekend, F.F.B. announced the final list of twenty-three players to compete in the upcoming match. Well folks that is all we have for this week, until next time, “Be Mindful that Nature is the Best Playground”.

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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