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Nov 2, 2009

Student athletes awarded for endurance under pressure

Story PictureWhen a group of Belizean students travelled to Costa Rica to participate in a series of sporting events in September, they made the news because they encountered problems at the Honduras/Nicaragua border due to the political situation in Honduras. The students returned to Belize by plane and were again in the news because their performance was not up to par. Well, tonight the story is on a more positive note and the young athletes were recognized for representing their country. Minister Elvin Penner spoke to News Five at the award ceremony at the City Center and he says the students’ efforts could not go unrecognized.

Elvin Penner, Minister of Youth and Sports
“It was hard for us to ask all hundred and fifteen or so athletes to come here today but we really wanted to at least let the country know what actually happened, that these students were actually out there representing us. So what we asked them to do is give us some names of schools, teams and individuals that did an outstanding job out there in Costa Rica and that’s how we decided—the association gave us the name of St. Catherine’s Academy, who actually had a pretty good record but just missed the medal rounds by a few points. We had two basketball players who played exceptionally well and in fact were a couple of the best players that participated in this event in the male category. Didn’t win a medal either but they played very, very well and were spoken about a lot out there. We had the young man Mr. Awe, who even throwing the shot-put with his left hand instead of his right hand, almost making it into the medal rounds as well. During the time of us planning this event and actually hosting it today, we’ve had three other developments which we included into this event, which was the cricket team winning silver medals in Chile, Ms. Bailey being inducted into the Hall of Fame of softball and of course, myself and two other guys from Belize representing our country in a fishing tournament.”

Delahnie Bain
“When the students came back from Costa Rica, there was a lot of buzz in the media about that the reason that they did not perform as well as they would have liked to was a lack of training and things like that and facilities. Is the ministry working on anything to address that as yet?”

Elvin Penner
“We are certainly looking at it. We have one major stadium being worked on right now which is the Marion Jones Stadium. One of the complaints has always been that when we go outside of Belize we have a hard time competing properly because we don’t have any facilities especially in track and field to do proper training in Belize. We certainly, at this point in time cannot offer a proper facility per district, but we would certainly hope to have one here in Belize City very shortly where these athletes can come and train.”

Penner says that while sporting facilities may not be the top priority during these financially tough times, sport scholarships will be offered to primary school students.

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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