– says sports director, Neil Kumar
“ His love for the sport has encouraged many competitive rivalries in and out of the game.you
The late President of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, Janet Jagan, preached fitness and was responsible for providing private pools for local swimmers, according to sports director Neil Kumar.
“The late President Janet Jagan was the one, when approached by the Guyana Amateur Swimming Association (GASSA) in the 1990s, which made many private swimming pools available,” Kumar said in an interview with this newspaper on Saturday. .
According to Kumar, Jagan was a firm believer in fitness and in the late 1960s when he first came into contact with her, she walked and swam a lot.
âHis love of the sport has encouraged many competitive rivalries inside and outside the party,â Kumar said.
âYou always have to keep and stay in shape,â said Kumar, that was his sporting motto.
Kumar said the sport was preached at the youth branch of the People’s Progressive Party, the Progressive Youth Organization (PYO) by the late Ms. Jagan.
Kumar, former sports secretary of the PYO organization, recalled that as a result, the inter-group competition was born, which had evolved into an inter-district competition, an inter-region and finally an inter-county competition in many sports disciplines.
Kumar said the area of ââwomen’s sports was one area where the late Ms. Jagan really pushed because she has always said the sport is not an all-male encounter and would be a frequent spectator of circle tennis matches.
Kumar recalled that when he started working for the New Guyana Company Ltd, which publishes The Mirror newspaper, as a proofreader in 1976,
Ms. Jagan was so keen on making sport a part of work that she insisted that competitions be held in the newspaper.
So began what Kumar called the “sports drive” within the newspaper, and frequent domino competitions were organized.
This, Kumar said, has led to regular domino competitions among the print media, namely the Stabroek News, the Guyana Chronicle and the Mirror Newspaper.
“She made me a journalist by encouraging me to start writing a sports column in the Mirror Newspaper (Sports by Neil),” Kumar noted, adding that this led to her being elevated to journalist in 1978. .
According to Kumar, when the PPP returned to power in 1992, the party was approached by swim coach Stephanie Fraser with the aim of revitalizing swimming and without any hesitation, Ms. Jagan agreed. The first pool to be made available was the Castellani Pool which, according to Kumar, was only used by former presidents.
This was followed by the Colgrain pool and a call from him to open the domain pools was made.
Kumar said Ms Jagan took it upon herself to make sure the Mackenzie Sports Club and Watooka pools were accessible to the public.
Kumar said he was disappointed that “Comrade Janet” did not live long enough to see “sports policy” come to fruition, as she had a close eye on this document and had tried in every way possible to assist in its completion.
This document, he said, should be tabled in the National Assembly before the end of this year.
“She was a very athletic person,” Kumar said, adding that Ms Jagan was the person behind the campaign by Culture, Youth and Sports Minister Dr Frank Anthony for a way of life healthy in sports.