The Annual Bequia Basketball Tournament bounced off on Saturday July 9th at the Clive Tannis Hard Court in Port Elizabeth, Bequia, with (14) Fourteen registered teams in three divisions, which includes the First, Second and Under 16.
The Tournament, now in its 13th season, runs from July 9th to August 28th, 2011,with games four nights per week; Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Second Division Team Wizards was adjudged best dressed, following the traditional march past of teams and inspection by dignitaries, who included the Hon Dr. Loraine Friday, Representative of the Northern Grenadines, Mr. Nelson Hillocks, Director of Sports, Ms Shiyana Valentine, Director of Adonal Foyle’s Kerosene Lamp Foundation, Mr. Cleophas Glynn, President of the National Federation, and Ms Sabrina Mitchell, President of Bequia Basketball and Secretary General for Caribbean Basketball.
During her opening address, Mitchell spoke of the tremendous growth of basketball on the small island of Bequia, with the addition of thirty-six new young players, ages eight to fourteen on three newly formed teams, the Hawks, Rockets and Titans, who will be playing in competition for the first time. She credits this development to Coaches Michael Peniston and Kelan Edwards, who have established a successful weekend program for kids during the past year, which has attracted a huge turnout of eager new athletes. Mitchell proudly stated that Bequia Basketball partnered with the coaches in sponsoring the kids, by providing their uniforms, coaches and managers, to ensure the development of already vibrant Under 16 division, which lays the foundation for the future of the game. She stated that the hoops would be lowered and the length of the game adjusted to create a better opportunity for the little ones to acclimatize. She urged families and friends to support the young players as they embark on the start of a healthy lifestyle. She spoke of her disappointment that more business places don’t see the merits of supporting our young teams, as few teams are lucky enough to have sponsors and players struggle to fund their own uniforms every year. She commended Bequia Tech and Managing Director Warren Campbell for being the exception, with his sponsorship of the Rising Stars First Division team, and also to W &W Supermarket in Paget Farm who assisted the Second Division Rising Stars. She also recognized the staff of the Frangipani Hotel, who act as behind the scenes support of the tournament, and without whose contribution the tournament in its current format would not be possible.
While highlighting the rapid growth and continued success of basketball on Bequia, Mitchell thanked the National Sports Council for funding two new quality gates to the facility, but urged the Ministry of Sports to resolve the lighting issues on the hard court. Currently only two of eight lights are in operation, having recently blown out. Director of Sports Nelson Hillocks spoke of his great admiration for the Bequia Association and made mention of the Sports Award given to Mitchell earlier in the year, which he endorsed, acknowledging her stellar contribution to the development of sports in SVG. He pledged his commitment on behalf of Minister Stephenson to resolve the lighting problems with urgency, to ensure the competition could continue unhindered. Area Representative, Dr. Godwin Friday spoke of the growth and knowledge of the game in Bequia, which has changed from his youth, and applauded the team of dedicated individuals who work so hard to keep the sport going, despite the many sacrifices it involves. He spoke of the importance of the game to the Bequia community and urged the Ministry of Sports to construct a covering over the bleaches to allow the fans to shelter the rain. President of the National Federation, Mr. Cleophas Glynn gave some inspiration messages to the players and congratulated the Bequia Association for being ìone of the best organized sporting organizations in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and the Caribbean!î
Visiting team from the mainland Calliaqua United also joined in the auspicious ceremony, playing in the feature game vs. the Bequia All-Stars. Calliaqua defeated the Bequia Team 81 to 79. Games continue on Wednesday night at 7pm.
Registered teams as follows:
Under 16 Division: Hawks, Titans, Rockets, Young Wizards and Hornets.
Second Division: Wizards, Young Blazers, Rising Stars and Young Duke
First Division: Duke, East Blazers, Bequia Tech Rising Stars, Warriaz and Gladiatorz.