Cuba-based boxers to arrive home today

first_img…NSC, GOA partner to see Boxers return after seven months in CubaBy Rawle ToneyAFTER seven months, Dennis Thomas, Desmond Amsterdam, Colin Lewis and Keevin Allicock, will finally leave Cuba and return to Guyana. The four boxers will arrive in the country via a specially-arranged Caribbean Airlines flight today.Egbert Field, Director General of the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), in interview with local online news outlet, said one flight was arranged for passengers in Cuba, Barbados and Jamaica, since there is not sufficient Guyanese at any of the locations to cover the cost of the charter.“Getting a flight to those locations is very difficult,” Field pointed out, while revealing that the cost of the charter is US$67,000.The article stated the Caribbean Airlines flight will be transporting 18 Guyanese passengers from Kingston Jamaica, followed by 35 persons in Havana Cuba and the remainder in Bridgetown Barbados.The aforementioned boxers had journeyed the Spanish-speaking Island in January, thanks to the help of the Guyana Olympic Association (GOA) and the National Sports Commission (NSC), to prepare for their now postponed Olympic Qualifier tournament in Argentina. But in March, after Cuba, just like many countries around the world, in an effort to stop the spread the coronavirus, had closed their airports, the boxers were left locked down on the Island.The GOA, the NSC and the Guyana Embassy in Cuba, came together and had taken up the responsibility to cater to the boxers until they’re able to leave. The amateur Guyanese pugilists, according to Director of Sports Christopher Jones, will be part of the almost 150 passengers that will arrive in Guyana today (July 24), along with Guyanese passengers from Jamaica and Barbados, who are now being able to return home since the country’s airports were closed in March.“We’ve been pushing for a while now and I want to recognize Ambassador Ivan Evelyn, as well as Ambassador Abdool Majeed in Cuba, as well as Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr Karen Cummings, for the work that they’ve been doing,” Jones told Chronicle Sport. Jones however reasoned that he’s remaining “hopeful that there’s no issue that will arise, so definitely we’re looking forward for that flight to arrive in Guyana.”Jones said the boxers would’ve already completed all that is necessary, including a recent COVID-19 test in keeping with the regulations put in place by the GCAA, to make their voyage back home.Meanwhile, Steve Ninvalle, president of the Guyana Boxing Association (GBA) who also sits as a Vice President of the American Boxing Confederation (AMBC) had told Chronicle Sport recently that the Olympic Qualifier tournament is now tentatively set to take place between February and March of 2021. He had admitted that despite being disappointed that the initial event was postponed, they will head back to the drawing board as soon as the boxers return home from Cuba.Apart from the boxers based in Cuba, Canada-based Taveena Kum is the lone female on Guyana’s five-member team that were set to feature in the Qualifier was scheduled for March 26 to April 4 in Argentina.He also felt that with amount of work done, Guyana was robbed of not seeing a boxer qualify for the Olympic Games, stating “the four boxers that we have in Cuba, they were trained to a peak; their mental strength was there to a peak and I think it would’ve been the first time that we would’ve had a qualifier for the Olympics in a very, very long time.”John Douglas, Guyana’s flag bearer for the 1996 Olympic Games, was the last boxer to represent the Golden Arrowhead at the IOC’s flagship event, where he lost in the first round of his light heavyweight clash with Germany’s Thomas Ulrich, who went on to claim bronze.last_img