Major boost for junior athletes with the return of the sponsorship program – The Royal Gazette


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The junior award recipients and their representatives at the Hamilton Princess yesterday. (Photograph by Mark Tatem)

National Junior Athlete Sponsorship Program Award: Dage Minors (Photo by Akil Simmons)

Jekon Edness, Senior Sports Development Officer (photo by Mark Tatem)

Dr Ernest Peets, Minister of Youth, Culture and Sports (Photo by Mark Tatem)

After a year of absence due to the pandemic, the national sponsorship program for junior athletes of the Ministry of Youth, Culture and Sports returned yesterday with more than $ 50,000 given to ten athletes and five governing bodies of the sport over lunch yesterday at the Hamilton Princess and Beach Club.

“We had a gap year last year, but we had to get the program back on track so that we could continue to develop our elite athletes,” Jekon Edness, senior sports development manager, told the audience.

Ernest Peets, Minister of Youth, Culture and Sports, also reiterated the government’s commitment to the development of young people in sport, with athletes from sports such as tennis, motorcycle racing, sailing, Martial arts, volleyball, swimming, soccer, boxing, horseback riding and cycling funded. “Due to the challenges of Covid, as you can imagine, this year’s schedule has been tweaked slightly to allow our NSGs [national sports governing bodies] to integrate the use of international coaches to help the selected pool of junior athletes on our island, ”said the Minister. “We can say without a doubt that we are united, we are committed to the development of our young people through athletics and through sports.”

Antonio Warner, a 14-year-old tennis player, received $ 3,900 through the Bermuda Lawn Tennis Association for training at the Sarah Vande Berg Tennis Center in Tampa, Florida.

Warner was crowned champion of the 12 and under division at the Sagicor COTECC junior tournament in Saint Lucia and was later chosen to participate in the International Tennis Federation training camp of the Central American Tennis Confederation and the Caribbean in the Dominican Republic,

Sailor Sebastian Kempe, 15, who aspires to represent Bermuda at the 2024 Olympics in France, received $ 4,091 through the Bermuda Sailing Association to participate in the World Youth Sailing Championships in Mussanah, Oman.

Jediah Cumbermack, 15, a promising motorcycle racer, received $ 3,196 through the Bermuda Motorcycle Racing Association to train and compete in the M1GP in California.

Szaine Williams, a 14-year-old martial artist who aspires to compete in the 2022 Wushu World Junior Championships, received $ 2,891 through the Bermuda Sanshou Association to train at the United Martial Arts Training Center in Lubbock, Texas.

$ 3,091 was donated to the Bermuda Volleyball Association to help develop 15-year-old Natalie Gazzard, who has represented national teams at the under-14, 16 and 18-year-old levels. The funds will allow Gazzard to attend Jax Beach Volleyball Camp in Daytona Beach, Florida.

Swimmer Finn Moseley, 16, who represented Bermuda at the Carifta Games and CCCAN from 2017 to 2019 will receive $ 2,698 through the Bermuda Amateur Swimming Association to attend the Plymouth Leander Academy in Devon, England .

Footballer Caleb McDowall who will receive $ 3,030 through the BFA to train at Watford Football Academy in England has also been sponsored; equestrian Kayla Bardgett $ 4,900 to train with Wendy Arndt in South Carolina and boxer Kahlil Smythe $ 3,520 to compete in the Arnold Classic in Ohio.

Cyclist Liam Flannery received $ 3,182 through the Bermuda Bicycle Association to participate in the UCI Junior World Championships in Belgium.

Grants were also awarded to the Bermuda Basketball Association ($ 4,405) for their Advanced Youth Development Clinic featuring coach Jamaal Jackson; the Bermuda Cricket Board ($ 5,400) for their Gary Palmer batting clinic and the Bermuda Netball Association ($ 4,350) for their Tracey Neville workshop.

Funds of $ 3,879 and $ 1,500 respectively have been awarded to the Bermuda Triathlon Association and the Bermuda Golf Association for the Jack Maitland Camp and the TPI Camp featuring local golf professionals.

The program was started in 1994 with 65 percent of athletes representing Bermuda at the senior level.

Runner Dage Minors, a 2012-13 scholar who was a six-time All-American while at Franklin Pierce University in New Hampshire, was the guest speaker at the lunch. Minors was also the first Bermudan athlete to win the elite category of the Front Street Mile in 2018 and holds several national records.

“I wish you the best in your future endeavors. Always be ready to learn more about your sport, your competitors and the different training methods, ”he told the athletes.

“Every day try to improve yourself, be humble and respect the process. We won’t all take our sports to the next level, but the things we learn as athletes will make us better humans and members of society. “

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