L-R: Allison Feaster, Director of Sport Christopher Jones, US Embassy’s Deputy Chief of Mission, Terry Steers-Gonzalez; Agnus Berenato, women’s head coach at Kennesaw State University and by Elvis Valcarcel, assistant coach for Player Development for the New Orleans Pelicans. (Adrian Narine photos)
UNDER their ‘Sports Diplomacy’ initiative, the United States Embassy in Georgetown yesterday wrapped up a basketball clinic that was headlined by Elvis Valcarcel, assistant coach for Player Development for the New Orleans Pelicans, Agnus Berenato, women’s head coach at Kennesaw State University and former WNBA star guard Allison Feaster.
Over 50 participants, both male and female, gathered at the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall and were educated on training regimens and techniques, physical fitness and nutrition.
“We’re bringing our knowledge of the game here for the youths to build enthusiasm, build pride and build passion for the game. But also, we’re here to build on our knowledge of the game as well. We know basketball is a two-way street” Valcarcel told reporters before taking the court.
Agnus Berenato, women’s head coach at Kennesaw State University, demonstrates to some players what is required of them in the next drill.
Valcarcel, who spent the last decade of his life working in the world’s most popular professional basketball league (NBA), spoke of the importance of continued outreach programmes, adding “the NBA is not about growing their franchise or the association; it’s about helping to grow the game.
“I know basketball can take you to a lot a places; me personally, it has taken me all over, helped me to meet a lot of people, culture and so on. So that’s what the NBA is trying to grow.”
The US Embassy’s Deputy Chief of Mission, Terry Steers-Gonzalez, explained the importance of diplomacy in sports, telling the gathering of student athletes and coaches, that “a lot of diplomacy and a lot of what we do, not only at the US Embassy, but interacting with Guyana and Guyanese, has to do with finding compromise, working as a team and working under hard situations, as well as learning how to be graceful. That’s what this activity is all about.”
Director of Sport Christopher Jones said the National Sports Commission (NSC) was happy to partner with the US Embassy on the programme.
According to Jones, “Sports throughout the world unite people” while further stating that “essentially, this programme will empower our athletes and basketball in general.”
“The NSC lauds the US Embassy and rest assured this is not the first and final and we will be knocking on the doors of the Embassy, to ensure that similar programmes are had in 2018 and beyond, or, perhaps even further if we expose some of our athletes for a camp,” Jones said.