Jones, Ninvalle ‘touch gloves’ over treatment of Cuba-based boxers

first_imgBy Rawle ToneyWHILE president of the Guyana Boxing Association (GBA) Steve Ninvalle continues to battle for the return of the four boxers left in Cuba, Director of Sport Christopher Jones said that the National Sports Commission (NSC), along with Guyana’s Ambassador to Cuba, Halim Majeed, will continue to do his best to aid the amateur pugilists.Guyana’s Ambassador to CubaBoth Ninvalle and Jones offered contrasting reports on the well-being of Dennis Thomas, Desmond Amsterdam, Colin Lewis and Keevin Allicock, who travelled to the Spanish-speaking country to prepare for their now cancelled Olympic Qualifier tournament in Argentina, but could not have made it out in time after Guyana, like most of the world, had closed their borders and port of entries to help contain the spread of COVID-19.“It’s painful having to be informed of their deterioration,” Ninvalle told Chronicle Sport yesterday, adding that the GBA “would’ve hoped by this time we would’ve received a response from the task force, whether it’s no, yes or maybe.”“There’s not a lot more that we can tell our boxers, other than just hold on. But frustration has clearly stepped into the camp and we can’t say where we will go from here. In the very near future we would like to have a response which is favourable to give a glimmer of hope to these ambassadors,” Ninvalle said.However, when contacted, Jones provided evidence to add contrast to his claims that the boxers were properly taken care, since being moved from Santa Clara to Havana last month and are in the care of Guyana Government, through the Embassy.Christopher Jones – Director of Sport“I noted the word used on two occasion – deterioration … I mean the word gives you the impression that these guys are huddling on the floor and there’s a blanket and a pillow,” Jones said.The Director of Sport went on to explain that the boxers are housed at a villa in Havana, which is also used by the Guyana Embassy to accommodate officials during visits to the Island.“I don’t understand the constant use of the word deterioration as if their accommodation is not fitting … they are staying in a villa, where they are staying on an entire floor by themselves. The sports commission has a bill that they have to pay for, over the last month, at a tune of G1.97M for the last month,” Jones reasoned.The NSC, along with the Guyana Olympic Association (GOA), had pooled their resources to send the boxers to Cuba, a country that is reputably known for producing Olympic champions, for them to get the much-needed preparation for their tournament in Argentina, where they were hoping to qualify for the Tokyo Games.STEVE NINVALLEHowever, the GBA was left counting its losses in the millions, after International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Americas Boxing Confederation (AMBC) announced in early March that the Americas Olympic Qualifier for boxing has been cancelled because of fear of spread of the Coronavirus.Things took a turn for the worse when the Government of Guyana closed their ports of entry, leaving many, including the boxers, stranded.Ever since, the boxers were in the care of the NSC and Guyana Embassy, as Jones pointed that “Cuba, as compared to many other countries, got their many issues with regard to geopolitics; everyone knows about the sanctions that are imposed upon Cuba and therefore certain basic food commodities are not readily available in that country, that is known,” as he further dismissed some other allegations.While Ninvalle had written to the Task Force, Jones said that he was only copied in the letter, but was adamant that the issue of finding and securing a flight for the boxers’ return was out of his hands.Jones said that efforts were being made by the Government of Guyana, to bring close to a total of 140 students in Cuba back home, and plans were in place to have the boxers on the same flight.However, Jones said that after the Cuban Government had opened their classrooms for the Universities to have sit-in classes, the students recanted their request to return, which ultimately affected the boxers.With June 3 dated by the COVID-19 Task Force as it relates to the reopening of the country’s airports and borders, Jones is hoping that some patience is exercised and in the interim, along with Ambassador Majeed, the Government of Guyana, through the NSC, will continue to aid the boxers.last_img