BELIZE CITY–There is a lot to be desired in the preparation of Belize high school teams that represent the country in the regional CODICADER Games. Participating student/athletes must be under 18 years of age, but we were not aware that there is also a lower age limit. And apparently, some of our high school officials were either reckless or not aware either, as delegation head, NSSSA President Deon Sutherland reported today that two of our most promising teams, female softball and female volleyball, were disqualified from participating because of players under age 15.
Already handicapped in preparation as we are, it sounds strange indeed that, after such a long journey, our team should be barred from participating, not because of “over age” players, but because of “under age” players. That should be to our disadvantage, so why penalize us further?
Below is the report submitted today by delegation head, Deon Sutherland:
“Today at 1:23 PM Belize is represented at the CODICADER Games hosted in Guatemala. The first contingent arrived at the IRTRA on Monday at about 5:00 p.m., which was football male, triathlon and softball female. Basketball male, and track and field went further up to Quetzaltenango, Guatemala, about 2 hours from the IRTRA.
The games started on Tuesday, as in football, Belize tied with Nicragua, 3-3. In basketball, we lost to Costa Rica, 72-65.
Unfortunately, in softball, Belize could not participate, as they found themselves with not sufficient players to meet the minimum numbers needed to represent, as well as three players under the age.
In track and field, Belize won two medals. James Bregal got silver in the male 100m, and Catherine Tan got bronze in the female javelin.
On Wednesday, in basketball, Belize defeated Guatemala with a score of 81–72. Guatemala led for most of the game until the third minute of the 4th quarter, when Belize took the lead for the first time, and didn’t look back.
Unfortunately, that same day, we lost to Guatemala in football by a score of 5–0.
We also learned that female volleyball would not be able to participate, as they too had players that were below the age of 15, and could not participate. This caused them not to have the minimum number of 8, and so they could not compete.
The male volleyball played against Nicaragua, and lost in three (3) sets, 23–25, 18–25, 23–25.
Today is Thursday, September 4, and I am awaiting results to pass on.”
We asked Mr. Sutherland if this is the first time that this problem has occurred, and if it is in the tournament regulations.
His reply was: “This is not new, it is in the regulation; just that those two schools missed it. The games are U18; you have to be 15, 16 or 17, born ‘97, ‘98 or ‘99.”
That is a real pity, a costly error by some school officials, and a tremendous heartbreak to the kids who were unable to compete. Personally, the “under age” rule seems silly, although it might be argued that it is to protect younger children from being hurt by older ones in competition. But it is a blunder on our part, nevertheless.