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Choto Demonstrates Potential of Belizean Youths!!! Print E-mail
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Thursday, 19 April 2012 00:00

Hon. Herman Longsworth hands over cheque to Giovanni ChotoGiovanni Choto is today a household name in Belize. To Belizeans, he is much more than a cycling champion. He is family, welcomed in every home. Choto saved the sport of cycling and did so while riding with an entire nation on his back. He is our hero and on Thursday, April 12, that hero had his well-earned pay day at an appreciation ceremony held by the Ministry of Sports for  him and other cyclists that performed well in the 84th Holy Saturday Cross Country Cycling Classic. 


Minister responsible for Youths and Sports, Hon. Herman Longsworth, thanked Choto on behalf of a greatful nation for making the Ministry of Sports “five thousand dollars poorer”. The Ministry pitched in the prize as an added incentive to get Belizeans to work harder to win the race. Longsworth said, “Finally, another Belizean has put in the kind of work that has enabled him to be the champion of the most prestigious race this country will ever have.” The United Insurance Company Limited also sponsored a prize for a Belizean winner of the race. They handed over six thousand dollars to Giovanni Choto. The Belize Telemedia Limited donated five thousand dollars to the Belize Cycling Association to help cover race expenses. Longsworth said that private sector involvement and sponsorship is key to the development of sports in Belize. Even countries with giant budgets depend heavily on private sector sponsorship for sporting events. In a country like Belize where resources are scarce, it is even more important for corporate citizens to become actively engaged in sporting activities.

Sport is an alternative to a lifestyle of crime and violence. Choto is an ideal champion because he is a member of the most vulnerable age group being lured by gangs and criminal elements, those between fifteen and twenty-five. The twenty-three-year-old champion demonstrated just what is possible when Belizean youths dedicate themselves to positive activities. Belize has a large youth population with unlimited potential. However, there seems to be a serious lack of ambition. Parents are now looking for their child to unlock their inner Choto - determination to be the best at what they love. The United Insurance representative referred to Choto as “David”. She pointed to his small physique and victory over a great challenge to validate her comparison. Choto defeated his 140-mile Goliath yet he remains humble and determined to get better. It is those qualities that have made him beloved the way he is today. He appears to be the son that every mother dreams of and the son-in-law that fathers don’t mind accepting. With Giovanni, Belizean youths can finally look at a national hero they can relate to.

When the incentive prizes were added to the five thousand dollars first place prize, Choto received a total of sixteen thousand dollars for winning the race. He also won seventy-eight station prizes. When those are added in to the pot, he earned over twenty-five thousand dollars on Holy Saturday 2012.