OPINION: Doris, Thompson biggest snubs of AAG Awards
Says Treiston Joseph
The Athletics Association of Guyana (AAG) held its annual awards ceremony last Saturday evening at the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) where it was glaring that no overseas-based athletes were considered for any of the awards. While I have no problems with the junior and youth awardees or the deserving coach of the year in Johnny Greavesande, I must harp a bit on the senior awards.
Natrena Hooper was named the Female Athlete-of-the-Year and Winston George, the male; both I believe deserving of the awards, if not for the performances of overseas-based athletes Brenessa Thompson and Troy Doris.
Just to be clear at this point, this is not an attack on the achievement of George, whom I believe is one of the greatest quarter-milers to come out of this country, or on Hooper, who has the potential to make the Olympics as jumper, but more an attack on the blatant disregard the AAG has shown to both Doris and Thompson.
Just in case you didn’t know, Thompson broke both the 100 and 200 metres record last year, and also became the first woman in history to represent Guyana in two sprint events at a single Olympics.
Doris, on the other hand, became the first male to represent Guyana in an Olympic final, emulating long jumper Jennifer Innis, who had done so at the 1980 Games. Doris finished seventh at the Olympics and also had the world leading jumps at different points in 2016.
With that said, I believe that the omission of both Doris and Thompson is completely egregious and the AAG should be shame to even call the event an award ceremony without even mentioning the feats of the duo. There is simply no excuse for not rewarding both athletes, even if it’s with a mention.
In addition, even if the AAG wanted to use the award ceremony as a celebration of local athletes, there should at least be a category for the overseas athletes; maybe the Overseas Male and Female Athletes-of-the-Year category. But to totally leave out the overseas athletes, who compete under the banner of Guyana with distinction at that, is extremely preposterous. Our athletes need to be treated with respect, and the actions of the AAG can be seen as a sign of disrespect, whether intentional or unintentional.
One can only hope that going forward the association examines the structure of the award since all athletes who represent Guyana, whether local or overseas, are deserving of recognition for their performances, locally and internationally. Such a mishap should never be allowed to occur again and definitely calls into questioning the thinking of the AAG, hence leaving one to question the criteria for such awards.
Therefore, in my humble opinion, the AAG needs to develop probably a point system, where the athletes receive points for their performances, locally and internationally, in order to arrive at such awardees in a more transparent set up. This will also aid in athletes coming home to compete at such events as National Seniors or the Aliann Pompey Invitational if it is a part of their desire to be recognised as Athlete-of-the-Year.