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ISLAMIC GAMES: Coaches expect teams to do well in Azerbaijan

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By Treiston Joseph

The Guyana contingent to the 2017 edition of the Islamic Games in Baku, Azerbaijan, will start their departure for the event on Tuesday, May 9, with the coaches of the respective disciplines having high hopes for their athletes at the event, set to start this weekend.

With Winston George gaining two silver medals in the 200 and 400 metres at the last Islamic Games in 2013 in Indonesia, coaches of the various sport disciplines expect their athletes to perform at their optimum. They were at the time addressing media operatives at a press conference on Monday at Guyana Olympic Association (GOA) headquarters in Kingston.

Mark Scott, who has the opportunity to coach the four-member athletics squad, the only discipline to medal last time out, indicated that the GOA has given all the assistance that was required to help the team and believes that because most of the athletes are currently overseas training, athletics should once again produce.

“As you guys would be aware of the silver medals by Emmanuel Archibald and Natrena Hooper at the recent Penn Relays, I am in constant contact with most of the athletes via social media and they are fit and ready; just last week Winston (George) ran a 20.78s 200m and was a part of the male 4x100m at the Penn Relays, while Alita Moore, who is our only local athlete, is fit and ready,” Scott noted.

Clifton Moore, who is the coach of boxing, revealed at the press conference that his two boxers, Joel Williamson and Desmond Amsterdam, had a two-week training stint in Trinidad and Tobago, compliments of the GOA and both boxers have gone through “vast improvements” in the two-month lead up to the games.

President of the GOA, K.A. Juman Yassin, pinpointed that he expects good things from the team, noting that he believes the associations has some of their best athletes headed to the event.

In addition, Yassin revealed that he is still waiting on the associations to bring their plans in order for the GOA to peruse in order to identify areas the Olympic body can extend a helping hand.

Nevertheless, all of the coaches expressed confidence in their teams with Table Tennis Coach Idi Lewis noting that the event will give his six-member squad a chance to be world ranked. Six sporting disciplines will travel to Baku and they include Swimming, Athletics, Judo, Boxing, Table Tennis and Taekwondo. 

Table Tennis will have the largest team of six- three males and three females- namely Chelsea Edghill, Trenace Lowe, Natalie Cummings, Christopher Franklin, Nigel Bryan and Joel Alleyne.  Athletics is next with four, including two males and two females, namely; Natrena Hooper, Alita Moore, Winston George and Emmanuel Archibald. 

Swimming will be represented by Andrew Fowler and Earlando McRae. The boxers are Joel Williamson and Desmond Amsterdam, while Joshua Buchanan and Earskine Trotman will compete in Judo. 

Taekwondo will have one athlete in Adrian Spellen, who is based overseas.

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