OPINION: AAG needs to find balance for Commonwealth team

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By Treiston Joseph

The Athletics Association of Guyana (AAG) has found itself in a bit of a predicament in determining Guyana’s 2018 Commonwealth athletics team. Picking a balanced team will be key for the association in an effort to appease the track and field fraternity.

The Commonwealth Games is just about four months away and the AAG is yet to decide the composition of the six-member team. Only in December 2017 Hutson predicted the tough task ahead for the association in determining the team, noting at the time that they had “five spots.”

The association was mandated by the Guyana Olympic Association (GOA) to pick three females and two males. Hutson saw this as a “difficult” situation to be in, especially with the success of the AAG in 2017.

With that being said, according to sources close to the GOA, the AAG will now have six spots, with three being males and three females, which still eliminates any chances of a 4×400 metres team as Hutson suggested would have been a nice addition to the squad.

Nevertheless, should six members be the quota, then the AAG should have an easy task picking the male team.

With Winston George coming off a year where he broke the national 400m record, he along with triple jumper Troy Doris should be a lock. Both are Olympians who would provide experience to a team that will relatively be young in any case.

The toss up for the next male spot will be between Carifta gold medallist Compton Caesar and World Under-18 Championships silver medallist Daniel Williams; a tough decision that will have to be predicated on the long term trajectory of both athletes.

Since Caesar is the older and heading into the senior category this year, maybe preference should be given to the Lindener instead of Williams, who will still be a junior and have the World Junior Championships to compete at this year as well.

Meanwhile, the female team might be a bit tougher to pick because of all the young talent in the field, but two athletes readily standout- triple jumper Natricia Hooper and long jumper Chantoba Bright. Both are Carifta gold medallists.

The next spot, depending on how far along their seasons are, might be between Brenessa Thompson and Kadecia Baird.

The above names provide experience and young talent to the squad and should the GOA ease their grip in terms of the male to female ratio, for instance four and two respectively, then and only then should a 4×4 relay team be incorporated, which might come at the expense of Doris, who will be a strong medal contender at the games.

It’s a major predicament and a risk, one that the AAG and GOA might not be willing to take. 

Hence, a balance of experience and youth should do the trick along with transparency on how the team was selected. In the end, the Commonwealth Games will be the first major stop on the way to the 2020 Olympics.

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