AAG, GOA and the Commonwealth Games team selection

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By Treiston Joseph

With the Commonwealth Games fast approaching, the Athletics Association of Guyana (AAG) is still unable to name its team that will form part of Guyana’s contingent to the 21st edition of the multi-sport event.

The inside thinking of the AAG, according to a source familiar with the process of selecting the Commonwealth team, is that the Guyana Olympic Association (GOA) is “primarily” to blame for the quandary.

The GOA reportedly had to submit a ‘list of numbers’ to the Commonwealth Committee on September 22, 2017. In turn, the AAG was issued a letter by the GOA on September 15 for the submission of a long-list of athletes by September 20, 2017, News Room understands.

While that submission date was not met by the AAG, the source noted that there was an extension and the AAG submitted a list of 30 to 40 athletes in November of 2017. The GOA noted the long-list was longer than they anticipated, the source added.

The reasoning by the AAG for such a big long-list, according to the source, was because the association intended to host trials in February 2018 after which a team would be picked.

According to the source, the GOA requested the list be cut to no more than 15 athletes- a significant decrease, thereby eliminating the need for trails in 2018. For instance, if trials were to be had and an athlete won but was not on the long list what sense would that make? Such was the logic of the AAG.

In essence, the source highlighted that the association was forced into a corner where they had to produce a long-list of athletes that could or could not be in form come the Commonwealth Games in April.

The source further stated that the AAG felt it was unfair to their selection process as well as to the athletes hoping to make the games, especially from a local standpoint.

Added to that, the AAG used the example of Trinidad and Tobago hosting its Commonwealth trials on February 7, 2018 to back their stance on hosting trials.

The situation has forced local athletes like Javelin record holder, Leslain Baird to incur expense to travel to Trinidad for the meet in an effort to put in performances in a competitive environment with the hope of being picked to the six-member squad. 

Further, the squad will have to be three males and three females; a stipulation dictated by the GOA and one which the AAG has publicly expressed displeasure with. 

Meanwhile, an official within the GOA ranks did confirm that the AAG has received a deadline of February 12 to finalise the team. The official noted that the long-list could have been “any” amount of athletes and officials.

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