George/Kirani clash set to light up Aliann Pompey Invitational
Guyana’s national 400m record holder Winston George will come up against 2012 Olympic champion Kirani James at the Aliann Pompey Invitational Meet on Saturday. And it is touted as one of the events that is sure to light up the National Track and Field Centre, Leonora.
Seventeen events are carded for the day, but the marquee race is the Men’s 400m, which is sure to provide fans with quality entertainment at the nation’s premier track and field facility in West Demerara.
At 31, George is Guyana’s foremost athlete at that distance, but he also competes at 200m. His national record at 400m stands at 45.16s, while James’ personal best is 43.73s. The world record meanwhile, is 43.03s.
James is making a return to competitive action after being sidelined since April 2017 with was believed to be a respiratory illness. Saturday’s event will provide a good test for the 25-year-old Grenadian, as he begins the journey to regaining full fitness.
And he is hoping Guyanese are out in droves to witness his return to the track on his maiden visit to the territory.
“I am very excited. It’s my first time in Guyana,” he said. “So I’m excited to compete and to see the crowd and learn about the Guyanese culture and everything like that.”
He added, “I hope everyone comes out to the meet and support the athletes and as long as you guys come out, I can guarantee that we will put on a good show for the fans.”
George apart, James will also have to contend with the Guyanese duo, Daniel Williams and Arinze Chance, both of whom are looking to upstage the World and Olympic champion.
George meanwhile, is cognizant of the occasion and what it means to cross the line before the celebrated son of the Spice Isle.
“If I defeat him [Kirani James] at home, I hope the government give me a house, a car and a land. I would be lost for words, I am not saying the possibility isn’t, since it is there, but I will be lost for words,” George asserted.
USA-based Guyanese and 2018 Commonwealth Games Triple Jump gold medallist, Troy Doris, is also excited to be competing for the first time on local soil.
With a personal best of 17.18m, Doris will come up against Donald Scott, the Outdoor USA Track and Field Championships Triple Jump champion, who leaped to victory with a distance of 17.37m, also a personal best.
Suriname’s Miguel Van Assen, who holds his country’s national record in the event, as well as the CARIFTA and South American title, will also compete at the event.
Van Assen’s personal best is 16.94 metres. The Surinamese is also the 2014 Summer Youth Olympic Games champion.
The Triple Jump at this year’s Aliann Pompey Invitational could steal the show, since also arriving to compete is Leevan Sands of the Bahamas.
Sands won bronze at the 2008 Olympic Games, as well as bronze at the World Championship and Commonwealth Games. Sands is a Pan Am Games silver medallist and multiple times gold medallist at the CARIFTA Games.
With main sponsors being Banks DIH, Fly Jamaica, Star Party Rentals, E-Networks and Sleep Inn Hotel and Casino, the event is scheduled to start at 15:00h. General Admission is $1,000, while for the VIP section tickets cost $5,000 each.