Dr. Norton meets US-Sports group ahead of Independence games

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Minister of Social Cohesion, Dr. George Norton, on Thursday met with members of the Guyana Ex-Athletes and Friends Association to discuss the execution of three massive track events during the Independence weekend.

The meeting, which was held at Minister Norton’s Main Street, Georgetown Office, involved three of the association’s five executives – Burgette Williams-Forde, Deborah Quamina and Noel Campbell.

The other two members of the association are Kenrick Smith and Veronica Franklin-Simon. Also attending the meeting was Inspector Amanda Hermonstine of the Athletics Association of Guyana (AAG).

The weekend of activities, which is being hosted in partnership with the AAG, will kick off with a ‘One-Mile’ race scheduled for Saturday, May 24 at 06:00h. This event will see children of the Plaisance/Sparendaam area racing through the streets of the two villages.

Children below the age of eight are expected to participate in a 400m run, while those from nine to 18-years-old will be eligible for the one-mile race. Later on Saturday, at 17:00h, there will be the hosting of the 5K/10K race, which will begin at the GNS Ground on Carifesta Avenue to the University of Guyana turn, and then back to the starting point.

On Sunday evening, Independence Day, athletes will meet at the Leonora Track and Field Stadium on the West Coast Demerara for a grand relay festival. Minister Norton was informed that a total of 16 events are planned for the relay programme.

Ms. Williams-Forde, a former athlete, commended Minister Norton and the Department of Sport for the developments taking place in the sector.

Minister George Norton and the representatives engaging in discussions

“Simple things like those parades to welcome home our athletes competing at the Junior Carifta Games go a very far way in not only inspiring young talent, but also support for them as well,” Williams-Forde said.

Dr. Norton, who also holds responsibility for Culture, Youth and Sport, lauded the group for its efforts in providing Guyana’s young athletes with more avenues for competition.

“The government cannot do it alone, so I am very happy to see that the diaspora recognises the importance of sports and is willing to throw their support behind it,” Dr. Norton said.

Mr. Campbell, who was among the first set of athletes competing at the Carifta Games, noted that while the association consists of former national athletes of Guyana, it has the support of many persons.

“We have many overseas based Guyanese who are not even athletes, but they understand the benefits of sports and want to support it,” Campbell said.

In addition to hosting the games, the association will also be distributing in excess of 60 pairs of spiked running shoes.

Following the engagement, Minister Norton was presented with a customized shirt to wear, should he attend the events. (A Ministry of Social Cohesion press release)

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