Records, drizzles and blackout at AP Invitational
By Avenash Ramzan
The first event started with ominous, grey clouds hovering over Leonora. Luckily, the anticipated heavy downpour petered out to some fine drizzles- the type that would spark a bout of influenza.
In between, some records tumbled, Guyana’s past and present Olympians were honoured, the Minister of Social Cohesion passed through, MC Kirk ‘Chow Pow’ Jardine had a blast on the PA system, and by the end of it, the Guyana Power and Light Inc. decided to play spoilsport.
The fourth Aliann Pompey Invitational once again lived up to its billing, and the power company, as if not to be outdone, followed suit, drowning the National Track and Field Centre in unnerving darkness at approximately 18:35h.
The excitement surrounding the Men’s 3000m race, which was ongoing at the time, was swiftly up another notch. And while the spectators saw the humour in what was unfolding, the athletes were unperturbed, continuing the on-track battle amidst a backdrop of dots of cellphone lights beaming from the stands.
The drizzles aside, the ‘unscheduled’ power outage was the only damper on an otherwise fine afternoon of athletic brilliance, powered by athletes from Guyana, the Caribbean, North America, Ghana and India.
Ghana’s sprint ace Joseph Amoah, travelling to South America for the first time, won the Men’s 100m, clocking a time of 10.20s, a new meet record, erasing Barbadian Levi Cadogan’s 10.24s set in 2017.
Guyanese duo Emmanuel Archibald (10.33s) and Winston George (10.40s) finished second and third respectively. George later won the 200m race, stopping the clock at 20.75s and finishing ahead of Daniel Williams (21.10s) and Leonel Marks (21.20s).
India’s national record holder at the 110m hurdles, Siddhanth Thingalaya, produced a smooth run to win his event in 13.57s, leaving Ruebin Walters (Trinidad and Tobago) and Rhys Phillips (Barbados) to settle for second and third with respective times of 13.98s and 14.45s.
USA-based Guyanese Arinze Chance had to dig deep to defeat Deon Lendore of Trinidad and Tobago in the Men’s 400m. By the halfway mark, Chance seemed to be cruising to a comfortable victory, but Lendore gained significant grounds, as the duo treated the crowd to a photo finish.
Chance was timed at 46.14s, while Lendore (46.17s) and Guyanese Brian Roman (48.53s) completed the podium.
As expected, Aliyah Abrams won the Women’s 400m in 52.16s, staving off Jamaican Candice McLeod (52.28s) and Kineke Alexander of St. Vincent and the Grenadines (55.04s), while in an all-Guyana Men’s 800m race, Devaun Barrington recorded a Personal Best of 1:50.95s to pip training partner Anfernee Headecker (1:52.40s) in an exciting showdown.
Samuel Lynch (1:55.13s) had to settle for third.
In the Women’s 800m, Guyana’s Joanna Archer bettered the meet record which she ran last year of 2:13.76s by clocking 2:13.01s.
Rushell Clayton produced another clinical run in the Women’s 400m hurdles to successfully defend the title she won last year. The reigning Jamaican national 400m hurdles champion clocked 52.25s to finish way ahead of Bahamian Katrina Seymour (59.37s) and Trinidadian Janiel Bellille (1:01.50s).
Trinidad and Tobago’s Kamaria Durant won the Women’s sprint double, clocking 11.39s in the 100m and 20.75s in the 200m. Durant’s compatriot Reyare Thomas finished second in both races, while Jasmine Abrams had to settle for third in both instances.
In the Women’s Long Jump, Chantoba Bright of Guyana set a new meet record of 5.83m, erasing the old mark of 5.69m previously held by compatriot Ruth Sanmoogan since 2017.
Sanmoogan finished second this time around with 5.82m, and ahead of Keliza Smith (5.74m).