Coach appeals for more finances for senior athletes
To get more athletes progressing from junior to senior level locally, and being able to continue having impressive performances, Track and Field Coach Niall Stanton says it is imperative that there be more financial allure for senior athletes.
Stanton, who heads local club Super Upcoming Runners (SUR), was questioned on why some promising youth talents fade at the senior level.
Noting athlete management is a factor, he felt the reality of adult life forces many athletes to focus less on training and more on providing for themselves and families.
“It has to do with the coach or coaches and the AAG [Athletics Association of Guyana] putting some system in place; a lot of times we have good athletes but when it is time to go over to the seniors they are not there anymore.”
“Also it is about making the sport more attractive to these senior athletes in Guyana because most athletes in Guyana when you finishing writing CSEC, the reality is you have to get a job. So unless AAG finds a way to put money there that will attract and keep them [seniors] because this sport is not a cheap sport.”
Notably, Guyana Defence Force and the Guyana Police Force are the only two clubs with a structured payment plan for senior athletes.
Stanton, who is also a Level I World Athletics accredited Coach, indicated the National College Athletics Championships, which started in 2018, is a venture that can help in the transition, but finances still play a crucial factor.
“Unless the sport becomes more attractive in terms of prize money for seniors, you are only going to do the sport because you love it. We got to face the reality that this is a paid sport and treat them as professional athletes. We will need the government and corporate Guyana’s support.”