Major doubt surrounds Guyana’s hosting of SA U-23 Championships

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By Akeem Greene

Guyana’s hosting of the South American Under-23 Track and Field Championships is set to be delayed.

The Athletics Association of Guyana (AAG) President, Aubrey Hutson indicated he is doubtful it will go ahead as planned on September 26 and 27 at the National Track and Field Facility at Leonora, due to the current situation regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing elections process.

“With the present political and economic climate in Guyana, it is making it a lot more difficult for us to plan for the event, that is the number one issue,” Hutson told News Room Sport recently.

“Even if we are going to pull it off, South America [Confederation] will not allow us to have an event where our country is not open to all countries of South America attending…it is not an easy task right now…I am sure Guyana will be putting travel restrictions; it is highly unlikely [the event] will go ahead as planned.”

Aubrey Hutson, President of the Athletics Association of Guyana

He pointed out Brazil’s alarming rates of COVID-19 positive cases and some other South American nations as a possible deterrence to hosting as scheduled.

On Thursday (June 18), the World Health Organisation indicated Brazil had a reported 923, 189 confirmed cases and 45, 241 deaths – the highest figures for South America.

Hutson indicated an alternate timeline would be after December 1, which would allow athletes who meet Olympic Qualification times to attend the Games in 2021.

“A lot of athletes coming to the South American championships will be looking to have performances that is going to make them qualify for the Olympics. If we hold it any earlier than December 1, those results will not qualify them for the Olympics and that is going to make us push the date back if we are going to host it.”

According to Hutson, there is a blank out window between April 6 and December 1 for Olympic Qualification due to the shift of the Games to 2021.

AAG had hosted the Under-20 Championships in 2017, and based on reviews, the majority deemed it to be highly successful. This has enthused Hutson about the possibility of pulling off another successful feat for this championship.

The budget for hosting the championships is close to G$15 million, of which they will receive US$30,000 from the IAAF.

Athletes from all the nations in South America are expected to attend, which according to Hutson, means 300 athletes should be in attendance.

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