Leaving nothing to ‘Chance’: A story of athletic and academic brilliance

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By Akeem Greene

Current National Indoor 400m record-holder, Arinze Chance, has ticked off another accomplishment, this time off the track.

He has graduated from the University of South Carolina with a Grade Point Average of 3.6, achieved while reading for an undergraduate in Global Studies (Leadership and Economic Development).

The son of Phillip and Hazel and smaller sibling of Damali, Chance has always been in the limelight for his brilliance on and off the track since his early days at St Margaret’s Primary School.

It was at the Inter-school meets Chance was a step above the rest with his speed, and his dad, most times, if not always, was there in support.

From there he earned a place at The Bishops’ High School then unto Queen’s College for Sixth Form studies. Throughout this period, Chance was a constant starter for North Georgetown at ‘Nationals’.

Chance is confident that with hard work, he can make the Olympics next year

As the 400m became more his favoured event followed by the 200m, Chance attended the University of Trinidad and Tobago, where he earned a National Engineering Technicians Diploma. He even holds the school record in the 300m and finished third in the 400m at 2016 Trinidad and Tobago National Championships.

For him, the accomplishments came as no surprise as he stuck to the formula of hard work.

“They are the results of dedication, patience, hard work, and consistency. The results have not been surprising because I made the sacrifices and I was rewarded for what I did, it was not by luck or chance or magic.”

The 25-year-old, who spends close to 15 hours a day between classes, training and extra studies, explained he works hard so that in years to come, other young athletes from Guyana can know it is possible to achieve similar.

“When my career comes to an end I want to be remembered as a beckon of hope for Guyanese in getting scholarships, hope in pursuing your academic endeavours, hope in achieving academic success. Yes, I plan to set records, win championships, but I want every person coming up in track and field in Guyana to know it is possible and there is always a chance.”

The 25-year-old sprinter aspires to be at the peak of success

Chance, who ran 46.15s in January 2019, to set the indoor 400m record, is not perturbed he is currently off the pace as it regards Olympic qualification.

He has personal best of 46.05s, but would need to dip below 45 seconds for a spot at the Olympics, with the qualification time being 44.90.

“COVID-19 has prevented outdoor races so it is hard to say where I am currently…Qualifying for the Olympics is just about getting one good race. Track and Field is all about putting hours and hours for one good race that lasts 45 seconds or less and my goal has always been to put in the work just like with my academics and eventually the result would become evident. It is not a case where the Olympic qualifying standard is out of my reach, it is just a case with me putting in the work to get there and I know it possible.”

A remarkable aspect of the young sprinter is his ability to manage injuries and not burn out before the season ends. Some local coaches have questioned the rigidity of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) system, noting that some Guyanese athletes have simply fell away in the system.

But according to Chance, it is two-fold: “Athletes can get burn out anywhere and it comes as a result of poor coaches. NCAA requires you to be at your best every week and that is one of the reasons athletes burnout. It is still a method that works for some, so coaches should not discredit the system and it prepares you for the rigors of Diamond League series and helps you prepare for competition in rounds.”

He added, “Any smart coach would allow their athlete time to rest and that’s how it works for me, our major work is done off-season (August to December).”

When his time on the track comes to an end, Chance hopes his studies can help foster economic growth in the corporate world.

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