Coaching goal accomplished for Aliann Pompey

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By Avenash Ramzan

Elevation to the post of Associate Head Coach at St. John’s University, USA, is the accomplishment of a goal for former national athlete, Aliann Pompey.

The announcement was made this week that the Guyanese, a four-time Olympian, had been promoted to the position after an impressive showing in an assistant coaching capacity since 2014.

“I’m thrilled and excited about the promotion. Obviously, it’s something that I’ve worked for and looked forward to and hoped that it would happen at St. John’s University. I think the goal for most people when they get into coaching is to do so at the highest level,” Pompey related to News Room Sport on Thursday.

Her initial reaction to the news was one of “joy and pride and a lot of gratitude.”

She expressed appreciation to St. John’s University for the opportunity “to explore all my dreams and aspirations as it pertains to coaching.”

Pompey added: “I think the future for our programme pretty much stays the same and our ultimate aim is to win the BIG EAST and to score at the NCAA level every year, and just provide an atmosphere of success and a place where people can come in and continue to do better than they were before whether it’s on the track or the field or in the classroom.”

“I know it’s going to be a lot of work, but I’m up for it. We’ve got a great team this year despite everything that’s happening they’ve maintained their focus and they’re very goal-oriented so whatever this year and the next outdoor season has to throw at us, I think we’re prepared.”

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Since joining the St. John’s track and field programme as an assistant coach in 2014, Pompey has seen her athletes break the Red Storm’s indoor records twice in the 200 meters and 400 meters while also eclipsing previous program bests in the 60-meter hurdles, 500 meters and the 4×200-meter relay.

Pompey has also helped the Johnnies’ sprints and hurdles squad break outdoor records in the 100-meter hurdles, 800 meters, the 4×200-meter relay and the 4×100-meter relay events.

Most recently, Pompey guided Leah Anderson to three gold medals at the 2020 BIG EAST Indoor Championships, as she took first place in the 200 meters, 400 meters and the 4×400-meter relay.

Anderson was named the conference’s most outstanding performer in track events and earned the BIG EAST High Point Performer award, leading the field with 22.5 points. Pompey’s sprints and hurdles squad accounted for at least 60 percent of St. John’s total team points at the meet.

In 2017, Pompey assisted Adriana Wright in capturing the indoor BIG EAST High Point Performer award after winning three gold medals in the 60-meter hurdles, 60-meter dash and the 200-meter dash.

The following year she helped Maya Stephens earn the conference’s most outstanding co-performer in track events accolade for her wins in the 200-meter and 400-meter dashes at the 2018 indoor championships.

Throughout her time with the Red Storm, Pompey’s athletes have claimed three of the BIG EAST’s last four most outstanding track performer awards at the outdoor championships while earning the accolade at the 2018 and 2020 conference indoor championships.

Pompey has continued to spread her knowledge and extensive track and field experience to international sports administrations and was named the President of the Pan American Sports Athlete Commission in 2019.

The Guyana native was elected to represent more than 6,600 athletes across 41 countries that compete in the Pan American Games and has served as a standing member of the Athletes’ Commission since 2015. She also serves on the organisation’s executive board and as the International Olympic Committee’s athlete liaison.

Pompey is now in her third year as the Metropolitan Athletic Conference President.

Pompey is the founder of the Aliann Pompey (AP) Invitational, a premier international track and field competition that was added to the World Athletics Continental Tour in 2020.

The inaugural meet held in Guyana hosted 11 athletes who went on to compete in the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio and serves as a gateway to Olympic qualification.

As an athlete, Pompey captured the gold medal in the 400 meters at the 2002 Commonwealth Games and took home the silver medal in 2010. She also earned a bronze medal at the 2003 Pan American Games.

Pompey has represented her home country of Guyana at the 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012 Summer Olympics, five Outdoor World Championships in Athletics, and the IAAF World Indoor Championships on four occasions.

In 2009 at the World Championships in Berlin, Germany, Pompey set the South American indoor record in the 400 meters with a personal best mark of 50.71. During the summer of 2016, Pompey made another Olympic appearance as an assistant manager with the Guyanese Olympic Team.

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