Allicock gains Olympic Solidarity Scholarship; promises to qualify for Tokyo

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By Akeem Greene

Guyanese Bantamweight Boxer Keevin Allicock has been added to the Olympic Solidarity Scholarship by the Guyana Olympic Association (GOA).

Allicock started the scholarship on September 1, 2020, and it will run until August 31, 2021, just after the conclusion of the Olympic Games in Tokyo. It is worth US$500 per month.

Narayan Ramdhani, Troy Doris, Winston George, Aliyah Abrams, Andrea Foster, Brenessa Thompson, Kadecia Baird, Chelsea Edghill and Shemar Britton were the initial recipients of the scholarship, which started in May 2018.

GOA Treasurer Garfield Wiltshire explained that Allicock was nominated from the inception to be on the scholarship, but there was an issue with AIBA (International Boxing Association) and the International Olympic Committee, which caused him not to be granted.

However, Wiltshire explained Baird was replaced from the programme due to “issues with her reporting” which paved the way for Allicock to be the replacement.

GOA President K.A. Juman-Yassin stated: “He [Allicock] is a person worthy to be on that [scholarship]; he is our top and most promising Olympic hopeful and I am certain that with this added impetus, it will drive him on to even do better.”

He added, “Keevin can now afford to be full-time [in training] and I want him to be able to concentrate and put all the maximum he can do to be able to qualify.”

The 21-year-old has promised he will qualify for next year’s Games in Tokyo

Juman-Yassin indicated that though the scholarship runs until August, if he does not qualify for the Games in May or July, it will end at that point.

Allicock in response thanked the GOA for the support and said it is a “blessing to him” and will help him focus on the qualifiers.

“My focus now is going to be 100% and more, and by God’s grace definitely we are going to bring this Olympic medal, we are going to qualify and we are going to fly the flag high again because that’s my dream.”

Former Bantamweight boxer Michael Parris, who won Bronze at the 1980 Games in Moscow, is Guyana’s lone Olympic medallist.

As of now, only 400m specialist Aliyah Abrams has qualified for the Tokyo Games.

Guyana Boxing Association President, Steve Ninvalle, felt this is a positive step in making professional athletes and giving them the best possible chance to succeed.

“Keevin will now be able to focus entirely on boxing, and this is something we have been hoping for (for) some time. We don’t have persons who can box and only box and this scholarship paves the way for him to be 100% focused on boxing…there is even the greater possibility of us not only seeing Olympic qualification but an Olympic medal coming from this young man.”

Sebert Blake, Allicock’s coach, said he will be ensuring he gives his best to ensure Allicock comes out successful in his endeavours.

Allicock is expected to compete in Argentina in May for a chance to qualify. He is currently ranked 19th by AIBA in the 56kg weight category.

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