June 19 earmarked for Aliann Pompey Invitational 2021
After the COVID-19 pandemic forced its cancellation in 2020, the organisers of the Aliann Pompey Invitational are hoping the annual showpiece can make a return this year.
Founder of the meet, the four-team Guyanese Olympian Aliann Pompey, said the aim is to have the event in Guyana on June 19.
She pointed out that every attempt would be made to ensure the event satisfies all the safety protocols, once the necessary clearance is granted by the relevant authorities.
The fifth edition, which was supposed to be held last year, was cancelled after a global rise in coronavirus cases brought a screeching halt to sport activities.
“We’re excited about the date. I’ve met and spoken to the AAG President Mr. Aubrey Hutson, so everything is set. We just have to play it by ear and be very cautious and make sure that all the safety measures would be met, because we’re still in a very uncertain period of time,” Pompey said on Friday.
“As far as it being an Olympic qualifier, I think this year is more critical than it was in 2016 (Olympics) or any other qualification year for the World Championship, just because of how 2020 played out with the postponement of the Olympic Games and the subsequent cancellation of a number competitions, even in 2021.”
“The opportunities for athletes to be able to quality for the Games have been reduced, so the attractiveness and the importance of the API becomes that much more critical I would say because we want to be able to continue to meet the highest standards, especially now since it’s kind of a necessary meet for our athletes, as well the South American and Caribbean region to be able to make it to the Games,” Pompey explained.
In February 2020, Pompey and World Athletics had announced that the Aliann Pompey Invitational will be included on the 2020 Continental Tour. The inaugural meet hosted 11 athletes who went on to compete in the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio.
“It’s a tremendous opportunity not just for the Aliann Pompey Invitational, but for Guyana and athletics in the region,” Pompey said.
“We’re one of two events that will be held in South America. I think this speaks to the commitment of the meet’s sponsors. For the past four years, they’ve supported the vision for the meet and its importance to the development of sports in the country and in the region. This is a collaborative effort with so many pieces.”
The tour will span across six continents and offers athletes the opportunity to receive world ranking points that will count toward the 2020 Olympic Games and World Championships.