Some athletes may have to fund travel to attend SA Championships, says Hutson

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By Akeem Greene

The Athletics Association of Guyana (AAG) has shortlisted 12 athletes to attend the South American Senior Championships later this month in Ecuador.

However, there is a high possibility that for the entire contingent to attend the championships from May 29-31, some of the athletes may have to fund their own travel to attend the Olympic Games qualifier event.

Hutson indicated to the News Room Sport on Monday that realistically, the AAG is confident they can send at least six to eight athletes.

Ideally, they hope to send all 12 of the short-listed athletes, along with a Manager and Coach, but the short notice of change in the host nation may limit the funding they are able to acquire.

The Championships were initially slated for May 14-16 in Argentina, but was moved to due to a spike in COVID-19 cases there.

Therefore, the priority is on whom they believe stand the higher chance of qualifying for the Olympic Games later this year.

The short-listed team comprises Winston George, Quamel Prince, Jeremy Bascombe, Emanuel Archibald, Akeem Stewart, Arinze Chance, Devaun Barrington, Andrea Foster, Aliyah Abrams and Jasmine Abrams.

Aliyah has already qualified for the 400m at this year’s Tokyo Olympics.

“In preparing a budget, because we are already on short notice, I have to take all the variables into consideration. What I am almost certain that may have to happen is that some of the athletes may have to provide their own funding to get to these championships; those that we think that may not necessarily make the standard as again those that we know if given an opportunity will make the standard for the Olympics.”

He added, “I think between six to eight of them should really and truly push hard to ensure they get there, but again the council would have to sit and decide on that.”

The AAG will seek support from the Government of Guyana, the Guyana Olympic Association, corporate Guyana, and its calendar year funding from World Athletics to fund the trip.

While qualification for this year’s Olympic Games is a priority, the AAG also wants to keep an eye on athletes for the Commonwealth Games and World Championships in 2022.

Hutson indicated that track and field is a performance-based sport and the AAG will continue to invest in those who are improving creditably.

“If you go out there and make the time, you are entitled to go once you qualify. So, in making the investment, if Winston George is still running fast and still the fastest national athlete at 400m and still making the qualifying standard, we have an obligation to ensure Winston George gets to those games, and not necessarily say we are not going to send Winston, but a younger athlete who is not making the standard.”

The AAG added: “For me, if you want to go ahead of Winston George, and I am just using this as an example, then you need to be running faster than Winston George.”

The Championships were last held in Lima, Peru, in May 2019, with Guyana being represented by Devaun Barrington, Akeem Stewart, Emanuel Archibald, Winston George, Jenea McCammon and Leslian Baird, while Robert Chislom served as coach.

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