COVID-19 forces cancellation of Aliann Pompey Invitational 2021
For the second year running the COVID-19 pandemic has forced the cancellation of the country’s premier track and field meet, the Aliann Pompey Invitational (API). The 2021 event was slated to be held on June 19 at the National Track and Field Centre, Leonora.
“It is with tremendous of sadness that I’m here to announce today that this year’s edition of the API will not be held as scheduled on June 19,” founder of the meet, Aliann Pompey, announced on Wednesday.
The four-time Guyanese Olympian, in a video message, touched on the several reasons that forced the cancellation.
“Mainly one of the effects or the by-products of the COVID-19 pandemic which doesn’t allow us to properly prepare to host an international competition of this calibre,” the former 400m track star highlighted.
Pompey said while they cannot safely host an event at this time, the organisation will still work on a way to engage the Guyanese public, sponsors, supporters and Guyanese athletes.
She noted that an announcement in this regard will be made soon.
“While it wouldn’t replace the API competition for this year, I think it would be a meaningful enough compromise,” Pompey explained.
API an Olympic Qualifier
Since 2016, the meet has served as an Olympic Qualifier for local and foreign athletes.
“With the Tokyo (2020) Games postponed by a year, we were also hoping for a similar event this year where athletes can qualify for the Olympic Games. I know a lot of our national athletes and the athletes from the Americas, mainly South America and the Caribbean, had it on their calendar as a qualifying event, so this affects quite a number of people,” Pompey stressed.
Pompey felt the time was right to make a call on the status of the 2021 event, “Because the preparations of these athletes are going to be greatly impacted, and so we decided to announce today that despite all of our efforts, and it’s definitely a group effort, the sponsors of the event up until the very last minute were completely committed to hosting the event, it’s just that it’s a situation that none of us can control.”
The COVID-19 pandemic had also forced the cancellation of the 2020 event.