GOA funds nine-member contingent to attend South American Championships
By Akeem Greene
The Guyana Olympic Association (GOA) will fund the airfare for seven athletes and two officials to attend the Senior South American Athletics Championships in Ecuador from May 29-31.
The event was initially slated for May 14-16 in Argentina, but was moved to due to a spike in COVID-19 cases there.
GOA President K.A. Juman-Yassin made the disclosure on Saturday (May 22) that the Olympic body will be funding the airfare of those athletes.
The GOA President listed Jasmine Abrams, Andrea Foster, Emanuel Archibald, Quamel Prince, Winston George, Arinze Chance and Noelex Holder as the athletes who would represent Guyana.
Yassin explained that the option was given to the Athletics Association of Guyana (AAG) to select the seventh athlete and they opted for Holder on the premise he would add depth to the Men’s 4x100m relay team.
Both the GOA President and AAG head, Aubrey Hutson, expressed the need to start building and giving exposure to the 4x100m team.
Hutson hopes that he can get support to send sprinter Jeremy Bascom so he can boost the relay team.
According to the AAG President, Bascom is currently ranked Guyana’s number one sprinter, due to being the fastest for the year thus far.
Hutson said they will have to arrive in Ecuador by Wednesday (May 26), which will give them added time to practice the relay pass since the ultimate aim is to achieve the Olympic qualification mark.
Additionally, the AAG head revealed that high-jumper Mark Jahlu will also attend the Championships on the back of the support from the Guyana Defence Force, and it will be a good test to assess how he performs on the International stage.
Johnny Gravesande will be the coach, mainly to provide technical assistance, particularly to the jumpers, while Kenisha Headley, who is also a certified coach, will be Team Manager.
Devaun Barrington, Jenea McCammon and Micaiah Washington are on the “second strung team”, which the AAG hopes to send if they can garner support from the Government of Guyana.
Hutson expressed his enthusiasm for 800m runner Andrea Foster, who is ranked number one in South America, which if maintained at the upcoming Championships, should bode well for Olympic Qualification.
Foster thanked the GOA for ensuring they attend the SA Championships since it is on her roadmap to the Olympics.
400m runner Aliyah Abrams is the lone Guyanese Track and Field Athlete to qualify thus far for the Olympics.
The AAG is also hoping the athletes produce impressive performances in order to send a large contingent to the Olympics, and hopefully one of the athletes can progress to the final of his/her respective event.