Financial rewards assured for athletes in new Arrowhead League
By Akeem Greene
Track and Field athletes in Guyana will soon have their own league- Arrowhead League- one which Athletics Guyana hopes can mirror the structure of the highly-rated Diamond League.
Organiser, Treiston Joseph highlighted that the historic league is aimed at promoting the development of the sport. It will also give the senior athletes a “sense of competitive nature and be rewarded” when they host the first of five legs of the League on April 30 at the National Track and Field Facility, Leonora.
The initial structure will see a series of events in a fast-paced nature and it will be an invitational league based on the rankings developed by Athletics Guyana.
With the aim to limit the length of the event to a maximum of two and a half hours, Athletics Guyana President Aubrey Hutson coined it the “Twenty20 of Track and Field.”
For the 100m and 200m, the intention is to take the top 16 athletes in the country and the only those events will have heats and finals. Additionally, the first leg will have 100m, 400m and 5,000m for males, while for females it will be 200m and 800m. In the next round, the events would flip for the gender.
In the field, there would be the javelin and shot put. After the eight invited athletes complete their first three throws, only the top three will go forward to do three more throws.
There will be a relegation process, Hutson revealed, noting that in the 100m, the eight athletes who did not make it into the final would be replaced for the next round, as to give opportunities to those who did not get a chance at the first round.
“Outside of the road races, where the athletes would come into financial reward, there is nothing there for our senior athletes, people who do from 5,000m to 100m. We have been losing athletes once they have come out of High School and the reason for it when we would have done our research, is that there is nothing rewarding for them to stay in the sport,” Hutson elaborated.
The fifth round of the league will have the crème de la crème from the previous four rounds, and there is where there “will be big prizes.”
In the preliminary rounds, athletes can earn G$10,000 for first, G$6,000 for second, G$4,000 for third, and come the finals, Hutson conveyed, “We are committed to at least doubling that prize money.”
The President clarified that should athletes, aged 16-20, who are eying scholarships in the National Collegiate Athletic Association in the United States of America, participate, Athletics Guyana will ensure whatever earnings they get from the league would be disbursed as an education grant as not to harm their eligibility into college.
The hope is that upon completion of the synthetic tracks in Linden and Berbice, the League can be hosted at those venues as well.
Meanwhile, Felix Walker, Proprietor of FK Sports, said he was elated to partner with Athletics Guyana in the initiative since it can help improve the lives of the young people in Guyana, and it has a long-term objective.
Noting the prize money may seem small, he felt it is still important for athletes to be rewarded for their efforts and hopefully more of corporate Guyana supports to increase those prizes.