Guyanese athletes dominate Falcon Games
- leaves lasting impression on Trinidadians
Kelvin Johnson and fellow countryman, Cleveland Forde, spoke of their careers taking top honours at the just-concluded Falcons Games at the Dwight Yorke Stadium in Tobago. Both runners, who are from Georgetown, Guyana combined to take the 1500m, 5000m and 10,000 races.
Johnson, who is no stranger to Tobago, won the 5000m comfortably in a time of 15:41:91 beating Guyanese, Lionel D’Andrade into the second place on day two of the three day Championships.
However, Cleveland Forde stole the spotlight on day three (Sunday), winning the Durly Lucas 10k in emphatic style. The race, which was keenly contested by Ford, D’Andrade and Johnson, came down to a sprint finish that Forde won in 34:12 minutes.
Forde, who spent three and a half years in Kenya, known for producing exceptional distance runners, was back in action Sunday night. He won the 1500m race quite easily in a sprint finish stopping the clock in 4:02:24. After the race he said “It was a practice race” and further lamented “no one really challenged me so I had to set the pace and hopefully bring down my time”.
Both runners have represented Guyana for nine and thirteen years respectively. Johnson, who got into running by what he termed a “coincidence” said that he always use to be with the girls in school.
As a teacher sent him to his class he will appear on the corridor again. One day, he disobeyed his teacher, who was a marathon runner and started running to escape trouble. According to him (Johnson), “I had him around the school about ten times before surrendering”. The teacher recognised his talent and made him a deal of winning an upcoming race or facing punishment for his actions.
He won the race and immediately became the national junior champion. His greatest accomplishment as an athlete was winning the
Suriname Marathon in 2005.
Ford also called ‘The Little Kenyan’ started his career in 2001. He represented Guyana at the World Youth Championships the same year in Hungary. The next year he became the CARIFTA U-20 Champ in the 5000m event and went on to win the event again in 2003 and 2004 making him a CARIFTA triple gold medallist. He also holds two bronze medals one in 10,000m and the other in 5000m at the PANAM Junior Championships in 2003.After the 1500m race he said, “I felt as though I could do another race”. Forde is seeking qualification for the 2010 Commonwealth Games and is looking forward to run in Europe to make the standard for the New Delhi event in October.
When asked about his goal as a distance runner he said “My main goal is to make the world standard which is the Olympic standard. When I make that, then I think everyone’s goal is an Olympic medal. Johnson on the other hand, isn’t desirous of competing at the highest level although he considers himself an accomplished sportsman, not only in running (but other disciplines such as cycling).
He was a former mountain biker and Triathlon champion in Guyana. He acknowledges that Olympics is the highest level any athlete can acquire, however, he doesn’t think he can achieve such feat because of his work and family commitments, and leaves the option for younger runners.
When asked about his goals, the Trinidad-based athlete said “My goal is to stay in the sport as long as possible and help younger athletes”. He further said “If everyone went away they won’t be any good runners to help the younger ones”.
Guyanese Distance runners have made great impressions on our local community in the recent past. Their recent dominance at the Falcon Games isn’t their only success this year. They were able to take third place at the NACAC Cross Country Championships held at the Mount Irvine Golf Course.
(Taharka Carrington and Saibhon Rogers)