Pompey is deserving of Medal of Service Award
– Boyce urges athletics community to celebrate
By Edison Jefford
Aliann Pompey has been here twice this year already, and from all indications, it is possible that she could make a third trip to her homeland following last weekend’s revelation that she will be a recipient of a Medal of Service among the National Awards.
Pompey was one of six sports personalities identified to be conferred with Medals of Service in a category that listed 57 persons from various backgrounds for the award. Pompey was among 133 persons totally, in four categories, to be named for an award.
The other sports personalities listed included Bodybuilding world champion, Hugh Ross, Squash queen, Nicolette Fernandes, Cricketer, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Guyana’s only Olympic medallist to-date, Michael Parris (boxing) and Andrew ‘Six Head’ Lewis.
Pompey, a specialist 400m sprinter, was in Guyana earlier this year to collect her National Sports Commission ‘Runner-Up Sportswoman of the Year’ Award when the event was put to a date that was outside the athlete’s return to the United States of America.
She was in Guyana for a second time to compete at the President/Jefford Track and Field Classic two weeks ago in Linden. Pompey is likely to make a third trip to Guyana for a National Awards and Investiture Ceremony that will be announced on a later date.
Speaking briefly to Kaieteur Sport before he left these shores to take part in the South American Congress in Argentina, President of the Athletics Association of Guyana, Colin Boyce indicated that such recognition of Pompey is refreshing for the sport.
“Let me say that it’s quite an honour for Government to recognise an athlete that has been doing well for Guyana over the years. We believe that Pompey is deserving of this award since she has kept Guyana’s flag flying high both regionally and internationally,” Boyce said.
“Government’s recognition of this athlete and Track and Field in general means well. First it is a sign that our prominent athletes are being taken seriously, and secondly, Government is seeing it fit to reward athletes,” Boyce added early yesterday morning.
He said that he hopes the trend of recognising and rewarding athletes continues and more of our prominent athletes will be exposed at such high forums. The Athletics Association President said that the entire athletics community should celebrate with Pompey.
The seasoned 400m runner is no stranger to awards. In 2002, she had won the ‘Sportswoman of the Year’ Award following her Commonwealth Games gold medal in Manchester, England. She joined illustrious company on winning a Commonwealth Gold medal.
Pompey returned eight years after that performance in England to win her second medal at what is considered a ‘blue-ribbon’ event, the Commonwealth Games. She earned a silver medal in the 400m, making her the only Guyanese athlete with two Commonwealth medals.
One year after her 2002 Commonwealth Games gold medal, Pompey went on to capture bronze at the Pan American Games in the Dominican Republic, making her a favourite to do well at the Olympic Games in Athens, Greece, the following year.
Pompey has been to three Olympics thus far, including Sydney in 2000, Athens in 2004 and the Beijing Games in 2008. She has also competed at five IAAF World Championships dating from 2001-2009 and four IAAF World Indoor Championships.
In the 2010 World Indoor Championships in Doha, Qatar, Pompey placed fifth in the 400m in a time of 52.75 seconds, earning her a fifth place ranking in the world, which she went on to credit with her silver medal performance at the Commonwealth Games in India.
Her ascendance last year, and her age, helped luminaries conclude that the national 400m record holder has her best chance of medalling at the IAAF World Championship this summer and 2012 Olympic Games, which are the two illusive accolades for the athlete.