Servicemen denied US visas to compete at CAC C/ships
– Sprinters, Perry, George made to wait for national debut
By Edison Jefford
Sprinters, Rupert Perry and Winston George, who are among Guyana’s best at the moment, were both denied United States of America visas last week in a move that will prevent them from their much-anticipated national debut in Puerto Rico next week.
Perry is a soldier in the Guyana Defence Force and George is a policeman at the Guyana Police Force; they were both denied the opportunity to compete at the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Championships in Mayaguez on the US Island, Puerto Rico.
The Championships are expected to take place during July 15-17. Contrastingly, Kaieteur Sport understands that manager of the CAC team, Robert Chisholm and field events standout, Leslain Baird were both granted US visas to participate in the event.
United States-based, Aliann Pompey will travel from the US while the other member of the five-man team, Cleveland Forde, is expected to face the Embassy in Georgetown sometime this week in a bid to secure his visa to compete at the CAC Championships.
Asked to comment on the development, Athletic Association of Guyana (AAG) President, Colin Boyce said that it was an immense setback in what might well be the prime of the athletes’ career since they have been dominating for the past year and a half.
“I think it’s a severe setback, they are two of the best athletes who are now looking to establish themselves. I had a discussion with George, and I cannot say that he is not disappointed,” Boyce told this newspaper when contacted yesterday afternoon.
He said that the athletes were hoping to match strides with their international counterparts so that they would have been able to accurately judge their development. In addition, Boyce said that he was especially interested in their times against good competition.
“Cleveland will be looking to make the qualifying time in the 5000m for the Pan Am Games and the 2012 London Olympic Games. I was hoping that Perry and George would have given some credibility to their fast times in Guyana,” he indicated.
Both Perry and George has had overseas exposure on rubber tracks since they emerged following the retirement of Rawle Greene, who had dominated sprinting in Guyana for over a decade, but they have never officially represented Guyana in track and field.
They represented their institutions at separate meets in Trinidad and Tobago over the last year in a precursor to them meeting for the first time in a major race at the AAG National Championship that was the established yardstick for national selection last month.
Perry staked his claim for a place on the team when he won the Men’s 100m and 200m races as George placed second in the 200m. Perry had made a serious impression last year when he broke the 21-second barrier locally to ignite his emergence.