South Georgetown protest stalls Schools Championships for hours
-Upper Demerara wins track and field, overall winner unclear
A protest from South Georgetown, District 13, fuelled a series of other protests yesterday afternoon at the National Stadium stalling the National Schools Championships for hours as officials tried haplessly to get the various matters resolved.
South Georgetown barged onto the track sometime around 3pm yesterday, protesting the fact that East Georgetown’s, Fiyad Sattaur, had been accredited with his identification as an athlete even though his Birth Certificate was late.
The registration process for athletes closed weeks ago and respective districts were expected to submit their athletes Birth Certificates during that process to verify their ages, but Sattaur’s apparently arrived sometime during the Championships.
The South Georgetown team said that they were forced to follow the rules of the competition while other teams and “special” athletes were seemingly allowed the convenience of submitting documents whenever they were available.
“We are saying that we had athletes that we asked for one day leeway with to submit their Birth Certificates and GTU (Guyana Teachers’ Union) turned us away. Now here is it that we have the son of a high ranking government official and he is allowed to submit his Birth Certificate whenever he wants. What goes for one must go for all,” South Georgetown Team Manager, Selwyn Brown told Kaieteur Sport.
Brown indicated that East Georgetown manager, Rawle Duke indicated in a management meeting during the Championships that Sattaur’s Birth Certificate came with instructions to ensure that the athlete competes in the Championships.
It took officials from the Union and Ministry of Education to remove South Georgetown from the track after they invaded during the 200m heats. Following their exit, there were other protests from East Coast Demerara and East Bank Demerara.
Both teams were protesting the quality and late arrival of the food for their athletes. The other districts stood in solidarity with them, delaying the Championships for about four hours after the weather had been kind to event all day long.
Rain had significantly affected the first two days of the competition leaving a lot of work to be done over the final day to recover the lost time. The protest did not help as students and patrons waited for the commencement of the national competition.
After hours of dialogue, officials finally made their way to the field under flood lights for the resumption of the competition, which ensued with the remaining 200m heats followed with a few cycling events then the 1500m and 200m finals.
Letitia Myles and Jevina Sampson copped three gold medals each after winning the 100m, 200m and 400m finals. Chavez Ageday completed a double with his win in the 200m after winning the 100m on the first day of the competition.
Those few battles tried to restore some structure to the event, but it was not enough as the organisers were forced to call an abrupt end to the 2011 Championships after the 200m finals at around 11pm, leaving several events were incomplete.
At that stage of the competition, after 93 finals, Upper Demerara emphatically led the track and field championship with 465 points. East Coast was second with 351 points with Corentyne third with 349 ½ points while North Georgetown was fourth on 339 points.
Up to press time, Kaieteur Sport could not ascertain the points for the cycling and the teachers’ championships to give an impression of the overall winner. North Georgetown had won the swimming championship on Tuesday. The overall winner is a tabulation of the swimming, cycling, track and field and teachers’ championships.