By Franklin Wilson
Meet Director of the 2nd Annual Aliann Pompety Invitational International Track and field Meet, Aliann Pompey has hailed this year’s event a success from the standpoint that a lot of athletes competed while a number of records were broken.
Sanctioned by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) and recognised as a South American Grand Prix Meet, a total of 17 countries were represented with a total of 14-Olympians exhibiting their talent.
Pompey, herself a four-time Olympian recognised the efforts of Team Guyana which she noted won gold and silver in a few events.
“I think it was also successful because of the amount of people that came out in the stands to watch the event; I think they were entertained so overall, it’s a plus.”
While expressing pleasure at being able to have inked the headline athlete in the caliber of Kim Collins as a result of increased sponsorship, she will be working on attracting more athletes of this standard.
“We have to offer an incentive for these athletes to come here, that’s the big thing. We have the contacts; we have the ability to reach out to these athletes but we have to give them a reason to be here. We have to tell them financially it makes sense; we have to be able to sell that it will be well attended particularly for the field events and the triple jump where they feed off of the energy from the crowd.”
Selling the Guyanese hospitality was another salient point Pompey noted is very important for athletes to feel at home.
Athletes from St. Kitts and Nevis, Bahamas, Puerto Rico, USA, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, Antigua & Barbuda, Turks & Caicos Islands, British Virgin Islands, Suriname, Dominican Republic, St. Vincent & the Grenadines and Jamaica among others participated in this event.
They not only came to compete but a number of them were also attempting to make the qualifying standards for World Championships which will be held in London later this month, this in itself underscores the high level of recognition the event has already been able to acquire from the world body, IAAF.
Pompey, who expressed sincere gratitude to her sponsors for partnering with her to make the Meet a success, also acknowledged the efforts of the Athletics Association of Guyana (AAG) and its staff.
“I think that everyone here worked very hard, I think that the officials give of themselves and of their time; as with everything, there is room for improvement but I don’t necessarily see anything glaring that would prevent us from doing this in the future. I would like to commend the officials for the job that they’ve been doing.”
Pompey noted that the inaugural event in 2016 was a bit more on time, while this year they were off about five (5) minutes.
“And that’s tough; you know the athletes really appreciate that. It dictates how they warm up, how they prepare for their events so being able to be on time, I keep stressing it because I know firsthand as an athlete how important that is and obviously the officials do.”
The former athlete also offered a comment on the quality of the local athletes and while Daniel Williams, who just won a silver medal in the 400m at the World U18 Championships in Nairobi was not present, she acknowledged his amazing performance.
“He would have placed if he was here today; Winston George won the 400m event in a new national record. He’s been very close to 44 that’s never been done and that’s a huge benchmark that puts us as a country in a different light.”
Sponsors on board this year were NSC/MoE, Fly Jamaica, Banks DIH through its Rainforest Water, Powerade and Malta Supreme brands, IAAF, ConSudAtle, Ramada Georgetown Princess Hotel, Quality Plus Fast Foods, GOA, Douglas & Associate, P.C. (Attorneys at Law) of NYC, SDS Petroleum, Amethyst Marine Service, Star Party Rentals and Hit & Jam 94.1 FM.
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