Jul 20, 2008 Sports Comments Off on Questions for Wong and his ‘aficionados’
By Edison Jefford
Clifford Wong, a self–proclaimed sports executive, has completely misunderstood the context of my last essay and in so doing has involved who he called “Guyanese track aficionados” in his defence of athletic inconsistency.
Just for the record, my last critical editorial in this newspaper dealt with the question of Guyana’s representation at major international meets by athletes who have not shown consistent improvement over a period of time.
I looked at the careers of Kenya–based distance athlete Cleveland Forde and United States–based quarter miler, Aliann Pompey in the context of Forde’s tenure at the Kipchoge Keino High Performance Centre in Kenya and Pompey’s exposure at two Olympic Games and three World Championships.
The facts of their inconsistency are there for readership on the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) website.
After Pompey’s Commonwealth Games win in Manchester, England in 2002, she did not reach the final of any other major event.
She recently ran a time of 51.07 in Sofia, Bulgaria but could not repeat that performance at the 2008 Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games. As a result, Pompey was ousted in the first round.
On the other hand, Forde, a SENIOR athlete with a personal best time of 14:07.08 in the 5000m done in 2004 (which incidentally would have earned him 15th at this year’s World JUNIOR Championships in Poland), slipped to 15:25.12 in 2007.
Ethiopia’s Abreham Cherkos won the male 5000m at the World Junior Championships in 13:08.57. His personal best is 12:54.19. The 14th place time at world juniors was 14:02.95 while 15th place clocked 14:13.53. There were 16 competitors.
This essay, however, is not about Pompey and Forde but rather the misconception that Wong attempted to perpetrate that there are serious sport executives and “aficionados” that would sympathise with such levels of inconsistency.
At a later date, I will present a thorough exposé on the times and performances of Pompey and Forde in relation to their exposure to ‘High Performance’ training and international meet like the Olympics and World Championships.
Returning to Wong, whose email was included in a news release captioned: “Aliann Pompey wins big in Ireland – shrugs of (sic) CAC misfortune and fallout”, purports that those “aficionados” are proponents of sub–standard performances.
According to this particular “Maryland–based sports executive”, those critics referred to the article in question as “unfounded and generally unfair to the (sic) Aliann” despite my disclosure of the IAAF as a primary source. I did not make up the facts.
Wong, who is also reportedly a coach, attributed Pompey’s inability to get out of the first round at CAC to fatigue owing to a rigorous flight schedule from Bulgaria to Columbia where the competition was being held.
Understandable, but Pompey had to know that her first priority is to represent her country at CAC as opposed to herself in Ireland. What was Pompey’s reason for going to Ireland if it would have jeopardised her performance at CAC?
Regardless of schedule, athletes accept their profession knowing the demands. Wong’s excuse as a coach and “sports executive” seem to undermine the seriousness of his approach (or lack thereof) to track and field.
“Marian and Aliann as long as they represent Guyana should never be criticised. They have done too much for Guyana on their own”, Wong said to close his missive on my article, which appeared on July 8.
First, I said nothing about Marian in my essay and second, the notion that those athletes should never be criticised is a complete distortion and misunderstanding of the practices of the profession of journalism, which should not be allowed.
I will close with my second and third questions for Wong. Can you identify what Marian and Aliann have done for Track and Field in Guyana? And can you tell us more about those “aficionados” you failed to identify?
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