As stronghold on IGG Athletics released
By Edison Jefford
Suriname thinks Guyana underestimated them in the Inter-Guiana Games (IGG) Athletics Championships and as such their stronghold on that title was emphatically released over a course of two days at the Baduel Stadium, Cayenne.
Speaking briefly with Kaieteur Sport following their athletics victory, Chairman of Sports in Suriname, Michael Watson said that he was convinced that Guyana underestimated his athletics team following their performance last weekend.
“I think they underestimated us. All the time Mr (Neil) Kumar was telling me that he was going to win athletics and I told him that he should not be so sure,” Watson said, while he made it clear that Suriname was prepared for the contest.
Guyana had not lost the IGG Athletics Championships since the Games restarted in 1993, and not 1991 as Kaieteur Sport had previously published. Athletics was Guyana’s ‘foot-in-the-door’ in the multi-disciplined tri-nation competition.
Suriname had a combined total of 295 points from the male and female duels as opposed to Guyana’s 241, which was one more than third place finishers, French Guiana. Guyana ended the first stage of the competition without a win. Guyana also lost the Swimming and Football competitions on the two previous days.
After the males, who won their competition, had placed Guyana up on the first day of the athletics event, the female team lacked the fire power to complete their dominance on the second day as Suriname surged ahead with solid performances.
Regillio Mase propelled the Surinamese early in the day when he sprang 6m71 to win the long jump event ahead of Guyana’s Winston Caesar, who had 6m 64 for second place and French Guiana’s Manuel Bilioniere’s 6m 59 mark.
The Surinamese then continued their advance when S’meralda Lynch leaped 5m 18 to win the female long jump competition with French Guiana’s Melanie Rose and Larissa Gallas taking the next two spots with 5m 17 and 4m 98 marks.
Guyana’s two representatives in the event, Juanita Hooper and Marica Isaacs had finished fourth and sixth respectively with 4m82 and 4m59 jumps. Guyana firmly gave up the title hunt in the male and female 200m events Sunday.
The local competitors in the male 200m, Franken Mercurius and Shawn Semple settled in fourth and sixth positions in 22.5 and 23.3 seconds respectively. French Guiana’s sprinter Boris Balum won the event in a blistering 21.9 seconds.
Suriname’s Astrayo Leeflang was second in 22.0 while French Guiana’s Jacky Daguerre was third in 22.4 seconds. Suriname took the first two places in the female version of the 200m event as Guyana finished fourth and sixth.
Danielle Clark won the race in 24.4 seconds with team-mate Ramona Van Der Vloot in a close second with 24.5 seconds. French Guiana’s, Aurelie Quemon was third in 25.1. The Guyanese duo of Ianna Graham and Tiffany Carto finished with 25.6 and 26.0 respectively.
Suriname continued its surge when Genelva Diko snatched the female 800m from the Guyanese early pace setters.
Diko timed her race well to overtake Guyana’s Andrea Gibson and Adama Roberts on the final turn to win the event in 2:27.6 with French Guiana’s Magdeline Thomas holding for second in 2:28.1. Roberts was third in 2:30.1 seconds.
Kevin Bayley gave Guyana its first gold medal of the final day of athletics when he set an early pace in the male 800m and held on for the thrilling win in1:59.3 with his team-mate Malcolm Walcott finishing third in 2:01.5. Suriname’s Carlos Felixdal (2:00.1) was second.
Tyshon Bentick added his second gold medal to his cache Sunday, after winning the 1500m the day before, when he returned 16:40.1 in the 5000m. Suriname’s Regillio Touwslager was second in 16:48.0 while Guyana’ Jamaal Chisholm completed the top three places in 17:07.1.
Ryan Crandon threw his way to a silver medal in the male discus throw with 43m76 with Suriname’s Dean-nick Allen emphatically winning the event with a massive 49m72. French Guiana’s Miguel Laing (39m 06) was third.
Guyana did not get on the medal podium in the female discus throw as both competitors, Onescia Byass and Shemika Caesar finished fourth and sixth respectively, underlining the struggles of the female team to perform on the final day.
Suriname’s strength was their females as they won that competition with 161 points with French Guiana second with 132 points and Guyana third on 100 points. Guyana amassed 141 points to win the male contest with Suriname second on 134 points and hosts, French Guiana third on 108 points after final scores were released.
The Guiana Games started in 1968 where Suriname had won athletics that they repeated in 1970, ’71 and ’72. Guyana dominated athletics after then until there was a break owed to political unrest between 1981 and 1992.
Sunday’s athletics lost for Guyana was unprecedented since the Guiana Games restarted in 1993. Guyana had never lost athletics. There was another break between 2001 and 2005 but when the Games resumed in 2006, Guyana firmly held on to its athletics dominance again. In the 25-year history of IGG, Guyana had only lost the athletics title four times before Sunday.
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