– National Park United edges Police Progressive Youths
Hundreds turned out Sunday at the Mackenzie Sports Club Ground Linden to witness what easily became the biggest track and field competition so far this year as the country’s best athletes were clearly focused on separating the wheat from the weed.
There were some interesting developments like the re-emergence of Letitia Myles, an ex school’s champion, that will definitely cause some introspection among some athletes while others will be brushing those unique performances off as mere coincidence.
However, the fact remained that before hundreds of vocal fans, National Park United, the merger of clubs that train at their namesake venue, built the supremacy against results like sweeping the female 100m race with sprint queen Alisha Fortune leading the way.
Fortune, like Myles, comfortably won her heat and the surprise was Myles cruising to finish in a comfortable manner ahead of nemesis, Neisha Allen, who many believe is the next heir to the throne following Fortune’s decade of dominance.
So the anticipation was set, Fortune won in 12.4 seconds with Myles second in 12.8 and Allen in third with 13.10 seconds. Junior sensation, Tiffany Carto finished fourth in 13.60 seconds to set a right atmosphere for the men, who had begun their warm-ups.
While the same three athletes also swept the 200m women, the order was reversed for Allen and Myles with the former placing second in 27.03 seconds behind Fortune (26.00). Myles was third in 27.30 seconds, giving National Park more points in the hunt.
Myles and Allen went at it again in the 400m event with Allen winning in 1:04.10, Myles second in 1:04.80 and Shanna Thornhill third in 1:04.90 for yet another sweep for National Park, a team that eventually produced the strongest combination to win the event.
National Park amassed 279 points to edge Police Progressive Youth Club’s 265 points, while the Guyana Defence Force was third with 210 points. Hosts, Upper Demerara slipped to fourth place with 110 points in the inaugural President’s/Jefford Track and Field Classic.
National Park received $300,000 while Police got $200,000 for placing first and second. Digicel sponsored both of the prizes to the tune of $500,000 along with the outstanding male and female athletes’ prizes. GDF received $100,000 while Upper Dem got $50,000.
With an inconsistent weather pattern in Linden, which caused the venue to undergo some amount of preparations that started weeks in advance, the pace on the usually fast Linden track was taken off as was evident with the times the men’s 100m race returned.
Michael Saul, for all his record-equally performance at the Police Athletics Championship could not produce similar results in Linden. It was Guyana Defence Force’s, Rupert Perry who was the winner of the men’s 100m in a definitely below-best 11.00 seconds.
Saul could not even manage second as National Park United’s, Kenneth Semple (11.1) outdid the Policeman for second. Saul was third in 11.4 seconds. The heats then final system that was in use for most of the premier events forced the athletes to be much fitter. Perry continued his local ascendancy when he completed his sprint double by winning the men’s 200m race in 22.20 seconds. Newcomer, Winston George, representing the Police, was in second with 22.50 seconds while Patrick King’s 22.60 was good for third.
National Park’s, Wayne Harlequin won the male 400m in 50.30 seconds with George in second with 50.50 seconds and Patrick King third in 51.50 seconds. Harlequin made it a double when he also won the 800m race from Dennis Horatio and Kevin Bayley.
Harlequin completed the race in 2:00.03 with Horatio and Bayley turning in 2:02.30 and 2:03.40 respectively while Cleveland Thomas, who eventually won the ‘best male athlete’ award, was in the fifth position. However, Thomas won the 1500 and placed second in the 5000m race behind Defence Force’s Wilbert Mingo.
Alika Morgan and Natasha Alder shared the ‘best female athlete’ award after Alder won the Shot Putt, Javelin and Discuss events and Morgan the 800m, 1500m and 3000m events. Morgan was a definite cut above anyone who dared challenged the Caribbean distance queen.
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