Grant-Stuart destroys star- studded field to win feature 35- lap race
By Franklin Wilson
There could not have been a better end to the 34th annual National Sports Commission sponsored Teach them Young 8-weeks cycling programme which took place at the National Park yesterday.
Physically Challenged rider Walter Grant-Stuart proved yet again that disability is in no way a barrier to competing against those not so disadvantaged. Grant-Stuart in stunning fashion recorded another big win when he won the feature school boys & invitation 35-lap race in emphatic style.
Leading from lap 5, a smiling Grant-Stuart crossed the finish line way ahead of his more accomplished rivals in 1 hour 23 minutes 01.83 seconds, unchallenged. His performance was so devastating on a sunny and humid day that he also took 7 of the 8 prime prizes on offer, Andrew Spencer took the other.
Marlon ‘Fishy’ Williams led home the chasing second pack in 1 hour 25 minutes 48 seconds winning an exciting sprint ahead of rival Robin Persaud, Mark Lewis, Lear Nunes and Eric Sankar in that order.
From lap 5 Grant-Stuart kept increasing the lead over the field and the fight was always going to be for the 2nd to 6th place; Williams being the man all the others were looking at which allowed Grant-Stuart to consolidate his grip on the race.
Christopher Holder won the juvenile race with Paul De Nobrega claiming the runner up position ahead of Kurt La Rose.
Linden’s Kirkwoood Kellman was victorious in the veteran over-50 contest with Monty Parris 2nd and Courtney Thomas 3rd. Virgil Jones, Turham Harris of
Berbice and Kennard Lovell finished in that order in the veteran under-50 match up.
Female Berbician Marica Dick toped the field in the 12-14 racing bike 3-lap clash, Naiomi Singh taking the runner up spot ahead of Ricardo Sharma. Mario King was the best upright rider crossing the line ahead of Ozia McCually and Nigel Jacobs.
In the BMX events, Nicholas D’Andrade triumphed in the 6-9 contest; Keon Harris and Rishide Ceres finishing in that order. Adrian Sharma was better than his counterpart, Jermaine Beckles in the 9-12 battle; Shaquel Agard won the 12-14 race relegating Darius Ramsammy to the runner up spot, Adrian Sharma placed 3rd. Agard was again the top rider in the BMX open showdown with Ramsammy second best again and Randy Haynes 3rd.
Speaking at the presentation ceremony, Permanent Secretary within the Ministry of Culture Youth and Sport Alfred King commended organiser Hassan Mohamed for the splendid job he has been doing over the 34 years the Teach Them Young Programme has been running.
King noted that 34 years of continuous growth is a massive achievement pointing out that many programmes don’t last 3 years.
He alluded to the fact that the skills, right attitude to the sport, discipline and love for the sport which is passed on to the young riders of the programme assists in shaping their future when they graduate to the senior ranks.
The Ministry of Culture Youth and Sports has ran off close to 100 camps around the country during the August holidays King informed stating that well over 7000 persons have benefitted.
“I would like to challenge the Cycling federation to move some of their programmes outside of the city to get more youngsters involved, areas such as Linden, New Amsterdam and Anna Regina. I would also like to see more women being attracted to the sport apart from the few who compete.”
King complimented Grant-Stuart for winning the race and singled him out as a role model to all the riders. He noted that the Physically Challenged cyclist has shown a high level of commitment and dedication and would do well for Guyana at the Para Olympics, since he has the capacity to win gold.
National Coach Hassan Mohamed MS who has been the solid pillar behind the Teach Them Young programme ever since its inception in 1977, informed that this year’s programme which pedaled off on July 12 officially ended yesterday.
Mohamed, expressed his satisfaction at the turnout which he pointed out was the highest ever.
“This is the best year of the programme in many regards for me not only in terms of the numbers who turned out but I was happy to see so many new faces. I had a long talk with them on Saturday and I am looking forward to some exciting days as they mature in the sport.”
The National Park will continue to host a number of programmes that will last for the remainder of the year, Mohammed informed.
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