I read with deep concern Marian Burnett’s expressions of frustration at not receiving adequate support from the government of Guyana or from the governing athletics association in Guyana, in her pursuit to represent Guyana internationally in the area of track and field.
I share her concern, and believe that it is time to put an end to this neglect.
Within recent times, this very issue has been magnified and ventilated. It is currently engaging our attention overseas. Many of these athletes have been voicing similar concerns to some of us in the leadership of the Diaspora.
While I offer no comment on Marian’s account of her experience at the Central American and the Caribbean (CAC) Games in Porto Rico, I empathize with her frustration over the lack of support.
I passionately believe that the government has an obligation to support these national heroes, as well as to appropriate and allocate adequate funding to the relevant athletic associations for support of our athletes.
Therefore their neglect borders on abandonment and disloyalty. The government must demonstrate an interest in the welfare of these athletes and invest monetarily in them as well as in the area of track and field, just as it has invested in the sport of cricket. They deserve no less.
The demonstrable lack of support for non-resident Guyanese athletes who represent Guyana internationally is worrisome. Many opine that this desertion seems to be cultural.
However, as a Guyanese, I refuse to believe, accept or countenance this.
Thus, I strongly denounce this neglect and call for a reversal immediately.
Only last week I had reason to bring this matter to the attention of Guyana’s Minister of Sports and Culture, Dr. Frank Anthony; albeit with regard to another world class Guyanese athlete, Jeremy Bascom – a 100-meter sprinter who has clocked the fastest time ever run by a Guyanese, and holds the Guyana national 100-meter record at ten seconds.
Bascom created history at the New Jersey Open and Master’s Championships on June 19, 2010 at Ramapo, New Jersey, when he broke Guyana’s thirty-year old 100-meter record of 10.19 seconds set by James Gilkes in 1978, by running the 100 meter race in ten (10) seconds.
Currently Jeremy’s time is the eleventh (11th) fastest time in the world, with his record being just POINT FIVE seconds less than the current World 100 meter record of 9.58 seconds; set by Olympic champion, Jamaican Usain Bolt.
Jeremy has also won over thirty athletic meets and over fifteen championships throughout the United States; including both the Northeastern Conference Indoor and Outdoor College championships, Intercollegiate Association of Amateur Athletes of America (ICA-AAA) Track and Field championship, and has also distinguished himself as a genuine athletic champion by winning gold at the Penn Relays.
Why aren’t we as a nation celebrating this young man? Why hasn’t he been given incentives like a house and land, as other sportsmen have? Are the government and people of Guyana even aware of Jeremy Bascom and his outstanding accomplishments on the track?
Is President Bharrat Jagdeo aware of Jeremy Bascom’s outstanding accomplishments? If not, why not? Does the government track and monitor the accomplishments of its nationals abroad?
Does the government
even know or care that Bascom will be traveling to New Delhi, India to represent Guyana at the Commonwealth Games next month and, based on his performance, is poised to probably set a new record?
I hope that the government will grant him adequate support as well as help with the necessary resources and equipment to compete.
Moreover, my inquires at the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) have revealed that the Athletics Association of Guyana (AAG) has not yet officially communicated Bascom’s time to that body, to ensure that he is officially and properly ranked at number 11 in the world.
Both the IAAF and AAG are aware of Bascom’s time which has been certified by the New Jersey Athletics Association. All that is required is that the Athletic Association which Bascom represents makes the official representations to the IAAF.
I hope that Dr. Frank Anthony ensures that AAG does this before the Commonwealth Games.
Other countries like Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, the Bahamas, Antigua, etc, are way ahead of us. It is time that Guyana steps up to its responsibilities and immediately end this abandonment of its international athletes.
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