-Athletes displeased with poor organisation
By Juanita Hooper
The recently held 2011 National Schools’ Cycling, Swimming and Track and Field Championships, which was held in the Capital City of Guyana between November 15-18 at the National Aquatic Centre and the National Stadium was more of a historic disaster than a historic success.
The National Championships, which comprise of athletes from across the trails of Guyana, saw the swimmers gaining an advantage in the Championship while the Track and Field, Cycling and Teacher-athletes was at a major disadvantage.
The Swimming Championship was completed in one day at the National Aquatic Centre and saw North Zone, District 11 accumulating the most points to claim that Championship, which had all of its events completed successfully.
President of Guyana Teachers Union, Colin Bynoe, who said a few weeks ago to Kaieteur Sport that it pleases him to see that they are finally in line with other Caribbean countries with Schools’ Championships, was probably referring to the Swimming Championships alone, since all the other Championships were uncompleted to arrive with a winner at the end.
In the goodwill of the athletes that ‘so called Championships’ should have not arrived with a winner since the record shows that many of the events were not run off, and that the Management Committee should have inquired in ensuring that the events were properly organised.
Earlier, this publication made mention of what Bynoe said about Guyana’s status to other Caribbean countries as it relates to Schools’ Championships, but looking at this year’s Nationals at the National Stadium, one would see that it was not as he said.
Guyana’s 51st Schools’ Championships cannot meet ‘in line’ with other Caribbean countries, looking at Jamaica’s Schools’ Championships (Inter-Secondary Schools Boys’ and Girls’ Championships better known as Champs), one can see that it is properly managed by Jamaica’s Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA) and is standardised to other Caribbean countries except Guyana.
Usain Bolt, the male leading sprinter in the world presently was a crop from the ISSBGC and if Guyana would like to see an athlete superior than Bolt then they will have to correct the Schools’ Championships since that is one of our popular grapevines.
In the ISSBGC, events are staged for over four days and begins with the field events and ends with all relays, in Guyana’s National Schools’ Cycling, Swimming and Track and Field Championships, events are staged for four days and starts with Swimming, Road Races (Running and Cycling) and is supposed to end with relays with the other events running off between the remaining days.
Digicel’s Sponsorship Manager, Gavin Hope who presented the prizes for the Schools’ Cycling, Swimming and Track and Field Championships at the GTU Hall urged those officials responsible for the organising of the National Schools’ Cycling, Swimming and Track and Field Championships to work overtime to iron out the administrative issues of the event; “I hope the Ministry (of Education) and GTU (Guyana Teachers Union) plan to smoothen out issues before the 2012 competition…it affects the children and because of that you must ensure that you get it right. We (Digicel) are onboard for the next two years, but we need to get it right so that we can all be proud”, he said.
One of the major issues at the Championship was the protest by South Georgetown over a late inclusion of Fiyad Sattaur in East Georgetown (District 12) which was deemed illegal. The protest caused a four-hour delay which added to some of the events being uncompleted from the previous day by heavy rainfall.
That protest triggered others and as a result other Districts were protesting over the quality of their food that they were provided with and that also delaying the Championships on the Friday.
After hours of dialogue on the protest which was fuelled by the affected Districts, the Championships was resumed with the 200m heats followed with some cycling then the 400m finals. Eventually, the Championships abruptly ended around 11pm, causing many athletes to go home medal-less and trophy-less without knowing the overall winner of the Championships.
Many of the protests and problems that occurred at the National Schools Championships should have not transpired.
The late inclusion of the athlete in East Georgetown should not have occurred since team managers were given a specified time to register all of their athletes which would show that they can participate in the Championship (providing a valid Birth Certificate and Passport sized pictures). This showed that there was a breach in the provided rules of the Union and with that comes poor organisation.
The poor organisation caused many of the athletes to be displeased with the outcome of an annual event that they anxiously wait for around the ending of each year.
The absence of batons at one of the biggest Championships in Guyana, left the athletes amused on the first day of the Track and Field Championships, and what was more amusing to them was the fact that there was no floodlights at the historic event. “The National Stadium had floodlights, why are they not using them”, an athlete said.
Adding to the disastrous Nationals was the use of whistles to start the races on the first day; usually it’s a tradition for the starters to use pistols to start the races.
It was even more hurtful for the athletes who usually jump. Many of them returned to their respective homes without even getting the chance to compete in the event that they qualified for after going through the phases to qualify for the Championships.
In the field events area in the Championships, the long jumps and triple jumps were untouched with a few of the high jumps events being completed.
Speaking with one of the athletes from Upper Demerara this publication was made to understand that he was disappointed since he was denied the opportunity to show case his God-given talent.
As it pertains to the relays (4X100m, 4X400m), the athletes’ hearts must be shattered after running their hearts out to qualify for the finals and did not even acquire the chance to run the finals after the abrupt end.
Parents even took their children (younger ones), who were sleeping under the registration tents out of the competition.
Kaieteur Sport was able to gather some of the comments from the athletes who participated in the Championship this year and previous years on Guyana Track Family page on Facebook.
Among some of the sentiments: “Nationals was poor preparation, the person(s) who planned Nationals this year cannot plan at all…since when 200m is the last event at Nationals, come on, and yet they still have a winner.”
-“Imagine I had to run the 200m finals right after the 400m finals.”
– “Wow, was there ever a time before when I thought athletics would have come to this.”
– “I certainly do not understand how Nationals was incomplete and they gave the Championships to District 10.”
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