-Three sprinters depart for HPTC in Jamaica
By Edison Jefford
Three of Guyana’s most promising senior sprinters departed today for a five-month stint at the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) High Performance Training Centre (HPTC) in Jamaica with the London Olympic Games in focus.
Sprinters Quinse Clark, Rupert Perry and Winston George will benefit from the unprecedented initiative that the Athletics Association of Guyana (AAG) facilitated with support from the Guyana Olympic Association (GOA), Guyana Defence Force (GDF) and Guyana Police Force.
George, who has already qualified for the Olympic Games under the ‘B’ Standard in the 400m, has a different role at the Centre than Clarke and Perry. George ran 45.86 seconds at the ALBA Games in Venezuela last year to qualify below the 45.90 requirement.
His stint is primarily to continue his preparations for the Olympics under the best conditions, but Clarke and Perry are seeking Olympic berths with chances likely to improve given their exposure at the Centre. The opportunity for Clarke and Perry to be part of the HPTC was an expression of the AAG’s confidence in them achieving either the 100m or 200m qualifying times.
Under Olympic rules, only one ‘B’ Standard qualifier is allowed per race. It meant that Perry and Clarke were placed in the peculiar position of specialising in either of the events while in Jamaica as a means of ensuring ‘maximum qualification’ for the Olympic Games.
The three athletes met at the GOA office yesterday with GOA President, K.A Juman Yassin; the AAG President, Assistant Superintendant, Colin Boyce and Lieutenant Colonel, Claude Fraser to update the media on what is a historic occasion for local sprinters.
“We are very happy for this collaborative effort. I want you to know that whatever you do is for you and your country. You are on a mission, do not be scared of the (Yohan) Blake and (Usain) Bolt that you will see there in Jamaica,” Yassin told the athletes.
The GOA President reminded the athletes that their respective organisations have invested what he called an “enormous sum” of money in them and as such they are expected to produce results. “I am looking for payback; our payback is for standards to improve,” he said.
Yassin believed that the overall standards of local track and field will continue to improve when the synthetic facility at Leonora is completed. However, he reminded the athletes that GOA has a good relationship with the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) and therefore, he does not expect them to have any problems over the course of their five months there.
Boyce concurred with Yassin when he mentioned that there was no hesitation to host the athletes from JOA President, Neville McCook when they spoke last year. He said that JOA immediately accepted Guyana’s request. It cost the stakeholders involved in the initiative US$1100 per month for each athlete to have them participate at the HPTC in Jamaica. The sum is minus airfare and a per diem for the athletes.
Lieutenant Colonel, Fraser said that the Defence Board is fully behind Clarke and Perry. He said that the Board did not hesitate to support the two soldiers. He urged the three athletes to make an indelible impression at the Centre and achieve the ultimate goal.
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