By Juanita Hooper
Guyana Defence Force (GDF), Tyshon Bentick and Ashanti Scott outclassed the field yesterday morning in the Open Male and Female category when the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports (MCY&S) in collaboration with the Athletics Association of Guyana (AAG), in the effort of resuscitating long distance running, hosted the first of a series of their 5km Road Races and Fitness Jogs in the absence of the little Kenyan, Cleveland Forde of the GDF, US-based Euleen Josiah-Tanner and Rising Stars athlete, Alika Morgan, who will be representing Guyana today in the CARICOM 10km Road Race in St. Lucia.
The 5km road race, which attracted 34 competitors and concluded in front of MCY&S, Main Street, saw Bentick finishing first overall without a challenger as he turned unto Main Street for the finish.
Bentick running neck to neck with his team mate, Carlon Halley from the beginning of the race which was under starting instructions of the Mexican Ambassador to Guyana, Francisco Olguin, saw overall winner of the 5km road race registering 21:06 seconds. His teammate, Halley settled for silver in a time of 22:16.66 seconds as Police Progressive Youth Club (PPYC) athlete, Shawn Semple was third in 23:21.29 seconds, GDF’s Orwin Corlette was fourth in 23:57.87 seconds.
Promising athlete, Ashanti Scott sprinted down the homestretch with Derwin Eastman (Open Male) to take the Open Female category of the race in a time of 24:44.69 seconds, PPYC, Eva Harry finished second in 28:05.62 seconds, while President’s/Jefford Classic triple jump silver medalist, Tracey Moses clocked 29:29.51 seconds to take the last spot on the podium.
National Schools Track and Field Champion athlete, Jevina Straker of Running Brave, won the Junior Girls category in a time of 25:44.41 seconds as Sadiqua Shabazz of GDF was runner-up to Straker after clocking 29:57.22 seconds. PPYC field event athlete, Yoel Benjamin, the only athlete in the Junior Boys category ran a comfortable race in 28:46.26 seconds to take an easy victory.
Reigning sprint queen, Alicia Fortune, of Running Brave, took an easy race as well since she was running against the clock. Fortune who recently returned from the Sagicor Open National Championships in Trinidad and Tobago, registered 28:05.62 seconds to win the Masters 35 years and over category.
Lindon Harrison ran away with the gold medal in the Masters Men 40-55 years against Llewellyn Gardener (24:37.87 seconds) in a time of 24:29.62 seconds; Errol Warde was third in 25:26.37 seconds.
Maurice Fagundes (28:59.12 seconds) secured the Masters 55&Over and was awarded as the oldest finisher (69 years). Franklyn Archer and Francisco Olguin were second and third respectively. Another special award was given to PPYC’s Calvin Thomas for completing the race.
Meanwhile, Director of Sport, Neil Kumar, speaking at the presentation ceremony after the race in the MCY&S compound and disclosing his disappointment on the turnout at the 5km, stated that the event will be a monthly one as cash incentive prizes will be rewarded to the club that enters the most athletes.
Kumar congratulating the participants and applauded the soldiers for supporting their athletes, urged the athletes especially the Masters to continue running at events of such nature.
President of the Athletics Association of Guyana (AAG), Colin Boyce shared the same disappointment as the Director of Sport stated that he was unhappy with the fact that some of the prominent athletes did not complete.
Permanent Secretary (PS) in the MCY&S commenting on the 5km said that the onus is on the Ministry to promote middle and long distance athletes in Guyana and hopes that more Clubs along with Associations can partake in the event.
Speaking with AAG Coach of the Year, Lyndon Wilson after the presentation ceremony on the monthly 5km Road Race and Fitness Jogs, Wilson stated that he was pleased to know that the Ministry organised an event of this nature, “It is good gesture and also works as a fitness workout for sprinters.”
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