May 27, 2013 Sports
– IHM attracts overseas-based athletes
By Edison Jefford
Still recovering from a recurring groin injury, Cleveland Forde was still able to out-sprint Trinidad and Tobago-based, Kelvin Johnson to win yet another distance title early yesterday morning when the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport (MCYS)/Athletics Association of Guyana (AAG) held the annual Independence Half Marathon (IHM).
Forde and Johnson broke away from the quality pack that also included Trinidad-based, Lionel D’Andrade, Cleveland Thomas and Dennis Horatio around Buxton before Forde for the umpteenth time in his long career used his speed with about 100m left in the race to add another title to his bourgeoning cabinet.
Forde won in 1:14.37, while Johnson had 1:14.43 for second. D’Andrade finished third in a time of 1:15.31 while Thomas (1:15.32) and Horatio (1:18.44) sealed the top five in the male version of the race that attracted Guyana’s seasoned overseas-based distance campaigners. The race had started at Paradise on the East Coast and finished outside the MCYS on Main Street.
“It (the race) was around the pace I expected, but I felt a little pressured. I had expected a more comfortable race, but he (Johnson) seems to be more comfortable than I was. My focus is just to overcome this injury fully,” Forde said after the race.
His long-time rival, Johnson, when asked why he did not pressure Forde more on the course, said that he did not do any speed preparation leading up to the event. “I wasn’t in the condition to plan really. I just wanted to keep a high pace and hope for the win, but he (Forde) held on then as you know, he used his speed,” Johnson indicated.
A junior male pack that included Linden’s Winston Missenger, Rupununi’s Samuel Kaitan and Georgetown’s Kevin Bayley and Devon Barrington finished in that order. Barrington, a National Schools’ Championship standout, said it was his first Half Marathon.
The athletes, who finished first to fifth in the Open male and female categories, received cash prizes and trophies while those finishing first to third among the masters were also similarly rewarded.
Euleen Josiah-Tanner, who is based in the United States of America, ran unrivalled to defend her female title in a time of 1:30.07 with the Guyana Defence Force’s stalwart, Ashanti Scott second in 1:39.51 and Police’s, Adama Roberts (1:46.56) third. Jevina Straker (1:52.46) and Samantha Williams (2:25.41) were fourth and fifth respectively. Alika Morgan did not compete in the race.
Suriname’s Guillermo Udenhout won the male Masters 40-55 race in 1:24.42 ahead of Ian Archibald (1:28.25) and Orin Josiah (1:32.55) respectively. Llewellyn Gardner was the Master’s over-55 winner in 1:32 with Maurice Fagundes (1:50.11) and Carlton Stephenson (2:01.24) finishing in that order.
Alicia Fortune captured the female Master’s title in 2:04.16, while Cyrleen Phillips finished second in 2:04.19 and June Joseph (3:02.5) third. Meanwhile, the MCYS Deputy Permanent Secretary, Steve Ninvalle finished the gruelling race along with sports personality, Mark Young among several other enthusiasts.
Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport, Dr. Frank Anthony told those present yesterday that he is heartened with the participation of the over 100 athletes and enthusiasts. “We need cooperation and we need people to come together,” he said.
“I hope we can meet with the AAG Executive and initiate some things. We want to grow this event and get more people participating. We want to start doing the marathon this year,” he continued, adding that he has already spoken to AAG Vice-President, Gavin Hope about them hosting a marathon in November.
Hope answered the challenge, stating that the partnership with the ministry will be successful as they move forward. “We are committed to the sport. The AAG will continue to work with NSC (National Sports Commission) and any organisation that wants to take athletics to the next level in Guyana,” Hope indicated.
The former national sprinter said that there were some hiccups yesterday, but the association can be exonerated because it is a new executive. Nevertheless, Hope said that the NSC and Ministry want to support athletics and congratulated all the winners.
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