By Franklin Wilson in Trinidad compliments of Bakewell, Roti Hut, Fazia’s Collection, Digicel & Fitness Express
The Copa Airline aircraft transporting the Guyana and Suriname delegations to the 1 South American Youth Games in Lima, Peru touched down at 02:06 hrs at the Jorge Chavez International Airport on Wednesday after a three and a half hours flight from Panama.
Having left Guyana at 09:50hrs on Tuesday, the athletes were naturally tired. They were greeted in Peru by Chef-de-Mission Dr. Karen Pilgrim who had traveled ahead to attend the Delegation Registration Meeting (DRM).
After being welcomed to Peru at the airport by Dr. Pilgrim, the delegation was issued with their accreditation and keys to their rooms at the Four Points by Sheraton Hotel where they are staying.
Following a few hours rest, the athletes and coaches were up and about as they sought to get accustomed with the different weather faced with here; it’s cold and nippy. This isn’t something that will change, as a matter of fact, it can get even colder, despite this; the Games will go on with the opening ceremony set for Friday.
Speaking with Kaieteur Sport, Dr. Pilgrim said that she was very pleased that Guyana can be represented by so many young emerging athletes which is a major positive for the nation, while thanking the organisers of the Games.
While there are some positives which includes excellent accommodation, meals and friendly and willing Hotel staff, the Chef-de-Mission noted that they have been faced with a number of challenges to the extent that the morning and early afternoon training sessions were missed by the various disciplines due to no fault of the Guyanese.
“It’s been very difficult for us and these challenges were noticed since the DRM which should have been completed two days ago but hasn’t been. Key information is reaching us way late and this resulted in the teams missing training sessions in the morning and early afternoon.”
With the assistance of the Chef-de-Mission of the Aruba Team, Giovanni Leocadia, some of the teams were able to see the venues where they will be competing whilst in the case of Athletics, Weightlifting and Swimming, were on course to do some training yesterday afternoon.
The swimmers missed the Long Course training in the morning and were hoping to get the Short Course training in the afternoon. Badminton, Cycling and Table Tennis athletes and Coaches were off to get a look see at the venues they will be competing at. In the case of Table Tennis, the venue is 1 ½ hrs away from the Hotel.
Transportation coordination would have to be spot on since the Games are being held at multiple venues and not in a concentrated area, Dr. Pilgrim is quite aware of the challenges that can be experienced if this issue is not overcome.
It was pointed out also that the Cycling rules were changed at least twice, the last time being at the DRM a few days ago. It means that some of the riders will have to be moved around and do some other events, Mountain and BMX.
The language barrier poses some challenges, the English speaking attaché that was promised for Team Guyana was still not visible at the time of writing this article on Wednesday evening, also, the cellular phone that the Chef-de-Mission should have received, has not mateiarlised up to late last evening.
Despite these hiccups, Dr. Pilgrim reported that the athletes and officials are focused on the task of doing well for their country and is hoping that the problems being faced will be ironed out today.
“I am happy to see the jovial way these young athletes have been since arriving, they are gelling and getting to know each other more. The fact that we have come here a few days before competition will aid in these young athletes getting accustomed to the different weather pattern here; I am sure they will all rise to the challenge.”
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