April defeats Bolivian, 3 counterparts draw byes
Urged on by President and Secretary General of the Guyana Olympic Association (GOA), K. A Juman Yassin and Hector Edwards, Guyana’s athletes made a great start to their medal quest at the inaugural South American Youth Games which started yesterday with swimming, cycling and boxing in Lima, Peru.
Boxer Michael April warmed the hearts of the GOA top brass, Chef-de-Mission Dr, Karen Pilgrim, his Coach Wincel ‘Naka B’ Thomas and fellow pugilists with a clinical display as he demolished the challenge of Bolivian opponent, W. Choque in their 52kg 3-round contest.
The confident April who hails from the County of Berbice, peppered his taller opponent with some good combination and crisp jabs throughout the contest. The Bolivian did get in some punches of his own but April kept the pressure up and came out the victor in the end.
Commenting on his win, April said he worked hard for it and is thankful to God, his Coach and fellow boxers for their support. He also thanked the GOA for affording him the opportunity to start his career for Guyana on a positive note. It is also the first victory in the ring for Guyana at these Games which are expected to be a consistent affair among South American countries.
Coach Wincel Thomas had an excellent start which saw all his fighters going through to the second round. Apart from April, Tefon Greene (49kg), Joel Williamson (56g) and Travis Fraser (69kg) all drew byes to the second round of action.
Thomas disclosed that they are not certain when the other fighters will be in action, it can very well be today but that will be known at the weigh-in this morning.
Commenting on April’s victory, Thomas said he is very elated with the win and the fact that all his pugilists have gone through.
“I am really pleased with the way things have gone for us so far, April applied himself well, followed instructions and has reaped the rewards. We still have more fights on our hands, but we have been preparing hard, the weather here is cold and that in itself is a huge challenge which we have been dealing with so far and intend to continue the path to more success for these boxers and our nation.”
Making the weight in their respective divisions Thomas disclosed, has been challenging, he has had to make them follow a strict diet along with a disciplined training routine to counter the weather.
Swimming Coach Sean Baksh also voiced his pleasure at the performances of his three swimmers who all achieved Personal Best times in their events yesterday.
Omar Adams clocked 1’ 02.07 in his 100m freestyle race, his entry time was 1’ 04.79. Hannibal Gaskin in the same event registered a time of 1’ 00.74 erasing his previous time of 1’ 01.79, he finished 5th in heat two of three competing out of lane 6.
Gaskin clocked 1’ 06.05 in the 100m butterfly having entered with a time of 1’ 07.89. Female swimmer Onika George was not to be outdone as she posted a new personal best time of 29.36 in the 50m freestyle lowering her previous best of 29.88.
Baksh described the achievements of his athletes as very good noting that the competition here is top class.
On Friday evening, the athletes were part of the official opening ceremony of the Games which was held outdoors in very cold conditions that they are not accustomed to. The ceremony also went way past the original cut off point and this would have put the athletes who were competing on the opening day under some amount of pressure.
Today, the swimmers would be in action again, Adams and Gaskin will compete in the 50m freestyle while George will compete in the 100m freestyle and her pet event, 50m backstroke.
The cycle Road Race is also on today with Guyana taking part in the male and female categories. Crystal Lambert is the female rider while Akeem Arthur and Shaquel Agard are the male representatives who will be in action.
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