By Rawle Welch
Many folks associated with athletics both now and in the past unanimously agreed with the general assertion
that not since the Annual Guymine/Guystac Games, which was held during the 70s’ and early 80s’, there has been so much chatter about athletics in this country.
Athletes and fans have been exposed to a lot of debate and boast about the Boyce/Jefford Athletics Classic over the past three weeks so today which marks the start of competition over the next two days is where the battle for individual and overall supremacy begins, at the Mackenzie Sports Club ground.
Many young athletes who would have only heard about the fierce rivalry that existed between the two dominant athletic regions of that era, Linden and the entities that came under the umbrella of Guystac, now have the opportunity to experience what it is like to compete in an atmosphere where the competition is of a high quality and doing so in front of an anticipated large crowd.
The Boyce/Jefford Classic over the past five years have been able to provide local athletes with invaluable preparations both from psychological and competitive standpoints as compared to any other Meet locally.
The relevance of the Classic cannot be overstated since it has been able to present a clear picture of the real standard of our athletes when placed alongside our regional counterparts, while at the same time the quality of organisation that is usually on display shows our readiness to host meets of a higher level.
There is no doubt that the Classic in the short period of its existence has made irrefutable advancement and whie, the Organisers have already signalled their intentions to remain loyal to the bulk of their support base, the blueprint that they possess could be easily transferred to accommodate elite athletes and competitions, especially since they normally retain IAAF accredited officials.
The Organisers have been meticulous in their planning and with the support of quite a few big corporate entities within Guyana’s context, and with a number of the Caribbean’s elite athletes enjoying lucrative sponsorship contracts with some, who knows, next year Guyanese fans could very well witness the presence of some of them, providing the Classic does not clash with their schedule.
Colin Boyce, one of the Co-founders of the Classic is a former President of the Athletic Association of Guyana and he must have made a few connections during his tenure, while Edison Jefford, the other partner in the group is a Sports Journalist, who through his work would have formed relationships with athletes and administrators along the way so the combination is a good one that could guarantee the presence of high profile athletes in the near future.
As the fans head down today to support the Classic and view the future of athletics in Guyana at a place where so many exciting races were recorded, one cannot help but reminisce on the intense rivalry that took place right on that ground including a few between the man that the entire event was conceptualised to honour, Elton Jefford, who many felt was perhaps the best locally bred sprinter.
The Classic aims to be just that, a classic so fans all across Guyana are being urged to get to the MSC to witness Guyana take on athletes from Suriname, Grenada, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago and the USA.
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