By Edison Jefford
Guyana’s most decorated distance athlete, Cleveland Forde will be forced to miss the third stage of the International
Association of Athletic Federation (IAAF) South American 10km Road Race Classic, which is set for Panama on Sunday.
Forde will not be competing in the race for the third consecutive year, owed to the unavailability of funds from the Athletics Association of Guyana (AAG). Forde has won the first two stages of the race in Guyana and Suriname respectively.
He was expected to gun for a clean sweep that would have been his first in his South American 10km road race history. However, Forde was jolted off course Wednesday when he said he was informed that the association cannot fund his participation.
“I wanted to go, but they said that they do not have the funds. I received formal word yesterday (Wednesday),” he informed, adding that the association asked him to pay half the cost to attend, but “that made no sense” to him.
The most dominant athlete since the inception of the race twelve years ago, Forde has won two stages six times for a combined 12 overall wins of 36 South American 10km races. Forde placed second the three times he competed in Panama (2009, 2010 and 2011), which is higher in altitude and demands acclimatisation to adjust breathing.
“I was looking forward to the race (in Panama). I’m disappointed that I cannot go for a third win, but then again that is how it goes sometimes. On the streets wherever I go, everyone is asking me about Panama, now they know I will not be going,” Forde said.
Asked about his own fitness, since Kaieteur Sport had heard that Forde on his own volition was not keen on competing in Panama, the 29-year-old distance running ace said that he was not up to pursuing the matter further with the association.
“After they said that they cannot fund my participation and asked me to put half the money, I left it alone; I did not pursue it much. You know me; I didn’t want to talk too much and then that put pressure on me to perform in Panama,” the usually quiet Forde opined.
The occurrence brings the curtains down on the competition season for the University of Guyana Social Sciences student. In addition to the first two stages of the South American race, Forde had also won the Ainlim race and missed the Courts event owed to Chikungunya.
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