By Edison Jefford
Despite finishing outside the top three last year, South Georgetown is somehow
boasting that this year will be a definitive one for them at the National Schools Cycling, Swimming and Track and Field Championships, which will be held at Guyana Defence Force (GDF) Base Camp Ayangana Ground, Thomas Lands.
South Georgetown has never won the overall title in the 54-year history of the Championship but promises, based on their arsenal this year, to turn in a stellar performance that could land them in the crème de le crème of the National Schools’ Championships.
The last time South Georgetown was among a title was in 1979 when Georgetown competed as a unit before splitting into South, East and North Georgetown. I competed for South Georgetown’s team in all my years at Nationals, first as a student-athlete at South Ruimveldt Primary when rain cancelled the event in 1995 then at Central High School from 1996-2000; we were never able, in those years to pull off an independent championship win.
But somehow, in this New Millennium, South Georgetown, with its grey, white and red signature colours, believe it will create history with an extraordinary upset. This will not be an easy feat as an already super-talented defending champion, North Georgetown; District 11 will be aiming for its 15th overall individual title.
In addition, Upper Demerara, District 10, will be looking for 14 of the overall accolades while Corentyne and Bartica hunt their first solo prize. This is not to say that South Georgetown was without talent.
In my heyday, my seniors were the ultra-gifted Deon Barker (Central High), the late Franz Welch (Central High), Anton Francis (East Ruimveldt Secondary), Taz Morgan (North Ruimveldt Multilateral) and many others who either went on to represent Guyana with distinction or left on athletic scholarships.
Despite criticisms, the National Schools’ Championships remain the flagship event for schools’ sport in Guyana. It is our sport culture and what we identify with from the earliest introduction to swimming, cycling and track and field. There is hardly any great Guyanese sportsman or woman, who did not come through the ranks at Nationals.
Transitioning from my time to now, junior national track and field stars, Tiffany Carto, Letitia Myles, Stephan James, Tevin Garraway and cyclist, Paul DeNobrega among several others, who must spare me the non-mention, were all nurtured in South Georgetown.
The point is despite the absence of an overall title, South Georgetown remained rich with talents, and it is suspected that it is the knowledge of such abundance that has Assistant Manager of the District, Leon Bishop beaming with confidence.
“We’ll improve from last year, we place ninth or tenth last year and there’s no way we will place that low this year,” Bishop boasted, adding “looking at the team this year I think we have a good chance of winning or coming close to winning; when we look at our athletes, teacher/athletes and the cycling we are very strong and our swimmers are improving.”
“We’re setting our sights on winning the Teacher’s Championship or Cycling, and I think once we can win one of those, it will be easier to challenge District 11 (North Georgetown/defending champions) or District 10 (Linden/Kwakwani, 2013’s runners-up),” he continued.
It is clear that Bishop has big hopes, but that is what Nationals is about; because of its big boasts, South Georgetown, District 13, is now under pressure to produce the goods next week when the nation descends on the GDF Ground for the National Schools Championships.
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