Seven members from the William ‘The Conqueror’ France Differently-abled Athletic Club will be travelling to Canada to compete in the Annual Terry Fox Run scheduled to be staged on September 18.
President of the Club and renowned differently-abled athlete William France, who spoke with Kaieteur Sport on Monday, was accompanied by three members of the contingent that will be travelling to Canada.
Apart from France, the other members present were David Campbell, Godfrey Williams and Garvin Jeffers who all spoke with this newspapers about their preparations and desire to participate in the event which usually attracts participants from close to 60 countries.
France in his comments first gave a brief background of the non-competitive event which was started in 1981 by Canadian athlete Terry Fox to raise funds for Cancer Research.
Considered a veteran in terms of participation, France said his presence at the event will mark the 13th time that he has attended the Run and while he will not actually participate in the Run, he being there is to lend experience to the other members who all will be attending for the first time.
A member of the Local Paralympic Committee, France revealed that among his responsibilities is to seek and search for athletes with disabilities who’re talented and recommend that they be afforded opportunities to excel at the highest level which includes attending the Paralympic Games.
“I know that we have athletes with the potential to qualify for the Games in four years time in Toyko, Japan and I’m prepared to work assiduously to unearth those athletes and bring attention to the relevant authorities.
Jeffers in his remarks said he lost one of his feet in an accident in the hinterland and credited France, who he has known for a number of years, as the individual that motivated him to become a member of the club and participate in such activities.
“I joined the club in 2001 and has since participated in many race walking activities locally, but even though it will be my first visit to Canada I’ve prepared properly and is confident of completing the distance,” he stated.
Williams, who will also be attending the event for the first time told this newspaper that his first opportunity to participate in the Run came in 2001, but due to an injury suffered shortly before departure he could not attend the event.
Currently the Vice-President of the club which he joined in 2000, he too was involved in an accident that resulted in him losing one of his feet, but was determined not to let the unfortunate incident slow him down.
Stating clearly that he was inspired by Fox’s feat, Williams disclosed that so far he has done three marathons in Guyana and believes that he is at his peak fitness ahead of the event scheduled for later this month.
Campbell, whose role is to give technical support, viewed his role as critical and challenging during the event, informing that he will be there to provide the athletes with water and any other support deemed necessary.
“I have known these individuals for quite sometime and it is for this reason that I’ve volunteered to be part of the touring team. I known how important my task is and I’m willing to fulfill it,” he said.
Meanwhile, France divulged that while they’ve managed to raise over $500,000 to date the team is still someway short of reaching the required target and is appealing to all Guyana to support a worthy cause.
He expressed gratitude to several entities and individuals that have contributed to date and they include Nigel’s Supermarket, Humphrey’s Bakery & Farm Products, Mings Products & Services, Ramchand Auto Sales, Leonard Taxi Service, National Sport Commission and the Director of Sport Christopher Jones, Paralympic Head Wilton Spencer and residents of the West Coast & West Bank of Demerara, East Coast Demerara, Berbice and Bartica.
The lone female is Indi Ramnauth.
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