Sep 26, 2020 Sports
By Calvin Chapman
Niall Stanton; Team Manager and coach of East Zone (District 12), during an exclusive interview with Kaieteur Sport has called for the relevant authorities inclusive of the Ministry of Education (MOE) and the Guyana Teachers’ Union (GTU) to seriously consider and make moves towards having the 60th National Schools’ Cycling, Swimming and Track and Field Championships held around February – March.
Stanton, who coaches at the popular Super Upcoming Runners (SUR) athletics club, explained that, “Obviously, with the rate of COVID-19 infections in Guyana right now, there will not be any National Schools’ championships this year. We will be protecting the kids because if we have dead kids, we cannot produce athletes to make the nation proud.”
He shared that the deadly disease has provided the relative authorities with an opportunity to finally come good on promises and proposals to have the National Schools’ championships held around February-
March which is the standard not only in the Caribbean but across the globe.
This move, he explained, will allow local athletes to contest at the Caribbean Free Trade Association (CARIFTA) games in peak competition fitness which has not been the case in the past editions of the competition that is typically held during the Easter weekend, hosted by various participating nations.
The experienced coach divulged that, “Nationals time is when athletes are usually undergoing conditioning training to prepare for the Athletics Association of Guyana (AAG) season ahead that is usually set with guidelines of the global governing body World Athletics.”
Stanton posited that although COVID-19 has provided the GTU and the MOE with an opportunity to do something that will help athletes, the disease majorly more negative in terms of athletics.
The educator noted that keeping his athletes motivated has been a major issue although they are only training three times a week with no more than 10 persons while following the necessary covid-19 guideline. Most of his kids do their own work at home but the emphasis has been focused on basic preparation like Cardiovascular exercises and drills to help the athletes maintain their flexibility.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has declared that the Tokyo Games will get underway next summer with or with covid (with strict guideline in place) and Stanton is hoping that Guyana can get some control over the pandemic locally so the nation can begin the process of returning to normalcy sooner rather than later.
He also suggested that with some athletes having their last year of competition in the 2020-21 season, if some control is gained over the virus, then maybe a mini-nationals with just the senior school athletes and a reduced number of events is something that the organisers of ‘Nationals’ can look at early next year.
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