Jun 30, 2021 Sports
Confident Allicock can win Guyana’s 2nd Olympic medal in Tokyo
By Sean Devers
Forty-seven-year-old Forgotten Youths Foundation (FYF) Coach Sebert Blake is on the threshold of fulfilling his third dream when number 19th rated Bantamweight in the World, Keevin Allicock steps into the ring in Tokyo for the 2021 Olympics next month, Blake would have accomplished two of his dreams.
In 2010 when Shondell Alfred knocked out American based Guyanese Corrine Van Ryck DeGroot at the Princess Hotel in Providence, Guyana to win the WIBA title to become the second World Champion from Albouystown after Andrew ‘Six head’ Lewis won Guyana’s first World title in 2001, Coach Blake had finally produced a World Champion.
Blake says any Coach’s dream is for his fighter to win a World title and rates that as one of his most memorable moment as a Coach.
“The defence of her title was very pleasing since we worked really hard and her tough preparation, and it paid off with her spectacular knock-out of DeGroot,” said Blake.
Now 11 years-later Blake, who grew up in the rough environment of Albouystown, has produced an Olympian and is confident his Boxer will win a Medal in Japan which will realise his third dream and make the 22-year-old Allicock only the second Boxer from Guyana to win an Olympic Medal.
Mike Parris gave Guyana and the English speaking Caribbean it’s only Medal in Boxing when he won Bronze in the 1980 Moscow Olympics. Allicock is the first Guyanese pugilist to qualify for the Olympics since John Douglas lost in the first round of the 1996 Olympics 25 years ago.
As a Boxer, Blake attended the 2000 Olympic trials in Florida which prematurely brought the Curtains down on his Boxing career but opened the door to his Coaching Career which began in 2001 at the FYF in Albouystown. He described his thoughts on receiving the news that his most talented fighter had qualified for the biggest event in Amateur Sport.
“What ran through my head… is this is faith… God is great, God is great! Keevin really make this happen because of his strong belief and commitment. Yes, I put in my work but Keevin really forced me…pushed me over the edge to get to this level, so I was overjoyed. My thoughts were WOW we did it,” disclosed a proud Blake who, along with Allicock, departed Guyana yesterday for a three-week training stint in Russia ahead of the Olympics.
“I am very confident that Keevin has the ability to bring home a medal for Guyana. We have been working for a pretty long time…yes the Covid-19 affected our preparation but we have some time and we will see how best we can do with it. This is our dream…first qualifying for the Olympics … and second winning a medal. So we hit the first stage which is qualification and now it’s time for us to go and try our utmost best to medal,” added Blake, who won a Bronze medal at the 1997 Pan Am Games in Colombia.
“Because of the covid-19 protocols we had to follow, we just mainly tried to do strength training in most of the activities…getting him physical strong in terms of endurance…long distance running and so on. We got some sparring in despite the pandemic but the quality of sparring partners that we wanted, we were not getting. But now in Russia we will have some of the guys and compare and see what we have been doing at their level and see how best we can utilise this opportunity and be strong and able to pull through.
Yes I think he is about seventy-five percent in shape and in the next three weeks get him into the high nineties in terms of readiness,” continued the hard working Coach who, on his first overseas trip as a boxer in 1992, won a Silver Medal at the CARIFTA Games in the Bahamas before winning Gold medals at the Caribbean level in Jamaica, Barbados and Trinidad.
Coach Blake, who in 2014, joined National and GDF Head Coach Terrence Poole as the only Guyanese International Boxing Association (AIBA) certified three-star Boxing Coaches, said producing an Olympian was his proudest moment.
“Most defiantly this is my proudest moment. This is the Olympics we talking about…this is my dream of Coaching a boxer to the Olympics.
In 2016 we went to Barbados and Guyana captured 10 Gold Medals and a Silver in the Caribbean Development Boxing Tournament. This was the most medals Guyana had ever won in a Caribbean Boxing overseas Tournament and I said then that I will give my all and once the resources were there I will give my best to produce an Olympian.
We did not get all that we needed but I could rest assured that the President of the Guyana Boxing Association (Steve Ninvalle) helped out in so many ways and we were able to get at least one boxer, in Keevin Allicock, to go to all levels of competition.
In 2016 Keevin was just a Junior and in 2017 he went into the youth category where he won silver at the Youth Commonwealth Games, he went back to the CAC Games…the Pan American Games, the South American Games and the World Championships and all these tournaments were stepping stones or preparation for where are at now…the Olympics.
Keevin went through all those phases and I was instrumental in him being able to compete and now we got it and this is my proudest moment,” Blake posited.
“I want to say to the public to hold his faith, let’s support Keevin. This is his biggest dream he has been holding his faith and asking God for guidance and protection…let’s be hopeful.
Keevin will go out there and give his best for Guyana. The entire 83,000 square miles will be resting on his shoulders and I know he is capable. Let’s send out a positive vibe for him.
I encourage all those in Guyana and over a million more in the diaspora…let’s all send up that blessings and prayers for him because we will need that divine intervention to get us over the hill. It’s been going good so far but we still need that support from the Guyanese public,” stated Blake who was the Coach of Keevin Allicock and Colin Lewis in the 2019 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in Australia.
“I want to say thanks to the company I work with…the Guyana Power and Light (GPL) for all the support they have given me throughout the years as a boxer and now as a Coach. They have given me time off to take Keevin to Russia and to the Olympics and I have had a lot of investment from GPL. I am very grateful and thankful to be working with such a great Company and I would not trade it for nothing, that’s the Company I am married to and they always support me,” said the experienced Coach who is employed as a Network design specialist with the IDB GOG AU Power Utility Upgrade Programme at GPL.
Blake, who has two sons (Trevor and Quincy) and has been married to Samantha Daniels-Blake for over 26 years, also thanked the GOA and GBA’s President Steve Ninvalle for giving him and his Olympic Medal hopeful their full support.
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