…Hutson stresses importance of Olympics’ qualifying events
With an eye on improved performances at CARIFTA and the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, the Athletics Association of Guyana (AAG) has finalised a busy 2023 calendar that is sure to keep athletes on their toes.
The AAG on Wednesday released a list of 36 events, both local and international, that would comprise its 2023 calendar of activities.
The nation’s athletes would get busy at the National Track and Field Center (NTFC) at Leonora, West Coast Demerara this Saturday, January 21, 2023, at the first of three Developmental meets, which are usually used to kick-start the athletics season.
Notably, the CARIFTA trials are scheduled for the weekend of February 18 and 19, with those games pencilled for the Bahamas over the Easter weekend, April 7-10. However, dates for the National Schools’ Championships and other private meets have not been revealed. According to Hutson, this is usually the most difficult part in locking down the calendar, since those dates are not up to the Association.
“The Joint Services and those other, what we would like to call private meets, we depend on them to give us those dates. Even though we may want to encourage them to give us earlier, because of when their anniversary falls, or the culture of GTU when they should hold schools’ nationals is another issue that we have to live with,” Huston said about his lack of control over dates for those athletics events. He continued, “So, we would like to support, but it’s normally very tough.”
On the international scene, major events for athletes to look forward to the South American U20 Championships in May, the CAC Games and Aliann Pompey Invitational in June, South American Championships in July, Commonwealth Youth Games, Pan Am U20 Championships and the World Championships in August.
Discussing these key events, Hutson explained why local meets like the National Seniors would be staged earlier, since the international meets can be considered as qualifying events for the upcoming Olympic Games.
“Yes, we do have a little more time [in 2023]. We would’ve already set up our calendar, so it’s just for our council now to meet and endorse it; the coaches are comfortable with it,” the AAG Boss said about the pacing of the Association’s activities this year, as compared to 2022.
However, turning his attention to the need to bump up certain meets to earlier in the year, Hutson said, “We’re going to have our National Senior Championships, yes, a little earlier in the year, because this is a World Championships year and we have to, from our National Seniors, go into the South American Senior Championships before we get to Worlds, and all those meets now are qualifiers for the Olympics in 2024.
“It [2024 Olympics] may appear to be far away, but its right around the corner,” the AAG president added.
Tentatively, the current Athletics calendar will conclude with the Guyana leg of the South American 10K Road Race on November 5. However, the Nationals Schools’ Cycling, Swimming and Track and Field Championships would likely be hosted later in the month of November, 2023.