The next generation of track and field athletes took to the Police Sports Club Ground on Saturday last for the Academy meet; a collaborative effort between the National Sports Commission and the Athletics Association of Guyana (AAG).
The meet catered to budding athletes between the ages of 6-12, and saw participation from over 150 young track stars in disciplines such as 80M, 60M, Javelin throw, Jumps and Hurdles, among others.
Speaking with Guyana Times Sport, AAG Executive Nial Stanton shared the rationale behind Saturday’s meet.
“It’s to encourage parents to have their children involved in these sports,” Stanton shared.
The AAG Second Vice- President went on to add, “This is going to be an ongoing process. Hopefully, in time to come, these same athletes will branch off to the various clubs like SUR Track Club, Police Running Brave, just to name a few. And from there, our goal is to have these same young people participating at various events as they get older.”
In response to this publication’s probe, Stanton further shared the vision of longevity that he and the AAG have for the programme.
Stanton divulged, “My belief is that through this Academy, and it’s a good thing, I believe we can find an Olympian that’s going to bring back Gold for Guyana. Because I believe that Track and Field is going to be the sport that’s going to give Guyana its first gold medal at the Olympic Games.”
“The AAG is looking forward to continuing having a great relationship with the Government, and looking forward (to) having this particular Academy grow and have different small hubs or clubs throughout Guyana. So, we’re looking to expand as well,” the AAG Executive further envisioned.
Director of Sport (DoS) Steve Ninvalle, who was present at Saturday morning’s simple opening ceremony, had high words of praise for the AAG’s activity. Ninvalle said, “Please permit me time to first of all congratulate the president and executive members of the Athletic Association for ensuring that this academy is steered in the direction that aligns with the goals and objectives of the National Sports Commission; the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport; and by extension the Government of Guyana. Today, we have approximately one hundred and sixty young athletes competing at this national athletic academy meet. The number of regions being represented today underlines a very important fact: that organized athletic training by experienced and certified coaches is being decentralized. We have taken note of the recent achievements with regard to our medal hauls at regional and international events; at the junior, youth, and senior levels, and this academy is an important conduit for replicating and even improving our medal prospects on the international stage.
“In conclusion, I want to remind you all that the NSC; Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport; and by extension the Government of Guyana, will continue to partner with the AAG to fund this academy, which is crucial for talent identification and development,” the Director of Sport later added.
The Athletics Academy Championship meet is a pillar of the emerging National Sports Academy. The Athletics Academy is one of ten national sport academies – an initiative which is fully funded by the National Sports Commission (NSC); the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport, and by extension the Government of Guyana. The Academy consists of three pillars: Nurseries, Competitions and Elites.
Children hailing from Georgetown, Linden, East Bank and East Coast Demerara, New Amsterdam and West Berbice all competed in Saturday’s meet.