There is now another vacant weekend in the Athletics calendar, following the cancellation of the highly anticipated Aliann Pompey Invitational Track meet.
In a disappointing turn of events, the revelation was made on Wednesday morning by founder and namesake of the Invitational, Aliann Pompey.
Slated for June 19 at the Leonora Track and Field facility, West Coast Demerara; the meet would have acted as an event where athletes could accumulate crucial points for Olympic Qualification.
The former Olympian athlete, Aliann Pompey was the one to make the dreaded announcement, which she described as ‘personally devastating’.
“It’s with a tremendous amount of sadness that I’m here to announce that this year’s edition of the API will not be held as scheduled on June 19. There’s several reason we had to cancel the event, mainly one of the effects or by products of the COVID-19 pandemic which doesn’t allow us to properly prepare to host an international competition of this caliber,” Pompey disclosed vis video missive yesterday.
As it stands with the API cancelled, Guyanese athletes now only have two chances at Olympic Qualification, at the South American and Guyana National Seniors respectively.
It is for this reason that Pompey moved to make the announcement sooner, rather than later; highlighting that the meet has been used, in the past, for Olympic Qualification.
“With the Tokyo games postponed by a year, we were also hoping for a similar event this year, whereby athletes can qualify for the Olympic Games. I know a lot of our national athletes and the athletes from the Americas, mainly South America and the Caribbean had it on their calendar as a qualifying event. So, this affects quite a number of people,” Pompey shared.
“We felt it was important to make this announcement now, as opposed to hold on for a few more days or a few more weeks because the preparation of these athletes are greatly impacted, so we decided to announce today.”
In the meantime, all is not lost in Pompey’s eyes, since she hinted at a major announcement to be made in the coming days. She was careful, however, to note that the meet will not be replaced.
The 400M sprint specialist hinted, “The API organization is still working on a way to engage with the Guyanese public, its sponsors and supporter and the Guyanese athletes.”
The Associate head Coach at St. John’s University, USA added, “So over the next few days or maybe within the next two weeks, we’ll make an announcement on how we plan on doing that. I think, while it wouldn’t replace the API competition for this year, I think it would be a meaningful enough compromise.”
Since its inception in 2016, the API has attracted many regional and international track stars; with a number of international athletes qualifying for the 2016 Olympic games during the meet. The AP Invitational was also put off in 2020, owing to the constraints of the Coronavirus pandemic.