While the Athletics Association of Guyana (AAG) is looking to be a competitive force at the South American Senior Championships, President Aubrey Hutson is focused on setting the tone for international meets beyond the Olympics.
The AAG boss related this to Guyana Times Sport during a recent interview, in which he also shared his hopes for the upcoming South American Senior Championships.
The South American Senior Championships would have been contested last weekend May 14-16, if it were not for the rising coronavirus cases in Argentina.
Hence, Atletismo Sudamericano (South American Athletics), moved the event to Ecuador for May 29 to May 31.
Given that it is an Olympic qualifying event, the local Association is looking to send as many athletes as possible. However, according to Hutson, they have met a stumbling block with college athletes.
“We would like to get every athlete with the potential of going to Tokyo getting into Ecuador, so we’re working on the dynamics. We’re in touch with some of the athletes, because a lot of our good athletes are in the college system and will be competing for the college on that very weekend,” he said.
“So, obviously they will not be able to come to go to Ecuador.”
Although the Tokyo Olympics is the goal, Hutson related that he was also focused on making a great impression and qualifying times for a slew of other upcoming international events.
“As it relates to going to Ecuador, we are not just looking at Tokyo,” Hutson declared.
“We have to look beyond Tokyo. There’s the Commonwealth Games coming up in Birmingham next year and there’s also the World Senior Championships that will be in Oregon, USA next year. So, by giving these athletes the opportunity to go into international competition this early strengthen your chances of qualifying and making it to the other championships as well,” the AAG President explained.
While corporate funding to get the athletes to Ecuador is an option, Hutson is relying on the Government, and by extension the Sport Ministry and the Guyana Olympic Association (GOA) for funding.
“Working out the dynamics of what it’s going to cost, ticket prices, before we can come up with a good budget and get it on to the Guyana Olympic Association (GOA) and the Government of Guyana in particular,” he continued. “Of course, we’re going to target private sponsors too, but you know the time is short and I think the two entities will be more ready to issue us a cheque in time to get these athletes out there.”
On the home front, the Association had moved to stop its developmental meets, given the alarming number of COVID-19 cases in Guyana.
“Our athletes are our assets and while we may have all the protocols dictating what happens at the track, we cannot guarantee what happens en route to the track. It is for that reason we would have pushed back a little bit and asking for us to hold a little bit. You know, let the numbers come down a little bit before we try to resume competition,” the Athletics boss revealed.
Devaun Barrington, Akeem Stewart, and Mark Jhallu are some of the locally-based athletes earmarked for the South American Seniors. On the other hand, Arinze Chance, Quamel Prince, Andrea Foster, Jasmin Abrams and Aliyah Abrams are some of the internationally-based athletes who may represent Guyana at the event. (Jemima Holmes)