Olympic qualification a target as AP Invitational on today

The track and field fraternity will be a buzz today as the Aliann Pompey Invitational is staged for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic.
A certified bronze medal event on the World Athletics Continental tour, the AP Invitational is slated for the National Track and Field Centre (NTFC) with the first gun sounding off at 16:30h.
Speaking during a pre-event press conference on Friday morning, Sport Minister Charles Ramson Jr expressed his commitment to making the AP Invitational a marquee event, while its namesake, Olympian Aliann Pompey co-signed the need to build a legacy for the event.

100m record-holder Emanuel Archibald

“We are making a long-term commitment to this event, so that it becomes a marquee event in our calendar for our sports events for the country and that it remains so, even long after I would’ve departed from here. So, we’re going to make sure things are in place so that that remains so,” the Sport Minister shared.
On that premise, Pompey expressed, “I think at the core of what the Minister was talking about is legacy. This is the first time you’re having a competition since the pandemic hit and I’m happy to say there hasn’t necessarily been a drop-off of anything. At least, in the quality if the event thanks to the contribution of the Minister and the Ministry.”
“As much as you hope that you put measures in place that whenever you decide to depart the position we can continue to have this event, it’s the same for me. The name might change, but the idea is we continue to have this instrument for our athletes, for our young people and for Guyana,” the Guyanese Olympian went on to state.

Pan Am Games 2023 silver medallist Jasmine Abrams

While a number of international athletes like Trinidad’s Michelle Lee-Ahye, Colombia’s Melany Balono and Dominican Republic’s Lidio Feliz and Alexander Ogando are lined up to compete. Guyana will have its fair share of local stars on show.
One such, Emmanuel Archibald, who broke the National 100m record last weekend, spoke of his expectations and confidence.
“Because of the calibre of the meet, I just believe that running nine seconds is going to be key out here and about three of us are going to qualify for Olympics,” an optimistic Archibald expressed.
The Guyanese 100m record-holder added, “Yeah, I’m 9. and we didn’t have much competition last week and there’s at least 2 nine-second runners in this race, especially Joseph and the Colombian who has run 9.9 last year, breaking the South American U20 record. So them, as well as the Dominican that ran sub- 20, I know he’s a 10.0 guy. So, competing with them will bring out the best in me and we’ll qualify for the Olympics.”
Fellow sprint athlete Jasmine Abrams, who fell just four milliseconds short of the Olympic qualifying standard at the National Seniors last week, expressed similar expectations while detailing her preparation.
“From AP Invitational I’m expecting to, of course, qualify for Olympics and have a healthy race, have a fast, strong race and hit the qualifying standard of 11.07,” Abrams related.
The female sprinter went on to state, “So, my preparation has been a little different from my previous years. Usually, I’d be more speed-based by my coach, I’ve switched coaches and he’s had me do more speed endurance, a lot of 400 work, a lot of 300 which is not in my realm’ cause I’m a short sprinter.
“It’s a lot of speed endurance to make sure that I can finish the end of my race and be strong in that part,” the elder Abrams concluded.
Meanwhile, Abrams’ younger sister, Aliyah also expressed confidence in her stringent preparation.
Aliyah revealed, “We’ve been hitting it hard at practice and also, I’ve been competing a lot, just making sure I have the right rhythm and so, all the preparations to come home and really be able to put together a good race and potentially get the standard.”
“I’m within a second, less than a second and I’m there. I’m confident, simply because I know I’ve been training well and I know I’ve been giving it all that I have. So, it’s just really comes down to racing on that day and putting it together,” the younger Abrams expressed.
The AP Invitational will provide the opportunity for athletes to qualify for the upcoming Paris Olympic Games, with a prize structure that pays up to US$3000 for first place in headline races.