Guyana’s lone participants at this year’s Criollo Cup weightlifting championships in Puerto Rico encountered weight problems on the day of competition in a nightmare tour that saw two weightlifters and an official being dropped from the initial team due to financial woes.
Guyana’s young debutant Bhojnarine Persaud who was listed to compete in the 52 kilogrammes class found himself four kilogrammes overweight and was forced to compete in a higher division.
Deion Nurse, who accompanied Persaud as manager/coach, told Stabroek Sport that the overweight problem developed because they arrived in San Juan, Puerto Rico just hours before the start of competition and Persaud had little time to prepare.
He was forced to compete in the 62 kg class and was out of his depth lifting a total on 167 kilogrammes.
He lifted 65 kg in the snatch and 102 kg in the Clean and Jerk to finish fifth in the division which was won by David Mendonza of Honduras whose overall total was 240 kg. The other three weightlifters all lifted over 200 kg.
“Bhojnarine (Persaud) was at a great disadvantage because he had little time to shed the weight after we arrived just after midnight for the competition which started on Thursday morning,” Nurse disclosed.
The team’s problems started even before departure following the Guyana Amateur Weightlifting Association’s (GAWA) failure to raise the funds to carry the entire team that was initially selected.
Lifter Fazim Abdool, who was scheduled to compete in the 85 kilogramme division and coach Farouk Abdool, were the first two dropped from the team, while just one day before departure seasoned campaigner Sean Cozier, who was also down to contest the 85 kg division was also left out. “We had made airline bookings very early and was quoted US$535 for a ticket but had to cancel and by the time we booked again a ticket cost US$900. It is very upsetting because we had planned this trip very early and sent out the necessary letters to obtain funding but we were pushed around a lot,” Nurse revealed.
Nurse said that from what he observed at the championships Guyana could have secured at least two medals because Persaud had a better lift than the participants in the 52kg division and Cozier would have bettered the 275kg the eventual winner of the 85kg division lifted.
Guyana had not participated in the regional competition sanctioned by the Pan American Weightlifting Federation for the past five years, but Nurse feels that the exposure was necessary and he held discussions with top officials of the regional body.
Nurse said PAWF President Anderas Vargas was happy to see Guyana participate and he (Nurse) said he took the opportunity to highlight problems affecting the sport locally.
Sixty-four weightlifters from 10 countries took part in the championships held from October 18-23, in San Juan.
Meanwhile, the GAWA will stage the National Senior Championships on November 11, at the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall starting at 18:00 hours.