Dear Editor,
Firstly, let me say how encouraged I am by the performances of the Guyanese runners this year in Track and Field.  It was with pride that I cheered for the Golden Arrowhead flowing above Stephan James at the Junior Pan Am Games earlier this year; Winston George who ran a time so close to Richard Jones’s national record; the entire contingent that competed in Venezuela; and Adam Harris, Cleland Forde and Alicia Fortune in their international endeavours.  Small victories and incremental improvements take a lot of time and commitment, but they lead to breakthroughs.  I know one day soon enough, we will, as a country, be a force to be reckoned with. We just have to keep trying. We just have to keep encouraging each other. And covering that progress plays a part in its success. And for that, you’re to be commended as well. I’ve followed the articles and the comments of the supporters of the athletes and the sport, and it was moving.
I recently read an article headlined ‘Pompey blames lack of sleep for Daegu defeat.‘

To wrap up a mediocre season with what at best can be described as a lacklustre performance was devastating to me. It was an emotional year, and to end it like that, especially leading into the 2012 Olympics was a little hard to deal with at first. It took a day or two for me to accept the results of that race.  It was unexpected, it wasn’t what I was in shape to do, and it wasn’t easy when it sank in that when it was all over, I ran a 53.59 and didn’t progress past the first round. But that is what happened. And I’ve come to terms with that. To discount my year of training, my hard work and sacrifice, the time my coach spent training me and the efforts my physio expended, and to wrap all that up in a neat package and say that it was because “I didn’t sleep well,” is an insult to the spirit of competition.

I am tempted to think that it was sheer kindness that led to that possible rationalization; the need to make it easy on me, to provide me with a cop-out.  I ran poorly. Plain and simple. I was trained to do better, I was coached to do better. I simply didn‘t.  I’ve already come to terms with that, and I’ve moved on. Whatever it is that needs to be done to take a positive lesson out of this situation, I will. It will be my motivation for next year, and that’s what I need… motivation. I will not give excuses or reasons; at the end of the day, the other competitors completed the hard task of executing their races properly.

There’s only one person in this case, responsible for where the clock stopped in my race, and that was me. At that level, the fault is always only mine.

It was important for me to write this letter because what the headline of the article conveyed is not the message I want to send or the example I want to set. At this level, there isn’t ever an excuse, so I won’t make one.
To quote some great advice, “Excuses are for the mentally weak.”
Yours faithfully,
Aliann Pompey

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