‘Nationals’ gets underway on tomorrow

-organisers hoping to improve on tardiness and other shortcomings this year

The Guyana Teacher Union (GTU) National Swimming, Athletics and Cycling Championships will commence tomorrow at the various sporting venues and organisers are hoping to improve on shortcomings from previous years.

The opening ceremony for this year’s event is scheduled  to take place at 17:00hrs tomorrow at the National Stadium. Prior to the opening ceremony, action will take place in swimming, track and field and cycling competitions.

The 10km road race for male and female athletes will be the first event of Nationals once again this year. The GTU officials have reportedly decided touse the course for the South American 10km Classic to stage this race. In recent years, there had been recurring instance of course mix-up and wrong distances for the 10km road race.

The 40km male cycling race and 25 km female cycling race will not be held at 0600hrs simultaneously with the 10km road race as had been the case in recent year. Following the advice of national cycling coach Hassan Mohammed, the race will be staged later in the morning after rush hour traffic has subsided to prevent hiccups with traffic as seen in previous years. Both races will take place on the East Coast roadway, starting and finished in the vicinity of the Ocean View Hotel.  Swimming will also take place tomorrow at the National Aquatic Centre at Pattensen.

The long and triple jumps and a few other field events will take place at the YMCA ground tomorrow as well.  When contacted via telephone yesterday, GTU president Colin Bynoe declined to comment on his expectations and the state of readiness for this year’s event.  Nevertheless, Edison Jefford who has been handling the public relations aspect of the event, stressed that the organisers have been working to tighten up on the tardiness in this year’s event.

In previous editions of Nationals and as recent as last year, organisers were unable to complete all of the scheduled event enough though the events were staged in late at night on the final day of competition. This in turn delayed the tabulation of points and teams never left that stadium until after midnight.

Jefford said that organisers have planned a deliberate strategy to prevent these atrocities in sports organising from continuing. According to Jefford, officials will be stern and prompt in running off events.  It  had been the practise of teams to arrive late which led to delays in the starting of events, said  Jefford. To address this issue, Jefford said that the organising committee held several meetings with team managers and have garnered their commitment to respect time this year. Jefford said that tardy teams will be left out of events as organisers are hoping to finish Nationals early this year.

Nearly all of the participating teams had arrived yesterday and according to Jefford the final set of teams will arrive during the course of today. Jefford also mentioned that team registration and accreditation is also complete and identification cards are ready to be uplifted.

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