Coming off a sub par year in 2011 by her usual lofty standards, top female long distance athlete Alika Morgan is contemplating participating in more international competitions this year.
According to Morgan, 2011 was not a successful year for her because it was filled with accidents which resulted in injuries that slowed her up a lot.
Morgan listed the Run Barbados, Courts 10K and the Trinidad half marathon and 5K as events that were her high points in 2011.
“I was satisfied with the Trinidad half marathon and 5K because I was injured and still ran. In the Courts 10K I was not satisfied with my performance despite the training I put in,” she revealed.
Morgan is hoping that this year will be different.
“Coming into 2012 I hope that I can make an impact,” she said.
Morgan is only 21-years-old and she told Stabroek Sport that her focus now is on participating in more international tournaments and less local tournaments.
Competing internationally, Morgan said, will give her the opportunity to earn a living as an athlete.
Her coach, Leslie Black, said systems should be put in place locally to ensure that athletes are properly remunerated.
According to him athletes are in need of running gear which is not exactly cheap.
“That is one of the reasons you find Trinidad and those countries produce good athletes.
“They are being encouraged and actually I feel that Guyana needs to do more for the athletes.
“Kevin Johnson and Lionel D’Andrade have done well for Guyana over the years because they are Caribbean athletes and I was so happy that Alika could have come back after the South American run and win the Barbados race.
“Kevin Johnson and Cleveland Ford did well too, so I think more should be done for the athletes in Guyana because we have had some outstanding athletes over the years.”
Asked if it will get better, Black said it could but added that the relevant authorities need to put the athletes first.
Making reference to Morgan, Black said favoritism was one of the things that hampered her, but said she was slowly getting over it.
Morgan has received an invitation from the Missouri University to train and participate in a number of meets there and is due to leave for the United States of America shortly. Black said Morgan’s opportunity to travel to the United States came at the right time, as he is considering going into retirement.
“I don’t want to walk away from athletics and leave her alone, so I am just sticking around until she leaves.”
He said that Morgan leaving for the US does not mean that she will give up on Guyana, but said depending on her schedule she will be home for some local meets.
According to the veteran trainer it is time for Morgan to start thinking about her future and which direction she wants her athletics career to head in.
He also said that Morgan has a chance to develop herself academically and should take advantage of that opportunity.
“She was not offered a scholarship but that should not prevent her to furthering her studies,” he said.
Meanwhile for the third year in succession Morgan handed over gifts to the needy on Boxing Day.
According to her, giving back to the less fortunate is a necessary good.
The donation to the convalescent home is in its third year and according to Morgan she has no plans on stopping now.
“I grew up in a single parent home and seeing children in the convalescent home without parents made me sad, so decided to give them something to smile about.”
According to the distance champion her only hope now is that other athletes will follow suit and put a smile on the face of a child who is less fortunate. Morgan said those children have dreams just as she and many of her counterparts did but once in a while they needed to see some faces that can offer them the encouragement they need, no matter how small they are.
The donation on Boxing Day included books, toys and foodstuff.