Olympic Games bound athletes along with potential Olympians were buzzing with excitement yesterday at the Princess Ramada where the final press briefing was held for today’s Aliann Pompey Invitational.
The mood was light as the meet headliners, Winston George and Brenessa Thompson, both of whom have already qualified for this year’s Olympics, along with the other athletes posed for selfies and laughed and smiled while answering questions from the media.
Each and everyone of the track and field standouts reiterated how “excited” they were to compete on Guyana’s soil for a chance to represent their respective territories in two months.
Today’s historical meet which will give local and international athletes a chance to qualify for the prestigious Olympic Games in August, runs off from 15:30hrs at the National Track and Field Centre in Leonora.
It comprises 13 track and two field events: Men’s 100m, Women’s 100m, Men’s 200m, Women’s 200m, Men’s 400m, Women’s 400m, Men’s 800m, Women’s 800m, Women’s 1500m, Men’s 5000m, Men’s 110 Hurdles, Men’s 400 Hurdles, Women’s 400 Hurdles, Men’s Triple Jump and Women’s Triple Jump.
The male and female 200m and 400m will be the marquee events to watch.
George, who will compete in the men’s 200m and 400m, is joined by sprinters Thompson (100m and 200m) and Aliyah Abrams who will take part in the women’s 400m event.
According to the start list, in the 200m, George will face opposition from Jamal Roberts (USA), USA-based Adam Harris, Trinidad’s Kyle Geraux and standout locals, Rupert Perry and Davin Fraser among others.
The national 400m record holder, who qualified for the Olympics last year in China, is scheduled to match spikes in the quarter-mile event with USA based athletes, Stephan James and Jason Yaw, Brycen Spratlin (USA), Chris Geisting (USA), Tabarie Henry (USVI) and local star Arinze Chance.
Thompson, who broke the national 200m record on two occasions last month, will come up against Kadecia Baird (silver medalist at World Juniors, CARIFTA Games gold medalist), Paris Garcia (Puerto Rico), Tahisha Harrigan (BVI), Laverne Jones-Ferrette (USVI), Natrena Hooper (GUY), Tirana Mitchell (GUY) and Ebony Nelson (GUY).
Abrams will face Baird along Tawanna Meadows (USA), Garcia, Ashley Kelly (BVI), Claire Mooney (Ireland), Samantha Edwards (Antigua) and USA based Guyanese, Alita and Chante’ Moore in the 400m.
Other top names for the meet which is being contested by more than 130 athletes from 12 territories include Chavez Ageday, Cleveland Thomas, Cleveland Forde and Winston Missigher. Admission is $1000. See you there. (Emmerson Campbell)