Following a series of qualifiers, the Athletic Association of Guyana (AAG) named 12 athletes to represent the Golden Arrowhead at the Flow CARIFTA Games in Curacao and the AAG’s President, Aubrey Hutson is “very optimistic” of numerous athletes returning with precious metal.
“I am very very optimistic, we have given them as much exposure that we possibly could and we just expect them to go to CARIFTA and excel and do us and by extension, the nation proud.”
During the Easter weekend Games, the athletes will be competing in Under 18 and Under 20 age groups. These age groups are similar to the global competitions such as the World Youth (Under 18) and World Junior (Under 20).
Hutson noted that USA-based Natricia Hooper who is the number four ranked junior triple jumper in the world, along with last year CARIFTA Games double silver medalist, Chantoba Bright, Daniel Williams and Claudrice McCoy have realistic chances of finishing on the podium. He also noted that seasoned campaigners like Compton Caesar and Matthew McKenzie can spring upsets. The young dynamic duo, Kenisha Phillips and Onasha Rogers could potentially be in the medal mix.
Said Hutson yesterday “I know leading off we have Natricia Hooper who has had a great indoor season in the US. Being ranked fourth in the world as a junior in the triple jump to me is a major achievement and going into CARIFTA we expect a gold medal from her, we are always optimistic about our athletes and the way they perform.”
More on the local scene, Hutson noted that “We witnessed some performances that we have never seen before from our junior athletes where we have two females, [Onasha Rogers and Kenisha Phillips] running sub 12 in the 100m.”
“Kenisha has really gained some experience and we do hope that she can draw on that experience going into these championships. She was always a young athlete with a lot of talent, what we are hoping now is that she uses that experience from traveling and being in international competition to do the great things that she would normally do in the heats in the final.”
According to Hutson, Williams, who finished second in the Boys’ Under-18 400m last year but was later disqualified after stepping out of his lane, has what it takes to climb the podium steps. Hutson expects Williams to return with hardware.
The AAG head pointed out that Bright has improved by leaps and bounds since her silver medal performances at the last CARIFTA. “We are hoping since she will be in the same age category, she can bring home the gold this time around.
Hutson then spoke highly of McCoy. “She is running, I am really impressed with the times she has been recording in the 800 and 1500m races. And I also think the coaches will put her in the 3000m open female event. They feel that she has a very good chance of returning with hardware in that event also.”
The party will depart on April 13 for the Games which will be staged from April 15 to 17 in Willemstad.