“With the influx shown in the meet, our budget is now about 29 million dollars.”
So said President of the Athletic Association of Guyana (AAG) Aubrey Hutson during a recent interview with this publication ahead of the South American U-20 Championships set for June 3-4 at the Leonora Track and Field facility.
The initial cost to host the championships was in the neighborhood of $US60, 000 with the International Amateur Athletic Federation (IAAF) providing 50 per cent, however, Hutson noted that the AAG will now have to source 22 million Guyana dollars to blanket the cost of the international event, the first to be hosted on local soil.
So what are the plans for crossing the financial hurdle?
Hutson surmised that the AAG will look to “raise eight million in direct cash from the NSC, (National Sports Commission) the GOA, (Guyana Olympic Association), the government and local sponsors.”
He added that the sum of four million dollars could come from ticket sales while he would seek to get the outstanding 10 million indirectly from discounts for accommodating the entourages, meals, water and other areas.
“We must do this for national pride because we must convince the rest of the world that we are ready to not only hold the South American Junior Championships but the CARIFTA Games and we may go on to Pan Am and CAC and those other championships that we need to bring to our shores,” said Hutson.
He noted that despite the cost to host an event of such magnitude, it augurs well for the athletes and the Sports Tourism industry in Guyana.
Hutson added that aside from funding, all systems are in place for the staging of a safe and successful event which will take place at the National Track and Field Centre at Leonora.
“We are working on the logistics, we had a meeting with the Commissioner of Police to discuss police escorts and security for the ground and athletes so we envision to have two days of safe competition.”
Meanwhile, a team of 49 athletes headlined by CARIFTA Games gold medalists, Compton Caesar, Claudrice McKoy and Chantoba Bright has been selected to represent Guyana.
The championship will attract in excess of 300 medal chasing athletes from the 12 other South American countries. (Emmerson Campbell)