Team Guyana’s athletes ran, threw and leapt past their total medal count in the history of the South American U-20 championships following the conclusion of the 42nd edition of the event last evening at the National Track and Field Centre, Leonora.
Since the inception of the biennial Championships in 1959, Guyana had only tallied eight medals (three gold, one silver, and 4 bronze) before the two-day international event was hosted in the 592.
The medal fortune changed for the host over the weekend, more than three times over.
With the likes of Compton Caesar (100m) and Chantoba Bright (long jump) leading the way with gold medal performances and buoyed by the largest crowd to witness a track and field event at the venue, Guyana ended the 2017 championship with 25 medals.
Three of the precious metals were gold, 10 were silver and 12 were bronze.
Team Brazil won the continental meet again, amassing 32 medals. Guyana’s neighbour to the south ended with 18 gold medals, 11 silver and three bronze medals on the backs of several scintillating performers from the likes of Lorraine Martins (100 and 200m gold), Jefferson Alb Dos Santos (800m and 1500m gold), Tiffani Marinho (400m gold), Derick De Souza Silva (200m gold, 100m silver), Alencar Perreira (men’s hammer gold) and Daniel Nascimento (10k gold).
The Brazilian outfit racked up 287 points in the track and the field event. The host placed second on the points table with 198, followed by Colombia (165), Peru (118), Argentina (104), Ecuador (91), Suriname (47), Chile (42), Uruguay (15), Paraguay (11) and Bolivia (four).
Going into the final day of competition, Guyana had no chance to catch title holders Brazil for the overall championship. The race was always for second but Guyana sealed the deal with a gold medal performance in the girl’s 4x400m event anchored by a tireless Kenisha Phillips.
The host presumably earned their fourth gold of the meet after the boys 4x400m team crossed the line well ahead of Colombia. However the foursome was later disqualified for a line infringement on the third leg.
Nevertheless, based on the performances and the points standings, the local athletes exceeded expectations and delivered the goods.
In the aftermath of placing second on the points table, President of the Athletic Association of Guyana (AAG), Aubrey Hutson lauded the efforts of the athletes.
“I applaud the efforts of our young athletes. They really came out here and gave a good account of themselves. We have proven that we are a force to be reckoned with in the Caribbean and in South America.”
“Our athletes came out here and had great performances and made us proud, I am excited for the future of our athletes and track and field in Guyana.”
The championships ended with the closing ceremony in which all of the athletes came together in a celebration of unity on the track.