The top brass of the Guyana Olympic Association (GOA) along with General Manager, David Fernandes collectively described Guyana’s performance as ‘fair’ during the staging of the 21st edition of the Commonwealth Games held from April 4-15 in Australia.
Team Guyana was represented in seven disciplines, track and field, boxing, badminton, rifle shooting, squash, swimming and table tennis by 24 athletes but only secured a lone medal compliments of USA based triple jumper, Troy Doris who jumped, hopped and skipped his way to a gold on the penultimate day of the fixture.
However, President of the GOA, K Juman Yassin, along with Chef De Mission of the sojourn, Noel Adonis and Fernandes and the coaches pointed out that our local athletes were up against some of the world’s best athletes, hence they were satisfied with most of the performances.
The officials made these and other comments yesterday at the GOA’s headquarters during the first official post Commonwealth Games press briefing.
Adonis who gave an overview of the event said “We were competitive in each of the disciplines”. Fernandes added “It was a great opportunity for us as a nation, for our athletes to compete with some of the best athletes. The best in the world at swimming, badminton, table tennis and squash. The exposure is one of the things we need as much as possible.”
Fernandes added “We are not far away, we just need more dedication and support.”
Vice President of the GOA, Hector Edwards said he was impressed by the two swimmers, Jamila Sanmoogan and Andrew Fowler who both recorded personal best performances in the pool. He was also in high praises of Jamaica based sprinter, Emmanuel Archibald who competed in the 100m.
Juman-Yassin who attended the event on Gold Coast in the capacity of the Vice President of the Commonwealth Games Federation once again called on the government to work in partnership with the GOA to manufacture more full-time athletes and coaches.
“We have to have full-time athletes and coaches, until then we will continue to be on the periphery.”
Quizzed on whether the GOA has plans to put more systems in place to improve Guyana’s fortunes on the world stage stage, Juman-Yassin stated in the positive.
The GOA head alluded to the fact that the stipend allocation to some standout athletes which started in February is a start. He also noted that there will be additional Olympic Solidarity Scholarships for athletes. Juman-Yassin further disclosed that the association will be sending coaches to courses abroad to impart more knowledge to local athletes.
“We will also try to get more equipment to the associations locally, we also have to look at getting more scholarships. We will also be listening to recommendation to you members of the media.”
Asked if there was a mechanism to justify the quota of athletes selected for the various disciplines. Juman-Yassin admitted there was none but agreed that a system must be put in place going forward. Traditionally, Guyana has done well in the disciplines of track and field and boxing. However the two disciplines were only allotted eight slots combined, one more than table tennis.
Said Juman-Yassin “Maybe the allocation was wrong, maybe boxing and track and field should have had more but we are going to look at it now to come up with something tangible. He added “For the Commonwealth Games, it was just us ensuring that everybody got a piece of the pie.”