The third edition of Guyana’s premier track and field meet, the Aliann Pompey Invitational (API) will be graced with the presence of Kirani James, Grenada’s 400 metres Olympic and World Champion, and Guyana’s 2018 Commonwealth Games Triple Jump gold medallist Troy Doris.
According to an API media release, the meet, which is set for the National Track and Field Centre at Leonora on June 30, will see both James and Doris, competing here for the first time.“This is all round a great thing. To have an Olympic and World champion competing at the event while he’s still in his prime is a testament to where we want to take this competition,” said Pompey.
According to Pompey, the 2002 Commonwealth Games 400 metres gold medallist, the 25 year-old James’ opening run, after a year off, is in the top 10 times in the world, while stating “I am a huge Kirani fan and I know that Guyana will be an amazing audience for the ‘Jaguar’. I know he’s interested in seeing some of Guyana, so I’m hoping our Ministry of Tourism can show him a few of the many reasons Guyana should be a destination.”
James, at the JN Racers Grand Prix on June 9, in Jamaica, clocked an impressive 44.35 seconds to win the 400 metres in his first race in over a year after recovering from Graves’ disease (an immune system disorder that results in the overproduction of thyroid hormones).
The Grenadian’s time of 44.35 seconds is the eighth-best time in the world this year. James’ personal best in the 400 metres is 43.74 seconds, set in 2014.
James has always been regarded as one of the Caribbean’s best talents over the 400 metres, though he has also competed over the 200 metres with considerable amount of success, racing to a personal best of 20.41 seconds in 2011.
James, also known as the ‘Jaguar’, won gold in the 400 metres at the 2012 Olympic Games in London – Grenada’s first and only gold medal at the Olympics.
However, four years later in Brazil, the Grenadian crossed the line in second place in 43.76 seconds, relinquishing his Olympic title to South African Wayde van Niekerk who took the gold medal while setting a new world record with a time of 43.03 seconds. The winning time erased American Michael Johnson’s record of 43.18 seconds which he had clocked in 1999.
Meanwhile, Doris, who has been representing Guyana since 2015, will face Cuban Jordan Diaz, touted by many in his country, as the next world triple jump champion. Quite a technician, Diaz is the World Under -18 Champion and junior world record holder with a jump of 17.32 metres.
Joining Doris and Diaz will be last year’s champion, Surinamese Miguel Van Assen, who holds his country’s national record in the event, as well as the CARIFTA and South American titles.
Van Assen’s whose personal best is 16.94 metres, was also the 2014 Summer Youth Olympic Games champion.
The triple jump at this year’s Aliann Pompey Invitational could steal the show, since also confirming his participation is the Bahamian Leevan Sands.
Sands, who won a bronze medal at the 2008 Olympic Games, also captured bronze medals at the World Championship and Commonwealth Games. He’s a Pan Am Games silver medallist and multiple time gold medallist at the CARIFTA Games.
The Aliann Pompey Invitational is the only event of its kind in Guyana, where athletes from across the Caribbean, Central and North America, converge on Leonora for the best local showing of track and fied.