Standout distance athlete, Cleveland Forde has opted out of the third and final leg of the South American 10K Classic in Panama on Sunday, throwing a wrench in the prospect of a historic clean sweep for Guyana.
Forde, 33, along with Winston Missigher and Cleveland Thomas swept the podium in the first two legs, first in Suriname on October 28 then here on November 4.
After their dominance in the first two legs, the track and field fraternity was buzzing about the possibility of the three athletes heading to Panama to once again crowd the podium steps.
However, when contacted, Forde who was enjoying sublime late season form told this publication recently that he has decided to shut his season down “for personal reasons” and would not be competing in Panama.
Forde then wished his distance running mates, Missigher and Thomas success when they represent the 592 in Panama in five days.
In an invited comment, President of the Athletic Association of Guyana (AAG), Aubrey Hutson stated that “There is some level of disappointment that Cleveland Forde will not be competing in the 10k in Panama with the opportunity to make a clean sweep of all three circuits of the South American 10k.
The main reasons for us going to Panama was to give our athletes a historic opportunity for a clean sweep. I don’t think this has ever been done in the history of the event. However we are still pursuing to get the other two athletes in Panama in time for the event.”
Hutson added “We are looking forward to having a sterling performance from them. We are optimistic that they may be able to go and do better than what Forde may have been able to do because he would have expressed some concerns about his fitness going into the event.”
He continued “We respect his (Forde’s) honesty as other athletes may just have gone there for the free ride even though that they are not 100%. We hope that the other two step up to the plate in his absence and represent us admirably.”
Meanwhile, Hutson noted that the AAG is currently awaiting financial assistance from some of the sport’s traditional benefactors to help Missigher and Thomas to depart on a timely basis.