By Jemima Holmes
Guyana’s best and most vibrant athletes will converge at the National Track and Field Centre at Leonora on Saturday afternoon for what has quickly become the most anticipated athletics meet, the Aliann Pompey Invitational.
With news circulating that multiple international athletes are travelling to Guyana to participate in the meet, various stakeholders gathered on Thursday to pledge their commitment to a successful meet.
Over the four years of its existence, the Aliann Pompey Invitational has grown to become a staple in the athletics arena, and this is a fact that the former Guyanese Olympian is very proud of. Highlighting some of Guyana’s current talents, Pompey explained why she is adamant about giving athletes a platform.
“We have Aliyah Abrams, Travis Collins, Emmanuel Archibald, Winston George, and a few others that are ranked in the top 50 in the world, so it would be remiss (of me) if I don’t mention that we have a lot of Guyanese competing this year; and that’s because we are that good. The Guyanese athletes have come a long way. for years I’ve been at the Olympic Games, where it was just me, and that’s not the case now. We have a great group of athletes,” Pompey explained.
Following Pompey’s lead, President of the Athletics Association of Guyana, Aubrey Hutson, stressed on the importance of giving local athletes exposure. He has pledged the Association’s commitment to running a high-standard track meet.
Saturday’s track meet is being fuelled by a number of sponsors, who have all brought something different to the table. Collaboration with the Ministry of Communities will ensure that athletes have a clean environment in which to compete, while Sentinel Security has pledged a prize of US$1000 to any female athlete who breaks a national record.
Director of Sport, Christopher Jones, was present at the event. He predicted that, in years to come, the meet would attract more international sportsmen and women, thus improving the level of track and field in Guyana. He also detailed how Government has contributed to this goal.
Tickets for the event, to be staged on Saturday, are priced at $500, and patrons can enjoy a 50% discount if, before the meet, they purchase tickets, which are available at the AAG’s Light Street office.