The Boyce and Jefford Track and Field Classic VIII will be staged at the MSC Ground in Linden on August 12-13, and a major event will be the International Men’s 800m race, as one of Uganda’s top middle distance athletes, Julius Mutenkanga — who represented his country at the 2012 Olympic Games in London — will be competing therein.
USA-based Guyanese athlete Kevin Bayley is the defending champion in this event, and he has every intention of defending his esteemed title, even with the inclusion in this event of Trinidad and Tobago’s Ashton Gill, who was second to Bayley last year.
With Mutenkanga in the mix, a mouth-watering prospect of fantastic performances promises to be one of the highlights of the 2017 Championships in Linden.
Mutenkanga runs the 800m in a time below 1:50.00; and just last year, he broke Uganda’s national 600m record. His personal best time is 1:46.30, which he ran to qualify for the International Association of Athletics Federations’ (IAAF’s) World Championships in Daegu in 2011.
Ironically, 2011 is the year that Dennis Horatio established the Boyce and Jefford 800m record with a time of 1:55.90.
With such an international field in the race this year, along with the quality of local athletes, Horatio’s record seems to be under serious threat.
Apart from the World Championships and Olympic Games, the 29-year-old Mutenkanga also ran at the World Indoor Championships. He competes as an elite athlete for the Central Park Track Club in the United States, which is sponsored by New Balance.
However, Guyanese contenders in this event would be eager to ensure that the prize money up for grabs stays at home. As such, Guyana Defence Force standout athlete Anfernee Headecker, along with the GPF’s Quacy Morian and Samuel Lynch, cannot be ruled out of the top three finishers. The race is also likely to include Desmond Amsterdam and Daniel Melville. The winner of the race pockets US$250, while second and third place finishers get US$150 and US$100 respectively.
The male 800m event is one of six international events scheduled for this meet.