Who will medal for Guyana at the 20th Com­mon­wealth Games?

Stabroek News - - SPORTS -

Asks Char­wayne Walker

Come April, the 20th Com­mon­wealth Games will com­mence in Aus­tralia and Guyana, as is cus­tom­ary, will be rep­re­sented in seven of the 18 dis­ci­plines (10 core sports) that will be con­tested.

The Guyana Olympic As­so­ci­a­tion, an af­fil­i­ate of the In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee (IOC) re­cently an­nounced that 20 ath­letes from the seven dis­ci­plines will rep­re­sent Guyana at the XXI Com­mon­wealth Games, com­monly known as Gold Coast 2018, which will be held on the Gold Coast, Queens­land, Aus­tralia be­tween April 4 and 15.

The Com­mon­wealth Games, known as the Bri­tish Em­pire Games from 1930 to 1950, the Bri­tish Em­pire and Com­mon­wealth Games from 1954 to 1966 and Bri­tish Com­mon­wealth Games from 1970 to 1974, is an in­ter­na­tional multi-sport event open to mem­bers of the Com­mon­wealth of Na­tions.

The games are run by the Com­mon­wealth Games Fed­er­a­tion which se­lects the host cities among other things.

Heady days

Un­like the Olympic Games, where Guyana has won only one medal to date a bronze through the ef­forts of boxer Michael An­thony Par­ris- Guyana has done rea­son­ably well at the Com­mon­wealth Games win­ning its first medals at the 1930 Bri­tish Em­pire Games held in Hamil­ton, On­tario, Canada, a sil­ver and a bronze.

The sil­ver medal was won by high jumper Colin Gor­don while the bronze medal came in the coxed four row­ing event.

At the 1934 Bri­tish Em­pire Games in Lon­don, Eng­land, Phil Ed­wards won this na­tion’s first gold medal when he out­classed the field in the 880 yards in a time of 1:54 sec­onds while at the 1938 Bri­tish Em­pire Games in Syd­ney, Aus­tralia, swim­mer Wal­ter Spence won a sil­ver medal in the 220 yards breast­stroke in a time of 3:00.5 sec­onds. Those were heady days. No games were held in 1942 and 1946 be­cause of World Wars I and II while Bri­tish Guiana did not par­tic­i­pate at the 1950 Bri­tish Em­pire Games held in Auck­land, New Zealand.

Weightlift­ing to the fore

In 1954, when the name was changed to the Bri­tish Em­pire and Com­mon­wealth Games, Julius Park won a bronze medal in weightlift­ing at the games held in Van­cou­ver, Bri­tish Columbia, Canada from 30th July to 7 Au­gust while at the 1958 Bri­tish Em­pire and Com­mon­wealth Games in Cardiff, Wales from 18th to the 26th July, Win­ston Roy Mc Arthur won a sil­ver medal in weightlift­ing.

Guyana con­tin­ued its medal win­ning ways at the 1962 Bri­tish Em­pire and Com­mon­wealth Games in Perth, West­ern Aus­tralia from 22nd Novem­ber to 1st De­cem­ber through Martin Diaz who won a bronze medal in weightlift­ing.

The 1966 Bri­tish Em­pire and Com­mon­wealth Games were held in Kingston, Ja­maica from the 4th to 13th Au­gust. This was the first time the games would be held in the Caribbean and once again weightlift­ing was the dis­ci­pline that shone with Martin Diaz win­ning a sil­ver medal in the ban­tamweight divi­sion.

Box­ing and track and field’s time to shine

The 1970 Bri­tish Com­mon­wealth Games, held in Ed­in­burgh, Scot­land from 16th July to 25th July 1970, saw the late boxer Court­ney Atherly win­ning a bronze medal in the ban­tamweight divi­sion.

Guyana did not par­tic­i­pate at the 1974 Bri­tish Com­mon­wealth Games held in Christ Church, New Zealand from the 24th Jan­uary to 2nd Fe­bru­ary.

How­ever, at the 1978 Com­mon­wealth Games held in Ed­mon­ton Al­berta Canada Au­gust 3-12, Win­field Brath­waite won a gold medal in box­ing in the light wel­ter­weight divi­sion while James Wren Gilkes won a sil­ver medal in the 200 me­tres men’s open clock­ing 20.18 sec­onds while June Mar­cia Grif­fith won a bronze medal in the long jump with a leap of 6.52 me­tres.

Guyana failed to se­cure a medal at the 1982 Com­mon­wealth Games were held in Bris­bane, Aus­tralia from 30th Septem­ber to the 9th Oc­to­ber and this coun­try again did not par­tic­i­pate at the 1986 Com­mon­wealth Games held in Ed­in­burgh, Scot­land from 24th July to the 2nd Au­gust.

At the 1990 Com­mon­wealth Games held in Auck­land, New Zealand from 24th Jan­uary to the 3rd Fe­bru­ary, boxer Wes­ley Christ­mas won a bronze medal in the ban­tamweight divi­sion but Christ­mas’s glory was spoiled be­cause he de­fected in Mi­ami whilst in tran­sit back to Ge­orge­town.

Guyana failed to medal at the 1994 Com­mon­wealth Games held in Vic­to­ria in the prov­ince of Bri­tish Columbia in Canada from the 18th to the 24th Au­gust and the 1998 Com­mon­wealth Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

From zero to hero

They struck gold, how­ever, at the 2002 Com­mon­wealth Games were held in Manch­ester, Eng­land from the 25th July to the 4th Au­gust through a vir­tual un­known then in Aliann Pom­pey who burst into star­dom by win­ning the 400 me­tres in a time 51:63 sec­onds.

Guyana, though, failed to medal at the 2006 Games were held in Mel­bourne, Vic­to­ria, Aus­tralia from the 15th to the 26th March.

In 2010 when the games were held in Delhi, India from 3rd to the 14th Oc­to­ber, Pom­pey won a sil­ver medal in the 400 me­tres at a time of 51.65 sec­onds, how­ever at the 2014 Games held in Glas­gow, Scot­land from 23rd July to the 3rd Au­gust 2014, Guyana failed to medal.

Who will defy the odds this time?

This time around Guyana will com­pete in bad­minton, box­ing, ri­fle shoot­ing, squash, swim­ming, table tennis and track and field.

The teams will be ac­com­pa­nied by 10 of­fi­cials and, ac­cord­ing to GOA pres­i­dent K.A Ju­man Yassin, the na­tion’s top sports­men and women could do the na­tion proud at the up­com­ing games.

If one was to take a look at the per­for­mances of Guyanese at past Com­mon­wealth games one would see that box­ing, weightlift­ing and track and field are the best bets for medals.

Table tennis has a his­tory of be­ing rep­re­sented at the games but nei­ther team nor player has yet man­aged to win a medal.

This time, God­frey Mun­roe, a former men’s sin­gles na­tional champ, has high hopes for the men and women’s teams.

The play­ers Tre­nace Lowe, Pri­cilla Greaves, Christo­pher Franklyn, Natalie Cum­mings, She­mar Brit­ton, Nigel Bryan and Joel Al­leyne are in New York and play to­day play a tour­na­ment at Westch­ester, run by former Caribbean men’s sin­gles cham­pion Robert Roberts prior to com­menc­ing a week long train­ing camp with an­other former Caribbean men’s sin­gles cham­pion Syd­ney Christophe.

Whether the ex­po­sure and train­ing can trans­late into medals in Syd­ney re­mains to be seen.

De­spite the re­tire­ment of the former world ranked WISPA pro­fes­sional Ni­co­lette Fer­nan­des there is still high hopes that the dis­ci­pline of squash might be able to pro­duce a medal.

David Fer­nan­des, Guyana’s Gen­eral Team Man­ager, said the squash team (Mary Fun-A-Fat, Tay­lor Fer­nan­des, Su­nil Seth and Ja­son Khalil) will head to the Com­mon­wealth Games a con­fi­dent bunch.

“The good thing for squash is that most of the top play­ers in the world are from coun­tries within the Com­mon­wealth, and as such, I think the games will give them a chance to play the best in the world and I’m sure they will give their best,” he said.

Seth might be Guyana’s best per­former in this dis­ci­pline.

Guyana’s Si­mon Pure have a his­tory of win­ning medals at the games and coach of the two-man team Se­bert Blake is op­ti­mistic that Keevin Al­lic­ock and Collin ‘Su­per­man’ Lewis can de­liver the goods.

“I be­lieve they are in their best shape and will do great things in Aus­tralia. I’m glad that we’re ac­tu­ally get­ting in a week early so we will be able to ac­cli­ma­tize and ad­just to the con­di­tions in the Gold Coast,” said Blake.

Un­doubt­edly, though, Guyana’s best bet for a medal rests with athletics in the form of Troy Doris, who rep­re­sented Guyana at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio where he placed a dis­ap­point­ing sev­enth in the triple jump with a leap of 16.90 me­tres.

Coached by former na­tional sprinter and record holder, Ju­lian Ed­monds, the other mem­bers of the team are Win­ston Ge­orge, Emanuel Archibald, Les­lain Baird, Na­tri­cia Hooper and Na­trena Hooper.

De­spite his rapid climb up the in­ter­na­tional rak­ings, not much is ex­pected of the lone bad­minton player Narayan Ramd­hani nor from swim­mers An­drew Fowler and Jamila San­moogan.

The ri­fle shoot­ing team of Paul Slowe (Coach), Rans­ford Good­luck and Len­nox Braith­waite could be the dark horse of the com­pe­ti­tion and might be able to spring a few sur­prises.

So, who will medal at the up­com­ing Com­mon­wealth Games? Your guess is as good as mine.

Su­nil Seth

Phil Ed­wards

Win­field Braith­waite

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Guyana

© PressReader. All rights reserved.