In what has proved to be a long running hunt for Gold in the Guyana leg of the South American 10k, Winston Missigher finally captured the elusive title in a dominant run on Sunday afternoon on the West Coast of Demerara.
In overcast conditions, Missigher led from start to finish in an impressive display of endurance and power. The race which began from Mary and ended in the National Track and Field Center (NTFC) at Leonora, featured strictly Guyanese athletes, the likes of Cleveland Thomas and Jonathan Fagundes among those present.
However, Missigher’s long time rival, Cleveland Forde, known as the ‘Little Kenyan’ was a notable absentee. Missigher crossed the finish line in a time of 34 minutes 22.34 seconds to clinch the South American 10k Gold medal for the first time in his career. He was followed by Thomas who bagged Silver in 34 minutes 53.20 seconds while young and upcoming Kennard Hartog stopped the clock at 36 minutes 06.84 seconds to grab Bronze.
Rounding out the top five were Daniel Harvey (36 minutes 23.40 seconds) and Ronell Newton (37 minutes 19.25 seconds) in that order.
On the distaff side of things, Linden siblings Shema Tyrell and Shaquka Tyrell ran away with Gold and Silver respectively in the Senior Female category. Shema clocked 43 minutes 00.87 seconds while Shaquka crossed the line in 45 minutes 27.47 seconds. Meanwhile Aaliyah Headley managed to finish third and copped Bronze in 49 minutes 56.68 seconds with Kissana Glen finishing fourth in 54 minutes 29.08 seconds.
In the Male Masters category (40-54 years) Francis King was victorious while Larry Josiah and Adrean Thomas closed out the top three in that order. In the 55 & Over race, Dabidyal Harold clinched Gold while Linden Phillips and Oswald Phill were second and third respectively.
Carla Adams crossed the finish line to be the winner in the Female Masters category.
For their efforts, second to fifth place winners in both male and female categories pocketed G$125,000, G$100,000, G$75,000 and G$50,000 respectively while the winners walked away with $150,000 each.
With the announcement that the Athletics Association of Guyana (AAG) is hopeful of restarting its season sometime in August, the Super Upcoming Runners (SUR) athletics club has been preparing for this resumption and are looking forward to the day they can take to the track.
In a recent interview with SUR Head Coach Niall Stanton, it was revealed that despite the athletes and coaches being under lockdown, there have been mechanisms in place to keep the athletes in shape.
“We have been in contact with our athletes, we are in contact via Whatsapp on a daily basis, we usually send individual programs over that platform for our athletes to follow. Everybody has been under some amount of stress during the lockdown, the fact is that Covid-19 is a killer and we’ve had to use coping mechanisms as coaches and athletes. This is why we’ve been in constant contact and ensuring they’ve been doing their personalized training sessions”
Meanwhile, in looking to the future, Stanton and his charges are optimistic about the resumption of training; “Aside from those who have CXC and CAPE exams, the other athletes have been doing their training with an eye on the resumption of the season. We are hopeful, maybe in the coming months, the Ministry of Health will give us permission to resume training, as well as the Athletics Association of Guyana (AAG) who have suspended all Track & Field activities”.
On a positive note, Stanton noted that the AAG has been in contact with the clubs from time to time throughout the Covid-19 induced lockdown, he also revealed that they (AAG) have also given some assistance to the athletes in the form of hampers through the help of the Guyana Olympic Association (GOA).
Upon resumption of athletics in Guyana, Stanton reinforced the need for clubs, athletes and officials alike to follow the guidelines set forth by the authorities.
“When the time comes for resumption, we will have to follow the guidelines set out by the Ministry of Health, we will have tremendous help in that area as my wife is a Doctor and she is a part of the club’s management team”.
“Hopefully by next month (August) if we’re given permission to start, I have no doubt that there will be marked changes, we do want to resume training and we do want to be around our athletes, but everybody won’t be converging at once” Stanton explained.
In a telling statement, the outspoken coach pointed out; “The sport won’t be the same and I envision changes coming from the top right down to the lower levels, but as a club we will look to adapt. We are looking forward to a successful 2021/2022. Coming back out on the track won’t be the same but it will be a great joy to be back with them (athletes) physically”.
The Super Upcoming Runners (SUR) Track & Field Club is quite possibly the smallest athletics outfit in Guyana, however they are big of heart and even bigger on the development of their athletes on and off the field.
Head Coach and Co-founder of SUR, Niall Stanton, sat down with The 592 Dugout and spoke of the club’s journey thus far and what the future holds for the club’s athletes and coaches.
That journey began in 2015 when Stanton along with fellow coach Carla Rodney took the initiative to leave Mercury Fast Laners due to the fact that they were not being given the opportunity to spread their wings.
“I felt as though I had to move on as I wanted to grow as a coach, just as in any organization sometimes you need to step out to achieve that growth” he explained.
“When we first moved, we worked with Tirana Mitchell who is a former Carifta bronze medallist along with Kevin Abbensetts who is a top sprinter in Guyana, he had also won many medals at the National Schools Championships so we started brightly”.
However it was not all a bed of roses according to Stanton; “At the beginning when we got started, a lot of people weren’t very welcoming to us, I must single out the Police Sports Club, Coach Wilson and Coach Scott were very helpful, they allowed us to use the Police ground in our early days before we made our move to the National Park where we are presently”.
“Since our formation in 2015 when we started with five or six athletes, I can say that I am pleased with our progress, we have grown immensely from then to now. We have had success that we can be proud of”.
The outspoken coach revealed; “We have fought our way to where we are now, the main aim of our club is to give service to our country and communities, to ensure that our youths are meaningfully occupied, to keep them out of crime and off the streets”.
At SUR, it is not all about sports though as Stanton explained; “We also ensure that our athletes gain a sound schooling, we assist as much as possible for them to excel at CXC and at CAPE. We have children who have done well at CXC and CAPE, we have athletes who are at overseas Universities, as well as at the University of Guyana”.
He further pointed out; “Myself along with Coach (Cornell) Rose are teachers and as educators we focus a lot on showing these children that you can balance academics and sports. Our whole goal is the development of these young people on and off the track”.
“I think we have proven ourselves, I am now a member of the Athletics Association of Guyana (AAG) Council, and this reflects our hard work as a club. It shows our vision of promoting a healthy lifestyle and is proving that sports and education can be balanced; we have had athletes making the last couple of Carifta Games teams. We had Tyrell Peters out of Berbice who won a Silver Medal at the South American U-20 Championships a few years ago and we had even more athletes on the national team for that Meet”.
Quizzed about the personnel at the club, Stanton divulged that there are now five coaches to 20 athletes while there is now a Berbice branch in addition to the main organization in Georgetown.
“We as coaches work well and we function properly as a team, this is evidenced by the fact that we are making progress with our athletes and we are getting them in the right direction on the track and in the classroom as well”.
“There is myself, Andre Williams, Whitney Bramble, Carla Rodney and Cornell Rose. Six athletes work with Andre and Whitney in Berbice. We utilize the available technology to us, to communicate on a daily basis, we co-exist as a club and if they have any questions the two Berbice coaches would come to us for guidance. Whenever there are major competitions we would come together whether it is in Georgetown or Berbice”.
Stanton is looking forward to the future which he feels will be rewarding for the Super Upcoming Runners, “We are looking forward to a successful 2021 and 2022, we want to continue having athletes on the Carifta Games teams and even as far as at the Olympic Games”.
However, in facing reality, Stanton mused; “Most of our athletes move on from the club at a certain age, they go on to the Police Force or the Army (GDF) clubs because they can earn money as athletes. We are a small club and we can’t afford to pay them due to the sports structure that Guyana has. If they want a career after school in track and field we usually advise them to go to either one of those clubs”.
Despite that fact, Stanton and his team are not discouraged; “We are hoping that most of them keep on studying and move on to the University of Guyana, we encourage them to keep coming to train whenever they can, so that we can keep working our programme along with them to achieve success on and off the field”.