Gov’t throws support behind Olympics-bound athletes

The Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport on Friday threw its support behind several Olympics-bound athletes, who will be representing Guyana at the Tokyo games and Summer Paralympics.

The athletes are table tennis player, Ms. Chelsea Edghill, boxer Mr. Keevin Allicock, cyclist, Mr. Walter Grant-Stuart and track and field sprinter, Ms. Aliyah Abrams.

Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport, Hon. Charles Ramson Jr. (centre) is flanked by, from left to right, seated, Director of Sport, Mr. Steve Ninvalle and Chairman of the National Sports Commission, Mr. Kashif Muhammad. The athletes are, frm left to right: Ms. Chelsea Edghill, Ms. Aliyah Abrams, Mr. Keevin Allicock, Mr. Walter Grant-Stuart and Assistant Director of Sport Ms. Melissa Dow-Richardson

Minister, Hon. Charles Ramson Jr., during a press conference yesterday said the support from the Government will help athletes perform above and beyond their potentials.

“Currently their airfares and accommodations are both taken care of, so we are currently giving them each US $1000 to take with them when they go on their trip for their own leisure and assist with the time they are there.”

Minister Ramson said the donation is just the beginning of Government’s support, as more aid would be provided to assist the athletes in their preparations. He also reminded the athletes that they are representing an entire nation while at the same time, setting an example for others to follow.

“We want medals obviously. In fact, the Government would treat the acquisition of medals in a very different way and we want to encourage you to get your medals but you also need to understand … that every single time and every single moment that you get there, there are a lot of people that are looking towards you… You are inspiring them.”

Boxer, Mr. Keevin Allicock

Mr. Allicock, the 2017 Youth Commonwealth Games silver medallist, said he is optimistic about his chances of medalling and is looking forward to honing his skills at the training camp in Russia.

“Like Mr. Charles Ramson said it is not just Albouystown we are representing, it is not just our gyms; we are fighting for 83,000 square miles and the people within it and I think the people should come out and support now knowing that we are representing Guyana at the biggest games in the world,” he said.  Mr. Allicock is departing for Russia soon.

Ms. Edghill, the first table tennis player to qualify for the Olympics, said it feels good to be a part of history. However, she said she is focused on the task at hand.

Ms. Chelsea Edghill

“We are going to go into overdrive; it is the last leg of the preparation. Of course, this is not me preparing just one month ago or when I got the announcement, it is years in the making, so for me it will be just to tighten a few parts of my game that I would want to improve on, get focused and get in the right mindset for the games,” she relayed.

The Tokyo games would be the second time at the Olympics for sprinter Ms. Abrams who competed in the 2016 Rio Olympics. This time around she says she will be better prepared and aiming to medal. Ms. Abrams, who qualified in 2019, was the first athlete to do so for the Tokyo games.

Sprinter Ms. Aliyah Abrams

“I am a lot more prepared mentally and physically to go and compete to the best of my ability. The first time around I had a very long break between my last competition and the Rio Games so this time around I have a lot more competitions in between, so I will make sure I am as prepared as can be,” she said.

Mr. Grant-Stuart will be Guyana’s first athlete to participate in the Paralympics having qualified since 2018 for the event.

“It is a wonderful feeling and it is something that I have been planning, both me and my coach so it is something we are basically working to,” he said. Grant-Stuart has medalled both locally and in overseas competitions.

Mr. Walter Grant-Stuart, Cyclist

The Tokyo Olympics is scheduled for July 23 to August 8 while the Paralympics games will be held between August 24 and September 5.

Chairman of the National Sports Commission (NSC), Mr. Kashif Muhammad, Director and Assistant Director of Sport Mr. Steve Ninvalle and Ms. Melissa Dow-Richardson also attended the press briefing.