Three Guyanese have already qualified to participate in the 2016 Olympics games, the world’s largest stage for sports, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Athletes must reach the qualifying standards for their respective disciplines to participate in the Olympic Games from August 5 to 21.
Chef de Mission, Garfield Wiltshire of the Guyana Olympic Association (GOA), in an interview with the Government Information Agency (GINA) said that several athletes have qualified for the Rio games. Chef de Mission is a term used to refer to the team manager of a major sporting event.
Wiltshire said that, “Currently there are three track and field athletes who have qualified mainly, Winston George in the 400 metres race, Troy Doris in the triple jump males, and Vanessa Thompson in the 100 metres females.”
However, Wiltshire pointed out that no athlete has qualified for any swimming events. In such a case, the International Olympic Committee in collaboration with the Fédération Internationale de Natation (FINA) makes provisions for countries which have not met the qualifying standards.
Wiltshire explained that “they allow one male and one female from each country who did not qualify to attend the Olympic Games, but the athlete must have participated in the previous FINA world championship.”
Only one of the males can be selected from the three qualifying athletes, he said.
In addition, Wiltshire noted that there is still an opportunity for track and field athletes to try to qualify for the Olympic Games at the Aliann Pompey invitational meet set to take place in June. “This is an IAAF sanctioned meet which means that once you make the qualifying times at this meet, you will be eligible to participate at the Olympic Games,” he stated.
The meet will see a number of overseas and local athletes competing to make the qualifying times for their respective disciplines.
Wiltshire told GINA that the athletes are being funded strictly by the Olympic Committee of Guyana and the International Olympic Committee.
The Olympic Games began in 1896 on April 6 to 15 in Greece. To date, there have been 49 games and Guyana has only participated in 16, capturing only one bronze medal in boxing. This was won by Michael Anthony in 1980.
Wiltshire is hopeful that Guyana will be able to capture a few medals in the upcoming 2o16 Olympic Games.