Guyanese Olympian, Aliann Pompey's decision to stage an international meet in her honour is because she feels the region is short in this area.
The inaugural Aliann Pompey Invitational is set for June 18 in Guyana.
Asked why, she replied, “Why not? adding “I've wanted to do one for years. There aren't enough meets in our region, and each year, we're producing more and more quality athletes. I saw this as an opportunity to fill an obvious void.'' The four time Olympian (2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012) said the support so far is encouraging.
“This time around when I brought it up to the people from whom I needed support, no one said no, so here we are,” said Pompey.
The competition is supported by ConSudAtle (South American Federation)/IAAF, Guyana Olympic Association, GuySuCo, Quality Plus Fast Foods, Ramada Princess Hotel, Fly-Jamaica and some very good friends of Athletics in Guyana.
The 2002 Commonwealth Games 400m champion, she has received advice from other meet organizers and two Olympians who have staged meets.
“I talked to people who staged their own – Chris Brown from Bahamas and Cydonie Mothersill from Cayman Islands – so I knew it was going to be hard. It's at least 10 times harder than anything I imagined. But it's a labor of love for me. It's not "my meet". It's Guyana's meet, and as such, everyone has a hand in the success of this endeavor."
The meet is less than two weeks way, and according to Pompey, “at this point we're finalizing some of the athletes' travel arrangements, ensuring that we have all the supplemental things to ensure not just their comfort, but great performances."
Pompey, the 2003 Pan American Games bronze medallist, said they were hoping to bring athletes from 10 countries, but is doing better so far.
“The aim was to get participants from at least 10 countries, and we've exceeded that. It's the first truly international track and field competition like this on Guyana's soil and everyone is excited about it,” said added.
The meet to be staged at the Leonora Stadium, will have 14 events on the track and two in the field. According to the schedule, the 100m for male and female will have heats and finals.
Fly Jamaica is the sponsor of the women’s 100m.
Among the other sponsored events, are the GOA men’s 400m, Ramanda Princess Hotel men’s 110m hurdles, GuySuCo men’s triple jump and Quality Plus men’s 200m.