Aliann Pompey Invitational (API) June 19 can be one of the most important track and field events in South America and the Caribbean, as it can be the last resort for athletes hoping to qualify for this year’s Tokyo Olympics.
Like everything else, globally, the 2020 edition of the AP Invitational was postponed due to the advent of the novel coronavirus.
However, Pompey believes the move could have been a blessing in disguise, with some additional challenges in ensuring athlete safety.
The AP Invitational, which concluded its inaugural event in 2016, saw 11 athletes, all from overseas, move on to compete in the Rio Olympics.
“I think this year is more critical compared to 2016, or any other qualifying year for the world championship, simply because of how 2020 played out with the postponement of the Olympics and the subsequent cancellation of many competitions, even in 2021. So the opportunity for athletes to qualify for the (Olympic) Games has been reduced and the appeal and importance of the API is becoming much more critical, ”said Pompey.
Speaking exclusively to the Chronicle Sport from her New York location, the Saint John’s University coach revealed that talks with the Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport, Charles Ramson (Jr.), with the support of the Guyana Government, had fruit.
Pompey said that Minister Ramson has been “very supportive of the meeting and we have a few new features to introduce for the 2021 edition of the API that we have not had in the past, which I will be excited to share it in the future “.
He pointed out that the API “is very much in line with our government’s commitment to increasing opportunities for our young people who use sport, as well as regionally”.
HEALTH AND SAFETY PROTOCOLS
In the meantime, noting that while the AP Invitational organizing committee is still in the early stages of planning and implementation, “everything is probably moving as fast as it will be, with the vaccine available and protocols available and health requirements change over time, we are not sure what the testing and quarantine requirements and protocols would be a month from now, much less than five months from now ”.
“We will have to play it in an airplane and be very careful and make sure all safety measures are carried out because we are still in a very uncertain time given the coronavirus, especially if we are expecting international athletes take part. , ”Pompey said, also pointing out that a close working relationship with the country’s National COVID-19 Task Force will be established to ensure that all protocols are covered and observed.
Asking for corporate support for this year’s event, considering all things, the Olympic and Commonwealth Games 400m gold and silver medal winner told Chronicle Sport that the event’s sponsors played an important part in the success of the meeting and she ‘ believes that “in 2021 for those who agree to move forward with us, they will be very, very important in providing this opportunity to Guyanese athletes and athletes in the Region”.
Pompey reasoned that he will “look again for our sponsors to meet us where they have in the past, in terms of their support, and help us make sure we have a bigger and better API this year”.
In February 2020, the Pompey API was added to the newly structured World Athletics Continental Tour and the Guyanese called the achievement “a tremendous opportunity not only for the Aliann Pompey Invitational, but also Guyana and athletics in the region” .
World Athletics said the impetus for creating the Continental Tour was to provide more competition and win opportunities for more athletes.
The Continental Tour is divided into three levels – Gold, Silver and Bronze – whose status will be determined by the quality of competition and the prize money offered.