From athlete to AAG president
NEWLY elected president of the Athletic Association of Guyana (AAG), Colin Boyce, has vowed to do everything possible to raise the standard of track and field locally. Assistant Superintendent Boyce, who is a former national sprint champion, in an exclusive interview with Chronicle Sport yesterday, said he has received the blessings and pledges of assistance of the Commissioner of Police, Henry Greene, as well as those of other senior police officers to carry out his mandate.
Boyce, who started his athletic career while attending the St Mary-Ye-Virgin Anglican School, Beterverwagting, East Coast Demerara, was elected AAG’s president on Sunday when that body held its Annual General Meeting, replacing long-serving president Claude Blackmore.
The latter was elected General Secretary, a post Boyce seems not too comfortable with.
Boyce said while at St Mary’s, he had a successful athletic career and represented his District at the National Schools Championships.
He said his career, however, blossomed when he joined the Guyana Police Force in 1984 as a Presidential Guard.
He said it was that year that his officer gave him a challenge to defeat Patrick Paddy who was then the National and Police sprint champion and he accepted it and was able to defeat Paddy at the Caribbean Police Championships in Barbados.
Boyce who stopped running at the National level in 2004 was crowned National sprint champion in 1985 at the Joint Services Championships after losing the 100-metre title to Roland Bancroft at the Guyana Games that were held in August that year. But one month later he turned the tables on Bancroft at the Joint Services Games.
He said he held on to the national sprint title until 1990 when he lost to Junior Corlette in the 100 metres race and that year due to some complacency on his part he rededicated himself and turned back the tables on Bancroft in 1991.
“After then I was just in and out of competition at the Police level and after going up in the ranks and catching up in age I continued to compete, but in my age group at the Senior NCO’s and Inspector races, now I’ll have to compete in the officersx races, but my time for competition is over,” Boyce declared.
Boyce who will attain the age of 49 this year said a few persons approached him about running for the AAG’s presidency and he gave it some thought and consulted with the Commissioner of Police as well as some senior officers who all gave him their blessings and promised their support.
Asked what he has to offer athletics, the Assistant Superintendent said all the experience he has had as an athlete and being in an administrative position now, what he sees that is necessary for the development of the sport itself he’ll work towards.
Asked if he feels that because of the office he holds currently in the police force it would have influence on sponsors, Boyce replied “not necessarily, I was holding this office for the past year and I think I have established quite a lot of relationships with corporate Guyana, but that does not mean because of the office I hold, it would influence anybody, but it may encourage other sponsors to come on board, because I’m a new president and a lot of people listening to the critics saying things about the past administration, a lot of people might not be too keen on supporting athletics.”
Boyce said he does not want to comment on Blackmore being General Secretary and would be required to sign correspondence seeking sponsorship and other things.
“I don’t want to comment on that issue because I was taken back somehow when that post (General Secretary) was won by Blackmore. I thought that he would have been stepping down totally out and being an adviser rather than seeking to hold an executive position which is a critical one.
“My immediate plans are to develop athletics, look into the affairs of athletes who might have thought that they have been overlooked and raise the confidence of the stakeholders with a view of having an all-weather track.
“If the IAAF makes a tangible contribution in this regard, the AAG will approach the government and see if we can acquire a piece of land to lay the all-weather track which will include a cycling bank track for the cyclists who are suffering the same fate as the track athletes.”
Boyce said the perfect place for the all-weather track and bank track would be the DxUrban Park area which, he opines is most central. “But it’s up to the government to decide where they would want to locate these facilities.”
Boyce, who has represented Guyana at quite a few regional meets said his saddest moments in track and field was in 1987 and 1989 when he was named on a team to represent Guyana at international meets and he was deprived of those opportunities and replaced by a middle distance runner (Vernon Clarke) who was based overseas.
“He only went to the march past and then disappeared.x