National Park United claim overall honours at Jefford Track and Field Classic


… Lindeners turn out in tribute
APART from some minor glitches regarding the eventual top performers, the inaugural President/ Jefford Track and Field Classic was well received by an appreciative crowd at the Mackenzie Sports Club ground on Sunday night.
Twenty-four-year-old National Park United distance athlete Cleveland Thomas was adjudged the top Male Athlete while 19-year-old teammate Alika Morgan and Police Sports Club field athlete Natasha Alder were jointly awarded the champion Female Athletes.
This event was named in honour of arguably Upper Demerara’s best sprinter Elton Jefford, and it was indeed a tribute of note, for his sterling performances which thrilled all, and they were many which had been wirnessed by this community and at this venue not so long ago.
At the same time the overall champions National Park United Club (NPU) won the $300 000 first prize, ahead of second-placed Police Sports Club (PSC) who took away $200 000  on 268, Guyana Defence Force with 210 points for third place and $100 000 and Upper Demerara Linden in the cellar spot with 109 points and taking home $50 000.
However, the Female Team title was won by National Park United with 180 points ahead of Police Sports Club on 150 followed by Guyana Defence Force with 81 and Upper Demerara Linden on 12.
In the Male Team championship race the Guyana Defence Force proved the best with 127 points beating Police Sports Club on 118 with National Park United in third position with 99 points as Upper Demerara Linden could get only 77 points.
Interestingly, Thomas had captured the Men’s 1500m race where unfortunately there was no time clocked for the event, while he placed second in the 5 000m which was won by Wayne Harlequin of National Park United, as he struggled to gain fifth position in the 800m race. He accumulated 10, 8 and 4 points respectively for a tally of 22 points.
In the process he bettered the double wins snatched by 20-year-old GDF sprinter Rupert Perry who dashed to wins over the 100 and 200 m races for 20 points and National Park United’s Wayne Harlequin who claimed wins over the 400m and 800m flat races.
On the distaff side Alika Morgan showed a clean pair of heels in taking the 400, 1500 and 3 000 m races while Alder, better known for her exploits as one of the country’s best female basketball players, was victorious over three field events as she won the javelin, shot put and long jump events.
However, it seemed that there was a mix-up in the announcement of who was the Champion Female athlete.  This caused some concern for the Police Sports Club contingent when it was announced that Alika Morgan had been named the Best Female athlete  as they knew that their own Natasha Alder had, like Morgan had won three events.
After some delay the officials made the correction that it was a joint award.
But this did not go down well, as another flawed announcement stating that Morgan should return a bag which she did not receive caused her coach Leslie Black to come forward and denounce the late-change decision. He told the organisers that his athlete was not in possession of any bag and that she was not going to come forward for the joint awarding of the Best Female Athlete prize.
It was of note too that while the Best Male Athlete Thomas had actually won one gold medal so to speak, and placed second and fifth, and was also adjudged to be the best performer, two other athletes had captured, in essence, two gold medals by winning their events.
Suffice it to say that the organisers were working principally on their method of scoring and it meant that the two athletes namely Perry and Harlequin needed to have at least participated and placed in another event to have a chance of being given the top award.