ALTHOUGH the Guyana Olympic Association (GOA) did try to secure spots in more sporting disciplines, athletics and swimming will remain the only two sporting disciplines on the final team which will represent Guyana at the 2016 Summer Olympics next month in neighbouring Rio, Brazil.The Guyanese delegation to the August 5 – 21 Games will therefore consist of the four athletes and two coaches, two swimmers, their coach and the Chef-de-Mission, Garfield Wiltshire. GOA president, K. A. Juman-Yassin and General Secretary, Hector Edwards will also be attending the Games, as required by the IOC.
According to Wiltshire the GOA had attempted to secure wild card ‘Universality Places’ for six other athletes in other sports disciplines, namely badminton, table tennis, taekwondo and tennis. However, that did not work out, so we are left with our four-man team, and entry to the Games closed.
The athletes representing us are Winston George in the Men’s 400m, Brenessa Thompson in the Women’s 100m and 200m, Aaliyah Abrams in the Women’s 400m and top world-ranked Men’s triple jumper, Troy Doris. The athletics contingent will be accompanied by George’s coach Joe Ryan, and Doris’ coach.
The swimmers are Jamila Sanmoogan in the Women’s 50m freestyle and Goodwill Games gold medallist Hannibal Gaskin in the Men’s 100m butterfly. The pair will be accompanied by swimming coach Paul Mahaica.
Several other athletes were pushing throughout the year to make it the qualifying mark but continued to come up short.
Those athletes who will represent us enter their event as qualified participants, while the swimmers were awarded Universality Places, based on their attendance at the 2015 FINA World Championships.
This year’s number equals the number of athletes who participated at the last Olympic Games in 2012 held in London, United Kingdom, but at that hosting Guyana participated in more sporting disciplines.
Last time the participant distribution saw three athletes, one judoka, and two swimmers. George is the only athlete on this year’s team to have represented Guyana at a previous Olympic Games. He is also the only one on the athletics team not originally from the U.S.
Meanwhile, the athletes are set to depart from their respective destinations to the Games Village beginning later this month. The swimmers and their coach will travel from Guyana on August 1, while George, Abrams and Thompson will travel from the U.S. and Doris will travel from Europe, where he is currently training.