West Demerara hopes encampment for athletes will improve standings at Nationals

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WITH the 57th National Cycling, Swimming and Track & Field Championships (Nationals) being held on the West Demerara for the first time in its history, the home district is really hoping to improve its standings and put on a good show at this year’s event.

According to head of West Demerara District 3, Gem Bowman, the District is hoping that a three-day encampment of some of its athletes will help to improve its standings at the week-long event.
“We’re hoping for a lot this year because it’s the first time that we’re actually using the track in Region Three, so we’re hoping to come out successful,” an enthusiastic Bowman shared.

After sharing fifth place with South Georgetown (District 13) in 2015, West Demerara improved to finish fourth place last year at the national competition.
The District has already ensured a full complement of teachers, to put up a successful defence of their longstanding title in the teachers’ competition of the Championships.
Bowman also hopes to see improvement from the track and field athletes, where the District also will be fielding a full complement.

However, she admitted that the team struggled for yet another year to source sufficient athletes for its swimming and cycling teams.
“We don’t have the full team for the cycling and the swimming. We tried but at the end some persons pulled out and so on. We were really hoping to get the cyclists from the Islands, Wakenaam and Leguan, but for several reasons that didn’t work out. The swimmers would be few and they are not very strong swimmers.

“We have mostly the smaller age groups, we have the full complement for Under-10, Under-12, Under-14, but the Under-16, Under-18 and those higher age groups, we don’t have all,” she explained.

Bowman noted that the lack of swimming facilities may play a role, there not being a large enough pool of swimmers on the West Demerara to meet the District’s needs
“Even when we had to have trials, we had to get permission to use the Liliendaal pool (National Aquatic Centre) to take the few who turned up to do our selection,” said Bowman. The NAC is all the way on the East Coast of Demerara.

Bowman is nonetheless optimistic, that the teachers and track & field competitions will be able to buoy them over, hoping to put as much focus as possible on these areas so they can eke out as many points as possible.
“At least with the teachers we want to maintain our first place, and in the track and field we hope to be among the top,” she anticipated.

“Right now we’re planning to have a three-day training session for the athletes from November 22 to 24. But we’re still only in the process of organising it. We still have to get it approved because of the funds.
“We’re hoping to have it right at the National Track and Field Centre in Leonora. We’re hoping we get the teachers too but the main focus will be on the athletes.”