By Shirley Thomas
THE news that work is continuing apace on construction of a synthetic track for East Berbice and should be completed by year-end was greeted with great enthusiasm and anxiety, not only by residents of East Berbice, but by the entire region as well.
Minister of Social Cohesion, Dr. George Norton, recently expressed being impressed with the progress achieved so far.
But beaming with enthusiasm and scarcely able to control his emotions is 10-year-old Orlando Carrington, a national under-nine champion, who is already the winner of about three trophies and 12 medals, including a gold and a bronze won during the CARIFTA Games in Bermuda in 2018.
With a passion for athletics in 2017 at age eight, Orlando Carrington, a Grade Four pupil of St Theresa’s Primary School, New Amsterdam, had made a name for himself, being declared a national under-nine Champion Boy.
By 2018, he had represented Guyana in Bermuda and continued his winning streak, winning gold and bronze medals. Elated at such a performance, the young Carrington has continued to show remarkable zest and vitality, this time aiming for the stars. And ironically, he’s the only one in his family running at that level. He is grateful to his teacher, Melissa Fraser and Coach Colly Mickle for their support and inspiration. But above all, he is grateful for the support given by his family.
In fact, Orlando, who has been running and going to ‘Nationals’ for the last four years and ever since he was in nursery school, says he has a natural love for being an athlete and will not stop until he reaches the top. “I want to be a champion, not only in Guyana, but a champion internationally,” he told the Pepperpot Magazine.
Residents of Berbice agreed that a synthetic track for the region would be a good thing; there are lots of athletes in the two regions who need the facility to practise for athletic meets, but who have to travel all the way to Leonora to get such practice. Additionally, they claim, having to travel such a tall distance is both expensive and places a physical strain on the athletes.
Commenting on Orlando’s performance and achievements, a relative proudly declared: “He’s been running ever since he started going ‘Nationals’ and has a lot of medals – about 12 medals and three trophies. Among them are one medal from the Minister of Social Cohesion, the Hon Dr George Norton on his return from Bermuda; one from St. Theresa’s; as well as other trophies from ‘Nationals’ and Inter-Schools.”
Meanwhile, mature residents of New Amsterdam who understand what it takes to prepare for athletic championships, say it would be a good thing for the private sector to start pitching in their lot as an incentive for good performances by the athletes who have ‘made their name’ and ‘claim to fame.’ After all, sporting gear is very expensive: gear such as running shoes and running tights. These are things the poor people of Berbice can hardly afford. “We would say when you spot talent in young people , we as a community should encourage them wherever possible, and this goes for both girls and boys,” the concerned residents declared.
Meanwhile, others expressed the view that the government should put more into sports for the local athletes, citing other areas not necessarily in Berbice, but needing support.