IAAF technical officer visits as Guyana prepares to host SA Junior Championships
INTERNATIONAL Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Technical Official (ITO), Giovanni Cardona of Columbia, arrived in Guyana yesterday, for a site inspection and to meet with officials, as Guyana prepares to host the South American Junior Championships on June 3 and 4.Cardona met with executives Athletics Association of Guyana (AAG) and officials of the body’s technical committee, when he visited the National Track and Field Centre in Leonora.Cardona’s visit is a pivotal part of the AAG mandate. “We don’t have the experience of doing this, so we’re happy that he’s here to assist us in the process. I’m happy that he’s here. It tells us how committed CONSULDATLE is to hosting this meet,” AAG president Aubrey Hutson told Guyana Chronicle yesterday, just before heading into his first meeting with Cardona.“It’s for him to point us forward, in the direction that we need to go. What we’re hoping is that from the open discussions that we have (with him) we learn from what he is saying to us. We have a local technical committee he will meet with and give them some other ideas.”The South American Junior Championships is a biennial event at which junior athletes (Under-20) from all across South America participate in athletic events. It is held in collaboration with South American Athletics Confederation (CONSUDATLE).The last Championships was held in Ecuador where it was reported that 245 athletes from 11 nations participated.It was just two weeks ago that Guyana was officially awarded the rights to host this year’s SAJC, after original host of the event, Bolivia, pulled out of the hosting due to reasons beyond their control.Hutson had already begun discussing the hosting of the event with supporting bodies such as the Director of Sport and Guyana Olympic Association (GOA). But Hutson said that the AAG was waiting on Cardona’s visit before putting together a final proposal for approaching stakeholders“We didn’t want to go ahead, meet with stakeholders, then he came along and pointed out certain things and maybe say no that is not sufficient, or not that’s too much. From his visit we will now create that road map towards getting the championships pulled off, and pulled off in a major way,” he explained.In initial reports, Hutson put the events budget somewhere in the area of US$58 000 (G$12 180 000). However, he said after talks with Cardona he expects that number to climb. Towards the budget that IAAF has already committed some US$30 000 (G$6 300 000), Guyana has to come up with the rest, but Hutson emphatically affirmed that he’s not sweating over the numbers.“I am never worried about finances, I don’t like to make finances an issue. I think sometimes we are blinded by something that may appear to be a huge financial task to achieve; US$28 000 to the government of Guyana it’s a drop in the bucket compared to what they want to spend in sports. US$28 000 to the Guyana Olympic Association I don’t see that as being any major big figure. I know we can pull this off.” Hutson declared.Hutson continued to emphasise that the money contributed towards the hosting of the event, should more be looked at as an investment, because of just what it would mean for Guyana.“From our initial discussions (Cardona) has indicated to me to be prepared for a lot more than just the athletes because a lot of parents do come to watch their children compete. So imagine Georgetown being flooded and all those hotels being filled with people who are coming to watch this competition.“This could be a major economic boost for the Guyana tourism industry and so it is only prudent for everyone to get on board with us and make this thing a success.” Hutson advised.