We are willing to help Guyanese athletes, please contact us
Stabroek News
March 21, 2002

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Dear Editor,

I'm the Co Chairman of "Friends of Guyana Athletics", a non profit organization based in the United States. My response to the writer who said Guyana has athletes of promsie is, "We can help provide these tools."

I'm been trying for years to help athletes, especially track and field athletes, take their athletic talents to another level in overseas educational facilities. February 2000, I wrote to your paper telling you that there is a group of US based Guyanese who will be doing some good things in a few years. Well, our plans are taking strides into reality in the form of this non profit organization. Our goal is to seek out and recruit Guyanese athletes living in US to compete and represent their native homeland like the Jamaicans and our Caribbean comrades.

Friends of Guyana Athletics (FOGA) also seeks to assist those promising athletes who wish to take their athletic talents to the next level by presenting their information to college and high school coaches for scholarships. If, we are to make our promising athletes such as Tai Payne, Analisa Austin, Cadejah St. Hill, Rawle Green, Stacy Gill, Andre Blackman, Jamel Fields, Clyde Gibson, Roberto Inniss and Christopher Joseph into Olympians we have to follow our Caribbean competitors. We have to export these talents to the international market. The tools necessary to achieve the Olympic status we expect of our athletes are not available at home. Even the mighty Jamaicans export their talents to American University & Colleges because they know the Americans have more tools that would benefit Jamaica in the long run.

Guyana simply does not have the necessary tools to develop these athletes into the international stars. The biggest and probably the main reason why these athletes will never be able to truly showcase or achieve their ultimate best is absence of an all weather track. Coming to an American University would make this very important element readily available in every neighborhood you enter. The colleges and universities also provide the much needed exposure that would propel these athletes into the international circuits.

There are track and field athletes living in the US who has worst talents than ours but they have better performances. Given the necessary tools unavailable in Guyana, Payne would be the best high school prospects in the US, period. Here a little comparison, Allan Webb considered one of the best, if not the best high school mid distance runner in US history probably would be sharing that spotlight with Mr. Payne given the same conditions to train and opportunity to compete each weekend with the best competition around. Tai Payne has better speed, no track, limit training equipment, competes once a month and was a full second faster than Webb in the 400m dash. Webb?s best time in the 400m is 49.0 compare to Payne?s of 48.0 (in only one chance at it). Webb was better in the 800m because he had the chance to compete every week compare to Payne?s long monthly layoffs between races. Webb run a personal best 1:47 with his 49 second 400m speed, Payne would easily be running 1:46; 1:45 lows with his speed. Also, switching to all weather track competitions from grass training is a major disadvantage.

Our promising athletes have a future, but it will require them to be exported until the tools are available at home. The tools are in places if these athletes wish to take advantage of them. My organization is willing to work and assist these athletes to obtaining these tools. An athlete like Tai Payne would have college recruiters breaking down his door to have him compete at their school. He has all the talents, however he just needs a little more help with exposure. This program also extends to the high school level. Private high school in America can and they are offering scholarship to assist talents student athletes such as Ms. Analisa Austin develop their skills before college.

Any athlete willing to explore these options can contact my organization and we will do our best to help our countrymen and women utilize their talents to the fullest.

Yours faithfully,
Clifford C. Wong
Co Chairman
Friends of Guyana Athletics
6501 Fairbanks St.
New Carrollton, MD 20784
Ph: 301 552 4652/2329
Cell: 301 793 2900
Fax: 309 296 9119