Strong hopes for Burnette, Pompey at C/ wealth Games from Orin Davidson in New York
Stabroek News
July 25, 2002

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Excellent recent performances have raised hopes of a strong display by Guyana’s two-member athletics team at the Commonwealth Games which opens today in Manchester England.

Track specialists United States- based Marian Burnette and Aliann Pompey, have been preparing for the prestigious event in Europe over the last few weeks and have made their presence felt among top class competition.

Competing last Saturday in her last competitive before her assignment in Manchester, Burnette lowered her personal best time for the 800 metres at the Cruxhaven meet in Germany where she clocked 2 minutes 02. 56 seconds.

The field included a high powered selection including Russia’s Natalja Chrishilova who won in 1:59.77 and top British competitor Toya Blake who was fifth. Burnette was sixth and her time was four hundredths of a second outside the national record of 2:02.52 held by Lorrie-Ann Adams.

Burnette, the 2002 United States collegiate indoor champion had previously done her personal best time in winning the Swiss Bern Arena meet 800m in Switzerland last month.

The Guyana Police Force athlete’s first stint on the European circuit was part of an attachment at a special training camp in Leimen, Germany.

Pompey, Guyana’s leading 400 metres specialist has also been in fine form, recording a personal best 51.69 seconds in winning at the Harry Jerome Classic meet in June in Canada.

The lanky Pompey, a semi-finalist at last year’s World Championships in Canada, was also a winner at Chania, Greece in 51.70 seconds earlier this month. Pompey who like Burnette is a U.S. Collegiate indoor champion, is now a full fledged professional and seems set to record her best ever performance for Guyana in her Commonwealth Games debut.

Burnette, who missed out on becoming Guyana’s first U.S. outdoor collegiate title winner at this year’s championships, because of a controversial eligibility rule, seems to have recovered fully from the setback in May.

She told Stabroek News from Leimen that the Germany training camp was very beneficial as it helped her get acclimatised to the unfamiliar European conditions.

The Commonwealth Games will be the Louisiana Staten University (LSU) student’s first major competition for Guyana.

Her stint in Germany was made possible through sponsorship by New York Guyanese businessman Edgar Henry and ENG Caribbean Vision Centre, through the auspices of the Ministry of Sport and the Guyana Olympic Association.

Burnette is also grateful to her LSU coach Mark Elliot for providing special out of season duties since May.

Guyana will also be represented in boxing, squash, rifleshooting and weightlifting at the Commonwealth Games.