Pompey, Burnette cruise into semi-finals By Michael DaSilva
Stabroek News
July 28, 2002

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United States based Guyanese track athletes Aliann Pompey and Marian Burnette cruised into the semi-final round of the ladies 400 and 800 metres respectively, of the 2002 Commonwealth Games, currently underway in Manchester, England.

Local squash `Queen' Nicolette Fernandes failed to qualify for the round of 16, after being beaten by Northern Ireland's M. Perry in the round of 32 yesterday. According to the Commonwealth Games' website (commonwealthgames.com), Pompey returned 52.61 seconds on day two (Saturday), to qualify for the semi-final round which is slated for today.

Burnette on the other hand clocked two minutes 03.31 seconds in her 800m preliminary round to secure a semi-final berth.

Fernandes was beaten 2-9, 0-9, 1-9 by Perry in the round of 32 and will now have to wait for the mixed doubles to stake her claim for a medal.

Fernandes will partner Canadian based Guyanese Luke Fraser in the mixed doubles. Pompey's personal best time for the 400m is 51.69 seconds, which she registered at the Harry Jerome Classic meet in Canada last month.

Burnette's personal best time for the 800-metre is two minutes 02.56 seconds. Burnette is scheduled to come up against the Games' record holder, Maria Mutola of Mozambique, in the semi-final round of the 800-metre today. In her first round heat on Friday, Pompey returned 52.88 seconds in placing third to Jamaica's Allison Beckford (52.29) and Bahamas' Christine Amertil (52.64) respectively.

Pompey was a semi-finalist at last year's World Championships in Canada. Jamaica's Sandi Richards who clocked 53.24 seconds in winning her heat on Friday, returned 51.91 seconds in the second round yesterday. Richards is the Games' record holder (50.17) over the 400m.

Other qualifiers for the semi-final of the ladies 400m include Bahamas' Chrystine Amertil, Jamaica's Allison Beckford and Scotland's Lee McConnell. Kenya's Faith Macharia (2:03.88), Scotland's Susan Scott (2:02.82) Nigeria's Grace Ebor, Canada's Diane Cummins (2:04.09) and Namibia's Agnes Samaria (2:03.04) are among today's women's 800-metre semi-finalists. Ransford Goodluck and Mahendra Persaud, Guyana's two rifle shooters at the Games, were billed to get into action yesterday, but up to press time, no results were available.

Both Goodluck and Persaud are just off the Queen's Golden Jubilee meet where Goodluck recorded 222 points with 21 V's in capturing the LVA Communications `O' Class title. He also carted off 23 bronze bars at the meet while Persaud captured 16.

Guyana first participated in the Commonwealth Games in 1934 as British Guiana and have so far contested a total 13 Games, during which, local athletes have won 13 medals (including two gold medals) in a range of events.