Top swimmer lands scholarship
By Michael DaSilva
Stabroek News
January 11, 2003

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Top local swimmer Onan Orlando Thom will wing out for Trinidad and Tobago tomorrow, to take up a six-month training scholarship with the Tidal Wave Aquatic Swim Club.

Speaking at a press conference yesterday in his Chambers, Guyana Olympic Association (GOA) president Juman Yassin disclosed that while in Trinidad, Thom will attend the Trinity College East, where he will continue his studies in business administration as well as undergo specialised training in swimming

Yassin said Thom’s scholarship was arranged by the GOA, in conjunction with the Guyana Amateur Swimming Association (GASA).

According to Yassin, the GOA received a request from the GASA to consider the possibility of further advancing Thom’s ambitions, and he (Yassin) made a promise to do his best to send Thom abroad for training.

Thom has represented Guyana at the Fizal Championships in Iran, the FINA World Championships in Japan, the South American Games in Brazil, an international meet in Colombia and for the past few years, the Goodwill meet involving Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago and Suriname.

Last year, Thom became the first Guyanese ever, to win three gold medals at the Goodwill Games. That meet was staged in Trinidad last year.

Yassin who also heads the GOA, said Thom has been improving his times at every meet he participated in over the past few years.

According to the former Chief Magistrate, GASA’s General Secretary Charles Corbin, is responsible for making Thom’s scholarship possible and He (Yassin) thanked Corbin personally.

Yassin also thanked Sparta Global Enterprises for sponsoring the airline ticket, Car Care for their monetary contribution to Thom, and BWIA, for the concession they gave on the airline ticket.

Yassin said the GASA will look at Thom’s progress while in Trinidad to determine whether he can represent Guyana at the Pan American Games slated for Santo Domingo in August.

Yassin told BWIA’s Area Manager Carlton DeFour who was also present, that the GOA and its affiliates will be looking forward to more meaningful cooperation with BWIA, and reminded him (DeFour) that Guyana is a poor country.

In his short address, DeFour commended the GOA for seeking to assist Thom in his personal development, since Thom is not only going to swim, but to advance his academic career “He should grasp it with both hands and I hope he opens the doors for others to benefit in the same way”. DeFour stated.

Thom who hails from New England in Linden, is coached by former national swimmer Mary Chung, who used the opportunity to give members of the media a background on Thom’s swimming career.

According to Chung, Thom is a very discipline athlete who takes his swimming seriously “I know when he goes to Trinidad, he will do his best for himself and Guyana” Chung stated.

GASA’s Technical Committee Chairman and former national coach Vibert Charles, noted that from the time Thom went to the Colombia meet, his times have been dropping (improving) rapidly.

Thom swims the 50-metre in 25.27 seconds and the 100-metre in 56.81 seconds, but according to Charles, the GASA would only consider selecting Thom for the Pan American Games or the World Championships if he bring down his times to 23 seconds and 52 seconds respectively.

Charles said Thom lacks a consistent form of pool training that will sharpen his skill and target times.

Charles also opined that with Thom’s consistency, and now being given the access to a gym, coupled with his attitude, he (Charles) certain if he (Thom) applies himself and make his target, he will attend the Pan American and World Championship meets.

Thom said he is thankful for the opportunity afforded him and promised to do his best. “With the facilities in Trinidad and my dedication, I think I can achieve my goal, winning an Olympic medal” Thom declared.

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