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Guyana’s five-member delegation to the recent World Masters Weightlifting Championships in Savannah Georgia, USA, returned home recently with a four-medal haul, doing Guyana proud.
One gold, two silvers and a bronze medal were captured by the Guyanese in the 27-nation tournament.
Striking gold was Aletha Joseph-Letlow in the 75kg weight class and 35-39 age group. This is Letlow’s second gold medal, her first being in 1999 in Scotland. She also won a silver medal in 2000 in Orlando Florida.
Silver medals were brought home by June Belle and Colin Mc Koy in their categories. Belle lifted in the 63 kg weight class and the 35-39 age group while Mc Koy competed in the 62 kg class and the 40-44 age group.
The bronze medal was won by General Secretary of the Guyana Amateur Weightlifting Association Deion Nurse, in the 77kg weight class and the 40-44 age group.
The fifth member of the team, former gold medalist Subrina Pestano, failed to medal in the 69kg weight class and 45-49 age group.
The proud athletes who took time off to visit Stabroek Sport mentioned that they had paid their own way to participate at the championships with the help of family and friends.
The next Masters Championships are scheduled for Vienna, Austria and the athletes are making a plea to the authorities and corporate sponsors to assist in helping them to defray the cost of attending. According to Nurse, when the competition is held in Europe, Guyana does not send a delegation because of the cost. He told Stabroek Sport that the tournament is alternated each year between North America and Europe and said that Guyana does not go to the competition when it is held in Europe because of financial constraints. He is however hopeful that with the success of Guyana over recent years, willing sponsors will come on board to promote Guyana at the international level.
It was also disclosed by the GS that a breakthrough was attained for Guyana when Pestano and Joseph-Letlow were accredited to officiate at the recent competition.
This is another first for Guyana, the two women being accredited to officiate at international competition in weightlifting.
Silver medalist Colin Mc Koy mentioned that weight- lifters in their final preparations for the championships are burdened by many other considerations, especially financial, when thinking of competing at the games. According to him, if sponsors assist the athletes in their preparations then they can concentrate even more on achieving the best `form’ in time for competition which may help them to bring home more gold medals.
The athletes plan on paying courtesy calls on the chairman of he National Sports Commission (NSC) Laurie Lewis as well as Minister with responsibility for sport, Gail Tiexiera and also President Bharrat Jagdeo to highlight their local, regional and international achievements.