Speed walk organiser still hoping for athletics association intervention

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Top three finishers in the first Speed Walking Competition held on August 8: Omega Bellot (centre), Anthony Dorsett (left) and Azeba James (right). (Photos courtesy organisers)
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By Neto Baptiste

Patrick Spencer, one of the main organisers of the upcoming Release the Beast Speed Walk competition slated for Sunday, is hoping that by June next year, the Antigua and Barbuda Athletics Association (ABAA) would be fully on board where it pertains to taking the event under its wings.

Speaking recently on the Good Morning Jojo Sports Show, Spencer said the aim is to eventually have Antigua and Barbuda represented at the highest level, but that forming a new association is not part of their plans.

“I am hoping that by the middle of next year that we could have a more serious conversation with the association because as I said, we are not out to form a new association. We just want to keep the interest going, keep young people motivated and working towards something big, so hopefully, by the middle of next year we will have a more serious talk with the association,” he said.

The group, Team 5 am, held its first speed walk competition in August after a number of leisure walkers had challenged each other to a friendly contest. Some 30-plus individuals competed in that event.

Spencer said he had held talks with Cornelius at that stage.

“I did mention it to Cornelius about the event the first time and we would be happy to have them have it as an event, and he was very receptive, and he thought it was a good idea. It didn’t really come across as if any athletes will be taking part in this particular event, but I know he was very upbeat about it and as I told him, we don’t mind because we can run them and the association can go forward in terms of the international participation,” he said.

Upwards of 50 individuals are expected to compete in Sunday’s 9.5 miles Release the Beast Speed Walk competition being put on by 5 am Walkers and Just 5.

The competition, which is expected to be much more grueling than the inaugural eight-mile event, will see participants battle the infamous Horseford Hill as they speed walk from Crab Hole Liquors in Falmouth to Mega Distributors on the American Road.

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