16-Y-O Attoya Harvey dreams of gold at first CARIFTA stint

The content originally appeared on: INews Guyana
Attoya Harvey lighting up the track in the middle distance races (Jemima Holmes Photo)

By: Jemima Holmes

At sixteen years old, Attoya Harvey is the epitome of resilience. The teenager, attached to the Running Brave Athletics Club, qualified for the CARIFTA Games in 2020 and 2021, only to deal with the heartbreak of learning that the games would be cancelled because of the prevalence of the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic.

In spite of those disappointments of the previous years, Harvey has again given her all at the Leonora Track and Field Facility in 2022, where the CARIFTA trials were being held. At the first trials held by the Athletics Association of Guyana (AAG), Harvey registered a personal best run in the 1500m race to qualify for the games. She clocked 4.56.83.
Two weeks later, at another trial, Harvey crossed the line in 2.18.06 in the 800m event to book a spot in another race at the games.

The teenager, in a sit-down with this publication, reflected on the uncertainties of the past two years’ CARIFTA Games, but maintained that she had never lost hope of attending the regional event.

“I was prepared, looking forward to go, but when I heard it was postponed due to COVID-19, I was a bit (disappointed), I didn’t like that, because I was expecting to go and do my best, and then it got postponed. And then I said that I would push myself the other year to qualify, and I did qualify, and it (was) postponed again. So, it was very sad,” a visibly disappointed Harvey said.

She added, “I didn’t lose hope, cause I still have other goals I want to achieve, like reaching Olympics and other things. So, I didn’t lose hope.”

Being the third consecutive year that the teenager has qualified for the CARIFTA Games, the possibility of actually attending and competing next week is quite exhilarating for Harvey, who expressed her elation.

“I feel very excited, because it’s going to be a great experience going to Jamaica and competing with the… Jamaicans and the other girls from the different countries. I feel excited!” a beaming Attoya related to this publication.

When questioned about clocking a personal best on her way to CARIFTA qualification, Harvey figured it was something she could have achieved in both qualifying races. Nonetheless, she is still satisfied with the achievement.

“I feel great! Because I know when I go to Jamaica I would run another personal best, so I feel proud of myself. I know I could have done better, cause my personal best in the 800 is 2:17 and I ran 2:19, so I could have dropped more time. But I’m still proud,” she enlightened.

However, as a fifth form student, she has to balance the books, with the CSEC examinations approaching. She described to Evening News Sport what this has been like for her.

“Track and field comes with books too, so I would go to school in the morning to 3, and then have training from 3.30 to about 6 o’ clock; and I have lessons too, in between, so I have to manage both,” she explained.

This up-and-coming athlete has said, “I would do night studying after training, and I would have Zoom classes as well too.”

As a member of the Running Brave Athletics Club, Attoya credits her coaches for whatever success she has thus fa achieved, highlighting that they have been pushing her to the limit in pursuit of the CARIFTA gold. The teenager doesn’t mind being so pushed, however, since it would all be worth it in the end.

Attoya explained, “Well, in training, coach does be stern on me; so, I have to put in the work. I train on Tuesdays and Thursday, and I have to manage books as well too, so, training does be a bit reasonable.

“I’m very confident, because coach has been talking to me and telling me to go on YouTube and watch Athing Mu, watch her form and take things. So, I’m very confident that I will go out there, do my best and (make) my country proud.

“It would be lovely bringing home a gold medal. (It) would make my coaches, parents and the country proud,” she expressed.

The CARIFTA Games are scheduled for April 16-18 in Jamaica.