American woman wins CARICOM race for SVG
It is still uncertain how American distance athlete Samia Akbar was able to represent St. Vincent and Grenadines (SVG) at the inaugural CARICOM 10 KM road race, held in St Lucia on
The questioning of her representation came as the local athletics body, Team Athletics SVG, had sanctioned the participation of top female road runner, Adelaide Carrington and champion of the Caribbean roads, Pamenos Ballantyne.
Akbar, who has close ties to Ballantyne, placed first in the women’s division in a time 35 minutes 19 seconds.
Ballantyne, talking to reporters at the end of Sunday’s race, referred to Akbar as his girlfriend.
Akbar a well-known cross-country athlete from Herndon, Virginia, USA, claimed the US$1000 winner’s purse.
She has been hailed as the American University’s most decorated athlete, holding several indoor and outdoor records.
Ballantyne unsurprisingly won the male category in 30 minutes 46 seconds in the race run from Rodney Bay in the North of St. Lucia, to the Castries Waterfront where he was congratulated by CARICOM Secretary General Edwin Carrington.
As he has done on other occasions, Ballantyne outclassed homeboy Victor Ledger, who clocked 31 minutes 32 seconds.
Guyanese Kelvin Johnson and Colin Mercurius returned times of 32 minutes 16 seconds and 32 minutes 19 seconds respectively, to cop the third and fourth positions.
Another Guyanese pair of Alika Morgan and Ashanti Scott followed Akbar to the finish line to take second and third places in the female category.
Morgan finished in 40 minutes 43 seconds and Scott 44 minutes 27 seconds.
SVG’s Carrington finished fourth.
The road race formed part of the Sixteenth CARICOM Heads of Government Summit.
Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves received Ballantyne’s winnings, which included a trophy and the US$1000, while Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Mike Browne received the trophy on behalf of the female “Vincentian” winner Akbar.