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Ballantyne: Star of Caribbean roads?

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Despite recording a string of consecutive losses in regional races recently, ace distance runner Pamenos Ballantyne is not counting his winning ways over.

Ballantyne slumped to his fourth consecutive defeat at last Sunday’s Run Barbados Marathon, raising doubts of him still being the “Star of the Caribbean roads”.

The Caribbean’s most successful distance athlete for the past 12 years had to settle for second behind St Lucian Victor Ledger, who finished the 26 miles 385 yards event in 2 hours 29 minutes 49 seconds. {{more}}

Ballantyne finished four minutes later clocking 2 hours 33 minutes 32 seconds to pocket BDS$2,000 for his efforts.

He blamed a pain in the left hamstring muscle for his demise, which caused him to “take it easy” and said that “second is not bad”.

Ballantyne said last Monday that his recent under par showing is a result of him not having training facilities.

“I have not been doing any speed work for the year, since they closed the Arnos Vale Playing Field,” Ballantyne told SEARCHLIGHT SPORTS.

“I started to use the stretch next to the field but that started to affect my legs,” he said.

Ballantyne said that he should be heading to Trinidad and Tobago soon to prepare for the Clico Marathon January 21, 2007. As the record holder Ballantyne is seeking his eighth lien on the title.

Not one to mince his words, Ballantyne is reminding two government officials of their promise to give him a job over a year ago, but have not done so.

“Without a job, how can I get funds to properly train for events?” he asked.

He also lashed out at national sporting bodies which he said “have preparation grants but are not helping me”.

Ballantyne, who celebrates his 33rd birthday tomorrow, is one of this country’s Goodwill Ambassadors and was employed with the National Sports Council for over two years.

While many persons across the region are beginning to number the days of Ballantyne’s reign as the Caribbean’s premier distance road athlete, Ballantyne pointed to a trail of success over the last decade.

He has won 10 OECS Half Marathon titles, Seven Clico Trinidad and Tobago Marathon titles, four of the six Reggae Marathon races in Jamaica as well as countless 5K, 10K, and 15K events in almost every Caribbean island.

He has copped four Sports Personality of the Year awards and was named the 2004 OECS Sports Personality.

“Who has done better than me?” he boldly asked.

Before Sunday’s defeat, Ballantyne lost the Franco Construction North Leeward 10K here in October for the second time in a row to St Lucian Zephernius Joseph.

Ballantyne then placed third in the UWISPEC Half Marathon in Trinidad and Tobago last month beaten by two minutes by Kenyan Ernest Kimeli. He also had to follow Joseph to the finish line in the NEMWIL OECS Half Marathon in Dominica also last month, with Joseph finishing six minutes ahead of him.

This trend mirrored similar poor returns at this time last year, but he rebounded to take the Reggae Marathon and continued with three other victories on the trot.

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