The Thirty-Seventh Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM will be held in Guyana 4-6 July, 2016. The opening ceremony will be held on the evening of Monday 4 July, at the National Cultural Centre, Georgetown, and will be live-streamed via today.caricom.org and http://www.caricom.org. As we focus on Guyana as co-host with the CARICOM Secretariat, please see below a feature on one of the Community’s outstanding athletes.
Guyana’s Cleaveland Forde is arguably one of the most celebrated athletes in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) 10K Road Race having won the event four times: Guyana – 2009, Saint Lucia – 2012, Antigua and Barbuda – 2014, and Barbados – 2015.
While those accomplishments are noteworthy, this celebrated athlete does not consider them to be the catalyst of his career.
When my focus is at the pinnacle, I guess that I am nowhere yet,” he said modestly.
His mind is focused on competing successfully at the highest levels, including the Olympic. If his discipline is an indicator, that aspiration is within reach.
The CARICOM Secretariat had an interaction with Mr. Forde ahead of the events surrounding the hosting of the 37th Meeting of the Conference of CARICOM Heads of Government in Georgetown, Guyana from 4-6 July. He related that his proclivity for running long distances became evident when his age was still counted in single digits.
A pupil of the Mabaruma Primary School, located in the Barima, Waini region, in the northwest district of Guyana, Mr. Forde said in running for fun or in school’s sports, he realised that others seemed “really exhausted” while he “still had the energy to go”.
That “energy to go” was nurtured and culminated with the 31-year-old athlete winning the Junior Sportsman of the year 2002, runner-up in the same category in 2003, Male Athlete of the Years in 2004, and Sportsman of the Year in 2006. His distances are 5000m and 1500m, but he competes in 800m, 10K and half marathons.
He has competed successfully in excess of a 100 events in countries across the globe including Hungary, Brazil, Puerto Rico, Panama, India, Australia, Argentina and Italy. Some of the prominent events in which he participated include the World Youth Championship in Athletics, CARIFTA Games, NACAC Cross Country 800k; Southern Games 1500m and 5000m; Brazil GP 5000m; CAC Senior Championship 1500m and 5000m; Hampton Games 15000m; UWI Half Marathon; South American 10k Road Race Classic; Run Barbados Series 10k and Half Marathon, Falcon Games 1500m; Central American and Caribbean Games 5000m; Commonwealth Games 5000m and 1500m; Palo Seco Games 1500m; Manny Ramjohn Memorial 1500m; World Half Marathon; South American Junior; Cara Suites 10k Classic; National Schools Annual Track and Field, Swimming and Cycling Championships 10k, 1500m, 5000m; and Hampton International Championship 5000m.
Cleaveland Forde is truly an outstanding athlete. Despite the considerable amount of time set aside for training and competing, the academic element of his life has not suffered any shortfall. He said motivation to pursue academics alongside athletics was “all around.” Teachers, coaches, friends and family all encouraged him to have “something to fall back on,” after his career in track and field. That kind of motivation and self-determination and focus, led him to be as academically successful.
Mr. Forde has just completed a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Business Management from the University of Guyana. That was preceded by a Diploma in Management of Information Systems from Dawn to Dusk College in Eldoret, Kenya, through a scholarship co-sponsored by Guyana Olympic Association (GOA) and the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
Kenya is far away from Guyana, but its high altitude terrain is described as a ‘mecca’ for high performance athletic training. There, Mr Forde used the high-altitude training camps some 2700 meters above sea level to develop his resistance, muscle strength and stamina when he competes on ground level.
With a solid education in his repertoire, he said: “Now that I have that, the next five years I just want to devote to athletics totally. I don’t want to be distracted.”
This dedicated athlete is constantly looking to improving his time, training as much as twice daily, six days a week.
I am looking to run some better times and right now I am hoping within the next couple of months I will be back somewhere at high altitude training. I will be talking with the (Guyana Olympic) Association and I will engage the Ministry of Education Sports Department and we’ll see how it goes,” said.