February 3, 2006


Pamenos Ballantyne could find himself again sidelined for another major world athletics event.

Speculations are rife that the ace distance runner may not make the cut for the Commonwealth Games next month in Melbourne, Australia. {{more}}Ballantyne’s heavy schedule over the past months, which included two marathons in two months, may have worked against him. He also participated in two half – marathons, as well as several 10 K’s during the past four months. His latest outing last weekend in Trinidad and Tobago could have been crucial in swaying those entrusted with the selection of the team for the athletics segment of the Games.

A release from the local Olympic Office stated that the associations that will be sending delegations met with the executive of the National Olympic Committee (NOC) earlier this week to give an update of their respective statuses. The release also stated the associations were to have made their final submissions to facilitate the early purchase of tickets for the March 15 to 26 event. Efforts to contact President of TASVG Keith Joseph on Ballantyne’s status, and the possible composition of the athletics squad, were unsuccessful.

Last weekend, Ballantyne in his Trinidad and Tobago sojourn failed to put his eighth lien on the annual Clico Marathon, when for the second consecutive year he had to settle for the second spot.

Ballantyne went into the race as favourite ahead of the 2005 winner Trinidadian Curtis Cox and 2002 winner Kenyan John Muruiki.

Little was known before the race of 27 year-old Kenyan Hilary Lelei.

Competing in the Trinidad Marathon for the first time, Lelei clocked 2 hours 22 minutes 2 seconds to pocket the TT$25,400 winner’s purse.

Ballantyne’s was 13 seconds slower than Lelei. He finished the 26.2 miles race 2 hours 22 minutes 15 seconds, with Muruiki third in 2 hours 26 minutes 18 seconds. Cox finished a disappointing seventh in 2 hours 41 minutes 50 seconds.

In recounting the race Ballantyne said that an incident with a roller blader threw him off early in the race.

“That affected me mentally, causing me to lose some ground,” he recalled.

“I then had to catch up with the main bunch, by running hard; I got cramps and had to stop three times,” Ballantyne continued.

“ I was aiming for 2:18, but I (am) still satisfied with my time”, the Caribbean premier distance athlete said.

It was the first time that he had lost this marathon event on successive occasions.

A new winner was also crowned in the female division of the marathon. Another African, also a debutante in the Caribbean’s premier marathon, Mary Akor was the first woman to cross the finish line. Akor, a Nigerian- born American, clocked 2 hours 49 minutes 31 seconds, ahead of 2004 and 2005 winner, Joanna Gront-Chmiel of Poland.