Cricket, as it happens in so many Caribbean countries, is a passion in Guyana. There they take pride in having excellent, world-renowned players such as Shivnarine Chanderpaul; although this is not the only specialty in which that small nation’s athletes, located in the northern part of South America and that only had one Olympic medalist, have stood out. Who have been the 10 most successful Guyanese athletes? Panamericanworld proposes to approach figures that are local icons.
MICHAEL ANTHONY PARRIS (BOXING)
This boxer is Guyana’s only Olympic medalist. In the 1980 Moscow Games, Anthony fought in the 54 kilograms division and reached the semifinal, where he lost against the Cuban Juan Bautista Hernández, which was the reason why he obtained the bronze medal. Two years later, he debuted as a professional and remained on the ring until 1995. His record was 17 wins and 10 losses.
SHIVNARINE CHANDERPAUL (CRICKET)
Chanderpaul can be considered Guyana’s best cricketer of all time and one of the most outstanding in the Caribbean. He gained worldwide fame as one of the most complete hitters and in his record appear more than 20 thousand runs in international cricket. Chanderpaul was captain of the West Indies in 14 Tests and 16 One Day Internationals.
ANDREW “SIXHEAD” LEWIS (BOXING)
This great boxer had a tragic end, since he died in an accident, when his bicycle crashed into a car, in 2015. His followers called him “Sixhead” and, as an amateur, he won the silver medal in the 63.5 kilograms division, in Mexico’s Central American and Caribbean Games, in 1990, when losing the final fight against the Cuban Candelario Duvergel. In 1993, he jumped to professionalism and was active for 15 years. In that period, he won 23 fights, 20 of them by KO, he had six ties and only gave in four occasions. His best moment came in 2001, when he won the WBA welterweight title, defeating James Page. Then, Andrew successfully defended his crown against Larry Marks, but later yielded to Ricardo Mayorga.
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ALIANN POMPEY (ATHLETICS)
Pompey has been Guyana’s best athlete in history. She is a specialist in the 400 meters and represented her country in four Olympic Games (2000-2012); in addition, she competed in five IAAF World Athletics Championships (2001-2009). Among her most outstanding results appears the title, in the 400 meters, in the British Commonwealth Games, in 2002 and the bronze medal, in the same distance, in the Santo Domingo’s Pan American Games, in 2003. In the Central American Games and of the Caribbean, of Mayagüez, in 2010, she reached the silver medal.
CLIVE LLOYD (CRICKET)
This great cricketer also was the West Indies team’s captain, between 1974 and 1985. In that period he took part in three World Cups and won the 1975 and 1979 editions; he also suffered a defeat against India in 1983’s finals. He is considered one of the most successful captains in Tests. After his retirement, he has remained linked to cricket and directed the West Indies in the late nineties of the last century.
WAYNE “BIG TRUCK” BRAITHWAITE (BOXING)
This boxer fought as a professional between 1997 and 2012. He intervened in 30 fights, of which he won 24, 20 of them by KO and lost 6 times. In 2002, he faced the Italian Vincenzo Cantatore, for the WBC cruiserweight world title and overtook him in 10 rounds, so he became the second Guyanese boxer with a professional world title. “Big Truck”, as he was nicknamed, defended his crown three times and became the number 1 in his division, between 2003 and 2005, according to the prestigious magazine The Ring. He gave the title in 2005, falling to the Frenchman Jean-Marc Mormeck.
ROHAN KANHAI (CRICKET)
Kanhai enters the list of Guyana’s best cricketers of all time. He was part of the West Indies team in 79 Tests and shared the field with other Caribbean legends of the sport, such as Sir Garfield Sobers and Roy Fredericks. In the sixties, Kanhai gained international recognition for his hitting power and in 1975, he won the Cricket World Cup first edition.
IVAN “VICIOUS” VIVIAN HARRIS (BOXING)
Another Guyanese world champion in boxing was “Vicious” Vivian, who held the WBA light welterweight crown between 2002 and 2005. Harris began fighting after moving to the United States and achieved several amateur victories. In 1997, he jumped to professionalism and, five years later, beat the Cuban Diosvelys Hurtado in Houston and was WBA’s light welterweight division champion. He had three successful defenses of his crown, against Souleymane M’baye and Oktay Urkal, until he lost the title against the Colombian Carlos Maussa, in 2005. “Vicious” is still active and his record as a professional is 32 wins and 12 defeats.
CARL HOOPER (CRICKET)
Another Guyanese cricket legend is Hooper, who achieved worldwide recognition since the late eighties of the last century. He was West Indies team’s captain and is one of the two players in history (with Jacques Kallis) who has achieved 5000 runs, has taken 100 wickets, has reached 100 catches and received 100 caps, both in Tests and in One Day Internationals.
WINSTON GEORGE (ATHLETICS)
This runner, of 200 and 400 meters, is probably Guyana’s most famous active athlete. In 2012, he was the flag bearer of his country’s delegation at London Olympic Games’ opening ceremony. In 2011 and 2013, he was elected as the best athlete in Guyana. He has participated in two summer events and in three IAAF World Championships. His most notable result was the title he achieved this year, in the South American Athletics Championship, where he triumphed in the 400 meters, with a time of 45.42 seconds.