By Allison Skeete
News Americas, The Valley, Anguilla, Weds. July 20, 2011: Amputee cyclist, Walter Grant Stuart, is a standout athlete who now has a championship title to prove it.
Not only did he stand out in the 12th Annual John T. Memorial 102-mile long race this past Sunday, July 17th in Anguilla, but he captured the support and hearts of new fans and many others who clearly rooted him on with respect and awe. A former fireman in Guyana, Stuart lost his arm on active duty three years ago.
But that has not stopped him one bit. On Sunday, he won the title of the John T. Memorial Cycle Race in a heated finish against Francl Pangan of St, Maarten in with a time of 3:42:12. He remained in the lead pack throughout the race amazing and pleasing the crowds on hand.
Shocked and stunned spectators were so impressed with his victory and skill they spontaneously went through the crowds and collected money and presented him after.
The amputee cyclist had already proven himself to be among the top cyclists in Guyana. He was forced to drop out of the A+ race on Saturday, July 16th, when he encountered mechanical trouble with his bicycle. But word of his performance incited the crowds who came out to see the ‘One-Hand’ cyclist from Guyana, and Guyanese residing in Anguilla were overwhelmingly elated when he crossed the finish line first on Sunday.
Godfrey Pollydore, another Guyanese cyclist, took 7th place. He’s also a former top cyclist in Anguilla. No Anguillan has ever won this title, which sees more than 50 cyclists from around the Caribbean who participate in the event.
Stuart thanked the Anguillian community for making him feel at home and for their support at the awards ceremony. The first three place winners received a trophy and US$1,000, $800 and $600, respectively. The prize money decreased by $100 to the tenth place winner and all those placing between 11 and 20 received $50.
The Guyana Cycling Association of North America, which is presided over by Neville Hunte, supports the champion and will be hosting an event and raffle in honor of Stuart during the September Labor Day weekend in New York.