HOPING to attract as many high level athletes as possible, the Athletics Association of Guyana (AAG) will be looking to assist athletes with their airfare as they look to raise the standard of the Guyana leg of the annual South American 10K Classic Road Race, which was officially launched yesterday at the AAG Headquarters on Light Street.AAG president Aubrey Hutson shared that a number of special invitations will be going out to athletes, offering to subsidise their airfares to the November 5 event. The invitations include Peruvian athletes Yerson Orellana and Luis Ostas, who won first- and second-place in the event back in 2015, but were unable to make it for last year’s edition.Another will be sent to Brazil’s Daniel Nascimento, who won the 10k and 5000m runs at the South American Junior Championships this year, when it was held in Guyana. Another two invitations are also expected to go to Columbia.The airfares are being made possible through a partnership between the AAG and COPA Airlines.“All the South American countries are invited once again. Who will come we don’t know as yet but we are pursuing a relationship with COPA to get them here at a reduced cost.“If we really and truly want to see good competition, we must expose out athletes to the international arena and hence the reason why we are bringing as many athletes as possible,” Hutson remarked“The objective here is to raise the level of competition because we want more and more athletes to come for this event so that our local athletes can have true competition, and to raise the overall standard of the meet so that it becomes more attractive to international athletes.”However, Hutson said local athletes need not fear the rise in competition, as a special category will be put in prizes for the first Guyanese across the finish line.“We still are going to put in place special prize money for our local athletes, for the first three Guyanese crossing the finish line, on both the male and female sides, to encourage them to keep in the competition.“Because if you bring true international competition, the Guyanese athletes may feel that they cannot compete with them, they may not place, they may want to shy away from coming to the event. So we’re going to put something in place for the local athletes,” Hutson noted.Hutson also pointed out that the Association will be looking into assisting overseas-based Guyanese Euleen Josiah-Tanner to get here.The South American 10K Classic will be the second leg of the a three-part event, with the first leg set for Suriname on October 28, while the third leg will be in Panama on November 12.Though Guyana (AAG) usually attends the Suriname leg, over the years Guyana has stopped sending athletes to the Panama edition of the event, given that Panama never reciprocates and sends athletes to any of the other two legs of the event.