Guyana can trace its Commonwealth Games history right back to the inaugural edition in Hamilton in 1930.

Then known as British Guiana, the country won a silver and a bronze medal, and the first gold arrived four years later in London thanks to Phil Edwards in the 880 yards.

Fast forward to Gold Coast 2018 and Guyana won the fourth of its Commonwealth Games gold medals, courtesy of Troy Doris in the men's triple jump.

This was the first triumph since Aliann Pompey's 400 metres gold at Manchester 2002, and Doris's success was celebrated enthusiastically. 

"He came home as he doesn't live in Guyana, he lives in the US," said Karen Pilgrim, Guyana's Chef de Mission for Birmingham 2022, to insidethegames.

"So he came home and he was taken all over the country.

"A young artist did a really beautiful painting of him and presented it to him.

"There were ceremonies all over the place. It was phenomenal." 

Doris will unfortunately not be defending his title in Birmingham, after struggling with injury.

The only Commonwealth Games team from South America will be looking to compete in athletics, swimming, badminton, cycling, squash and table tennis, as well as other sports should they qualify.

Pilgrim said table tennis would be an event to watch after Chelsea Edghill became the country's first Olympian in the sport at Tokyo 2020.

Troy Doris won triple jump gold for Guyana at Gold Coast 2018 ©Getty Images
Troy Doris won triple jump gold for Guyana at Gold Coast 2018 ©Getty Images

"The team as a whole is a good group, so we would look to her individually and table tennis as a whole to do well," she said.

In badminton, Narayan Ramdhani will hope to impress after training in Canada for the past few years.

Keevin Allicock boxed in the featherweight division at Tokyo 2020, with Pilgrim describing him as a "determined young man who wants to do well".

In athletics, sisters Jasmine and Aliyah Abrams competed in Tokyo over 100m and 400m respectively, with the latter reaching the semi-finals. 

Squash player Nicolette Fernandes was one of Guyana's top-ranked players for many years, and is looking good after returning to the sport following a lengthy break.

"We've placed better over the years in the Commonwealth Games than any other [Games]," said Pilgrim, a vice-president of the Guyana Olympic Association.

"We have the gold medal we won at the last Games in the triple jump, and Aliann Pompey has represented us well for many years in track and field."

Pompey lives in the US but remains active in athletics in Guyana.

Eight years after her gold in Manchester, she added 400m silver at the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games.

"She hosted a very high profile annual Aliann Pompey Invitational meet, and she has been instrumental in guiding a lot of the young athletes to getting scholarships in the US," said Pilgrim.

"Most of those have done very well."

Guyana is the only English-speaking country in South America and is often grouped with Central American and Caribbean nations when it comes to sport.

Aliann Pompey won the 400 metres title for Guyana at Manchester 2002 ©Getty Images
Aliann Pompey won the 400 metres title for Guyana at Manchester 2002 ©Getty Images

In football, for instance, Guyana is affiliated to the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football and not the South American Football Confederation.

The country is also a member of the Caribbean Association of National Olympic Committees, but in some sports they are included as part of South America.

For example, the country is a member of the South American Athletics Confederation and the South American Swimming Confederation.

Being drawn to both regions means Guyana competes in continental events in both the north and south.

This includes being able to send teams to the Central American and Caribbean Games, the Caribbean Games and the South American Games.

As a member of the Caribbean Free Trade Association (CARIFTA) they can also compete in CARIFTA events.

"We are in a very nice position being the only English speaking country in South America," said Pilgrim.

"Even though we have no part of our country touching the Caribbean Sea, we are very much considered a part of the Caribbean.

"The Caribbean Community Secretariat is based in Guyana."

Competing in South America can be tricky due to a lack of transport links - even to the countries Guyana shares a continent with.

"It's a double edged sword," said Pilgrim.

"It's good to have both, but for us it's surprisingly expensive to participate in South America because there are no flights.

"Our links head north. 

"To get to South America, invariably we have to go to Miami or Panama and then go south again."

Guyana is a member of the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football, but other sports are linked to South America  ©Getty Images
Guyana is a member of the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football, but other sports are linked to South America ©Getty Images

Athletes can also face a packed calendar of events which they are eligible to compete in, with the South American Games in Paraguay and the Caribbean Games in Guadeloupe both joining Birmingham 2022 on this year's schedule.

"This year is going to be a really tough one, especially for athletes who haven't been able to train as much as they'd like due to COVID," Pilgrim said.

"This month, we have CARIFTA swimming on the Easter weekend.

"A week later is the South American Junior Games.

"We tumble from one to the next." 

Pilgrim was Guyana's Chef de Mission at the London 2012 Olympic Games, and the Summer Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing in 2014 and Buenos Aires in 2018.

She also took the role at the South American Youth Games in Lima in 2013 and at the Commonwealth Youth Games in Pune in 2008 and The Bahamas in 2017. 

In 2009 she became a doping control officer and she is a member country representative for Guyana at the Caribbean Regional Anti-Doping Organization, where she sits on the Executive Committee.

After attending high school in Jamaica and competing in the National Championships in athletics, she gained a doctorate in veterinary medicine from Tuskegee Institute in Alabama.

Her route into sports governance began with the Guyana Amateur Swimming Association, who she joined after her son started to swim in 2001.

COVID-19 has impacted the preparation of athletes, like in most countries across the world.

"For the most part the National Federations tried to keep in touch with their athletes virtually, for what in swimming we'd call land training, just to keep fit," Pilgrim said.

"But it was really tough because most places completely shut down for at least a year. And then they only slowly reopened after that.

Keevin Allicock boxed at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games ©Getty Images
Keevin Allicock boxed at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games ©Getty Images

"For example, last year we were given permission to train only those swimmers who were preparing for the Olympics.

"And they only started training in March of last year.

"A few other swimmers trained alongside them to give them a bit of encouragement, but it was kinda lonely when you have much fewer athletes and the usual training partners are not there."

Cricket is the most popular sport with Providence Stadium in capital Georgetown now a focal venue after being built for the 2007 World Cup hosted by the West Indies. 

The previous Bourda ground opened in 1884 and is one of the oldest grounds in the Caribbean. It is still in use and was the first Test venue in South America.

"We got our first artificial track in 2015," said Pilgrim.

"There's another one being built right now in Linden, where quite a few of our national athletes come from.

"In 2011, they opened the aquatics centre which has a world class 50 metre pool. Subsequently a 25m pool was built at the same location.

"There's a rackets centre for table tennis, squash and lawn tennis."

Guyana has a population of around 750,000 with around a third of this in Georgetown.

The majority of the country is forested with most people living around the coast.

Providence Stadium is a flagship venue for cricket ©Getty Images
Providence Stadium is a flagship venue for cricket ©Getty Images

Efforts are currently being made to bring through the next generation of athletes to compete at major events for Guyana.

"In this year's budget there has been quite a lot of money for sport, mostly at grassroots level to try and develop younger athletes," said Pilgrim. 

"It's an excellent initiative and one that we really applaud. 

"We look forward to it as that will be the future of sport in Guyana."