Athletes Don’t Want To Be Nominated: ‘Sour’ Tennis Boss Explains Sports Awards Snub

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President of the Antigua and Barbuda Tennis Association (ABTA) and coach, Cordell Williams. (File photo)
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By Neto Baptiste

President of the Antigua and Barbuda Tennis Association (ABTA) and coach, Cordell Williams, said a recent decision to exclude the body’s athletes from the National Sports Awards by not making nominations in the various categories, was influenced by a number of factors.

Chief amongst those factors, according to Williams, were requests from a number of players that their names not be submitted for consideration in any of the categories.

“A lot of the athletes do not wish to be nominated, and that’s why we can have a meeting within the organisation of the planning committee, so we can see how we can address issues so we can make the thing better. Don’t just say you’re having a sports awards and invite people without having discussion or dialogue as to the way forward. I can tell you personally that a lot of the athletes do not wish for their names to be nominated,” he said. 

Williams, who went on to suggest that some athletes may feel slighted due to a lack of financial support from the government, said that he too has his personal gripes where the awards are concerned, after being named Coach of the Year back in 2012.

“I was Coach of the Year, and at that time, I had 10 students who went to Central America and the Caribbean, and you go to a sports awards where male athlete of the year gets $10,000.00, and female athlete of the years gets $10,000.00, but coach of the year, not even a dinner for two to take your wife to go and enjoy, absolutely nothing. This is insulting when you have a sports awards and you’re inviting people and you’re trying to honour them for service done and get that type of treatment,” he said.

The coach and former player highlighted a recent incident he believes speaks to the manner is which coaches and others who give of their time and effort to serve the country, where sports are concerned, are treated.

“I am the President of the Association, and I brought in a vehicle, and I have to pay to take it out. I believe that my service or even the award that the Governor General gave me, would have allowed me to bring in a vehicle and at least get it duty free, or get everything off because off the contribution that I would have put in, so I am very sour with how I have been treated in this country with the contribution that I personally would have put in, so I choose not to be a part of their sports awards,” Williams said.

The Tennis Association was amongst a number bodies not making submissions for the awards which were held in June. Football, fencing, golf and drag racing were all noticeably absent from the list.

Following the awards, Sports Minister Daryll Matthew, announced that Associations failing to make nominations for the awards will not be prioritised for government funding.

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