By Neto Baptiste
President of the Antigua and Barbuda Athletics Association (ABAA), Everton Cornelius, has confirmed that a number of the country’s top athletes will not participate in the body’s national championships slated for this Saturday and Sunday at the YASCO Sports Complex.
The revelation comes following reports that the five overseas-based athletes previously confirmed for the event will, instead, compete in the Bahamas later this month following revelations that the newly laid Mondo surface here is yet to be certified.
“Those athletes that are trying to qualify for the Olympics, because the track is not fully certified as yet, they basically will be going off to the Bahamas to seek qualification, both individually, and we are putting a relay together at that particular meet, too, to see if we can qualify a relay team; that’s basically what we are trying to do,” he said.
Sprinter Cejhae Greene, who has already qualified for the Tokyo Olympics, and his female counterpart Joella Lloyd, who had a stellar indoor season but is yet to meet the Olympic standard of 11.15 seconds, were both previously confirmed for the event.
Cornelius said the duo, who will also compete in the Bahamas, will still make an appearance at the national event.
“Cejhae is here, Joella is going to be here so at least those two individuals who we are really looking forward to competing in the Bahamas for this upcoming last chance qualification meet. They will also be going off to the Bahamas but they will be here for our meet because the Bahamas is going to be around the 22nd and the 23rd but our meet is the 19th and the 20th. It’s not like they will have the type of competition they are looking forward for [at the nationals] but they say they will still run,” he said.
The other athletes previously confirmed were sprinters Tahir Walsh, Chevaughn Walsh and high jumper Priscilla Frederick Loomis. Jamaica-based Coull Graham is also set to compete in the sprints.
The event will start at 2 pm on both days.