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By Neto Baptiste

National shot-put athlete Jess St John could still receive funding from the National Olympic Committee (NOC) despite recent threats by the athlete to switch her allegiance.

This was confirmed by President of the Antigua and Barbuda Athletics Association (ABAA), Everton Cornelius, who told Observer media that the body has submitted a request for funding on the athlete’s behalf.

“I was informed by them [NOC] that there was a correspondent sent to both to him and myself but they told me it was sent to [a particular] email but I don’t really use that email address anymore so I had asked her to resent that but in the meantime and just for expediency and based on the information given to me by the NOC from her, I made the request on her behalf for the NOC to get her the necessary support she needs going forward,” he said.

In November last year, St John threatened to walk away from national representation and switch her allegiance amidst what she said was frustration over failed attempts to secure funding from the NOC.

The athlete claimed her requests were being ignored by the NOC but the body said the shot-putter’s application was incomplete.

Cornelius, who confirmed that requests were also made for two other athletes in Jared Jarvis and Richard Richardson, said however, that funding is yet to be approved for experienced sprinter Daniel Bailey.

“We will basically have to see how he is developing along the way and see how he is doing and I guess if he needs assistance and we like the progress he is making with his training, then we will probably look at providing him with the necessary assistance he needs going forward,” he said. 

Cornelius, a former national athlete, went on to commend sprinter Cejhae Greene who became the first athlete to qualify for the 2021 Olympic Games when he clocked 10:01 seconds at the Tropical Elite Sprints Meet in Miami in March.

“I was surprised, honestly surprised and it’s not that I didn’t think he couldn’t run the time but that was early, which means he is on a path that could see him going down to 10 [seconds] flat and get under 10 all things holding firm going forward. I think it’s a good indicator of where he is right now with his training and competition wise,” the athletics boss said.

The Olympic Games are slated for July 23 to August 8 in Tokyo, Japan.