By Neto Baptiste
Former national sprinter Daniel Bailey has been appointed head of the newly formed Athletes Commission by the Antigua and Barbuda National Olympic Association (ABNOA).
Bailey, who has represented the twin-island state at numerous international meets, to include the Olympic Games and World Championships, is now charged with managing the needs and concerns of the country’s national athletes, acting as a middle-man between the athletes, the NOA and the IOC.
Bailey said he was surprised by the appointment.
“That was the first I was actually hearing about it,” he said. “But they explained to me that I have a right to speak to the athletes, and represent [them] if they have any situations, problems, I can bring [them] to [the NOC] and if the situation is not being dealt with, then I can actually write to the IOC.”
According to the IOC, the mission of the Athletes’ Commission is to ensure that the athletes’ viewpoint remain at the heart of the Olympic Movement decisions.
The responsibilities of the IOC Athletes’ Commission are to empower athlete representation in Olympic Movement decision-making processes, support athlete development in their sporting and non-sporting careers, promote athlete involvement in decision-making across the Olympic Movement, and ensure athlete representation in Olympic Movement decision-making.
Bailey said he has embraced the role.
“I went to the conference in Switzerland one month ago and I’ve learnt a lot from [it]. So I have everything on my drive in terms of what are the athletes’ benefits; what they really need; what they’re going to get and what is going to happen for the next four years leading up to the next Olympics,” the former athlete said.
Bailey said he plans to meet with Antigua and Barbuda’s athletes within the coming months.
“I want to find out what their plans are, what’s happening with training and how competition is coming on, and if there is any room for improvement where funding and competition is concerned,” he said.
“I don’t want to do anything much at this point because they are actually in the middle of track season … I want to wait until the season is finished and reach out to them, call a meeting when everybody is home, sit them down find out their concerns and lay them out to the NOC,” he added.
Bailey came to prominence in 2009 with a 100m win in the IAAF Golden League and a fourth-place finish at the 2009 World Championships in Athletics. He was the bronze medallist over 60 metres at the 2010 IAAF World Indoor Championships and has also won sprint medals at Caribbean regional level.
His personal best of 9.91 seconds is the Antiguan and Barbudan national record over 100 metres.