By Neto Baptiste
Former national athlete and track coach Carl Casey has slammed “administrators” whom he believes are “frustrating” athletes and in turn, forcing them out of national representation.
Speaking on the Good Morning Jojo Sports Show, Casey weighed in on the ongoing debate regarding funding for national shot put athlete Jess St. John, who has said she is no longer interested in representing the twin-island state after a number of failed attempts to secure NOC funding.
“We have been going to the Olympic since 1976 and when I was running it was the same problems we had. I sat down yesterday [Wednesday] and listened to Jess interview and I just said to myself, ‘how many athletes will the administration — because when it is the coaches, everybody hits the coaches — but they just frustrate the athletes until they pack up, quit and just don’t want anything to do with Antigua,” he said.
The NOC has argued that the athlete had failed to submit the necessary documentation that would have qualified her for funding with president of the organisation, EP Chet Greene, stating recently that St. John would have to reapply through the Antigua and Barbuda Athletics Association.
Casey challenged the notion that the university graduate failed several times to submit the requisite information to the NOC.
“What could be on a form that this young lady could not fill out? You have to ask yourself that question and you would see that it is personal. You know that it is personal, the minister knows it is personal, the general secretary knows it is personal and I just want to make it clear to everybody in this country that Daniel Bailey reached out to Jess as an athlete first. We were on our way to train and we were listening to her on an interview and I was in the car when he called her and the same expressions she gave to you yesterday was the same we got, she is hurt,” he said.
The coach, who currently works with national sprinter, Daniel Bailey, believes the current treatment being meted out to the athlete stems from a 2018 incident at the Commonwealth Games in Australia when she publicly criticized the association for providing inadequate meet attire.
“This form business is a bunch of herrings, it has nothing to do with no form and people have to understand that in this country, as soon as you stand up and talk people take it personal and judge you for what you’re saying. This uniform thing; that is a big thing that is going on right now with Jess and if you know that you don’t want to help the athlete then just say, if you don’t want to help her just say,” he said. Casey has called for a complete overhauling of sports and sports administration in Antigua and Barbuda, adding that athletes are usually left holding the bag.