By Neto Baptiste
National youth tennis star, Sibley Charles, could miss this year’s Youth Pan American Games slated to start on November 25 in Cali, Colombia.
The female tennis player tested positive for Covid-19 minutes before boarding a flight from Miami to Colombia earlier this week, and is reportedly in the company of her father, Sibley Charles.
Secretary General of the Antigua and Barbuda National Olympic Committee (ABNOC), Cliff Williams, confirmed the tennis player’s positive test but added she will be re-tested before a final decision on her participation at the games is determined.
“Since they consulted me, I consulted with Pam Am Sports — the organisers of these games — and they asked that we do a re-test, so I informed her dad that they should do a re-test just to confirm. The center also informed them that within two days they can do a test and [if negative] they could authorise her to travel to the games, so it’s a situation we are watching at the moment,” he said.
Williams said the turn of events is disappointing as young Charles was earmarked as one of the country’s flag bearers at the opening ceremony on Thursday.
“I think it’s a real low blow, and especially with all of the efforts they have put into preparing her for the games and the effort that she has shown in wanting to be there. She also was selected to carry the flag, so that really affects us because we don’t have another athlete here who carries the flag in the female category because both male and female must carry the flag and she along with the young man from athletics [Daniel Bryan] were supposed to carry the flags,” he said.
Sailor Jalese Gordon was earlier forced to withdraw from the games due to schedule conflicts with exams. Gordon is a second-year university student in Europe.
Antigua and Barbuda will participate in six disciplines at the Youth Pan American Games, namely athletics, cycling, lawn tennis, sailing, fencing and beach volleyball.
Ghere Coates will compete in cycling while in beach volleyball, the country will be represented by Rayanna Regis and Tyke Hawkins in the female category.
Athletics will be represented by Taeco O’Garro in the long and triple jumps, Timon Emanuel in the 800m, and Roosevelt Daniel Bryan in the100m.
Sailing will be represented in the male category, Daniel Smit, will be participating in the one-person dingy event.
Fencing will be represented by Hosea Ward, competing in the male foil event.
Antigua and Barbuda’s delegation will be spearheaded by Thomas “Tommy” Greenaway, 3rd Vice President, ABNOC, as Chef de Mission. He will be assisted by ABNOC Executive member, Joann Small who will also double the role of Chaperone and Covid Liaison Officer.