Coach’s Absence Disappoints Athletes At Pan Am Games

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By Neto Baptiste

Sprinter Cejhae Greene and high jumper Priscilla Frederick who are both representing Antigua and Barbuda at the ongoing Pan American Games in Lima, Peru have said they will lean on each other’s experience even as they prepare to compete without the aid of a coach.

Speaking to media this week, the athletes voiced their concerns over the fact that track & field was the only discipline currently without a coach in Peru, despite assurances that one would have been made available.

Greene, who commenced his competition in the 100 meters on Tuesday, said he has been relying on Frederick and a number of training partners to get through his preparations. He however remains confident.

“Well I have team Antigua obviously in terms of the chef and stuff but in terms of coaches, unfortunately they didn’t send a coach [for athletics]. Priscilla is here so we try our best to work and help each other out but unfortunately, we don’t have any coach so I’ve been working around with some of the training partners and stuff like that,” he said.

“It’s the same competition from ever since, it doesn’t change so it’s the same set of people you see on the professional circuit, the same set of people you see at previous games and that we’ve been running against. They are high-level people, great competitors so it’s going to be great, it’s going to be a tough one. It’s the 100 meters obviously which is one of the toughest events in track & field,” he added. 

Frederick, who won silver at the 2015 games held in Canada, said she was told a coach would have been available but was disappointed after realizing no coach had made the trip.

“I had asked if my coach could come and they said they were having a coach for us but when we got here we don’t have a coach so right now I am just not letting any distractions come my way. I go to most of my meets by myself so I just have to be an independent athlete and stay focused. I know what I am doing and I know how to high jump so that’s the most important thing. I will use the resources that the Pan Am Games has given and I will compete to the best of my ability,” the athlete said.

Frederick, whose competition commences Thursday, said she will remain focused on the task at hand.

“I’ve been training really hard and just getting focused mentally. I’ve lost weight and have had consistent training so I am feeling really good coming in. My main goal is to get a gold medal, I am tired of the silver medal I keep getting so my main goal is to get the gold,” she said. 

Reports indicate that the Antigua and Barbuda Athletics Association submitted the names of two coaches to the Antigua and Barbuda National Olympic Association from which one should have been chosen.

According to Secretary General of the Olympic Association, Cliff Williams, the Pan Am Games rules stipulate that only 40 percent of the team should be coaches, which meant that Antigua and Barbuda could only travel with three coaches to the games.

Swimming, boxing and sailing were the three disciplines chosen by the Olympic Association to travel with coaches. Tennis’ Jody Maginley was also without a coach.

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