Cornelius distances himself from Noble snub

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President of the Antigua & Barbuda Athletics Association (ABAA) Everton “Mano” Cornelius said he will not be blamed for an obvious blunder that led to Commonwealth Youth Games gold medallist, Sheldon Noble, not being greeted by any dignitaries on his return to Antigua on Monday evening.
Cornelius, who was one of the country’s coaches to the recently games held in the Bahamas, said he was there in the capacity of coach and that other officials who were also in the Bahamas should have “done their jobs” and alerted the relevant authorities here.
“I was asked to be there as the coach for the athletes. The general secretary is there, other [officers] are there and that’s their stuff. They were the ones who should have called ahead, because they were at the meet, and asked for people to meet us because at the end of the day that’s their job,” he said.
“It’s not that they are in Antigua and I have to call them to say x or y happened. They are right on the spot so they should have determined exactly what happens with the team once they are on the ground,” he added. 
Noble, gold medallist in the long jump with a distance of 7.64 meters, was not met by any member of the NOC nor the Ministry of Sports on his return on Monday as no one knew the athlete was on his way home.
“I am not holding anybody responsible for anything because I far as I am concerned people are supposed to know what they are doing. If you are sending athletes out there to represent this country, then the President of the NOC [EP Chet Greene] should be there, a representative from the athletics association should be there and whosoever else think they need to be there, but I think representatives from the NOC, from the athletics association are people who should have made their way to the airport to meet the athlete,” Cornelius said.
A similar situation unfolded almost two years ago when the country’s team to the Rio Olympics returned from the games with no one greeting the athletes at the VC Bird International Airport.
Cornelius said the practice has become all too familiar and is one that should be remedied instantly.
“The Olympic office is the one who booked the flight so they are the once dealing with that and they should have known exactly when he was coming back. I was somewhat disappointed … it’s something I’ve been dealing with over the years so I don’t let it bother me that much,” he said.
“It’s not something I like to see happen when an athlete goes out and perform and represent this country and people are not there to meet the athletes at least to congratulate them on their performance. He is not representing himself; he is representing Antigua & Barbuda.”
Noble has said he felt pride and a sense of accomplishment upon winning gold for Antigua & Barbuda at the games.
 

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