Daley: PM Should Intervene In Acrimonious Athletics And Olympic Relationship

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By Neto Baptiste

Former national sprinter and coach Heather Samuel-Daley believes the ongoing issues between the Antigua and Barbuda National Olympic Association (ABNOA) and the country’s athletics association are much more complicated than meets the eye and has called on the country’s Prime Minister, Gaston Browne, to bring both parties to the table in an effort the resolve the situation.

Daley, who is also the Director of Sports within the sports ministry was at the time responding to reports she had opted out of traveling to Peru for the ongoing Pan Am Games where she would have played a dual role.

“Maybe it needs to go above me and maybe the prime minister needs to step in because this needs to stop and maybe it’s hampering the development of sports and it makes Antigua and Barbuda look bad. It’s not about the athletics association now, it’s not about NOC now, it is about the nation of Antigua and Barbuda and it looks that our athletes down there [Peru] are depending on other countries that they are competing against for support. It looks really bad and don’t blame me cause I never said to anybody that I was unavailable,” she said. 

Her call comes following an article in Wednesday’s Daily OBSERVER where sprinter Cejhae Greene and high jumper Priscilla Frederick expressed shock and disappointment over the fact that Antigua and Barbuda had not appointed an athletics coach for the Pan Am Games.

Daley said the relationship between the Olympic association and the athletics association is clearly acrimonious but that when all is said and done, it is the athletes who suffer.

“I feel there is an antagonistic approach to the athletics association for whatever reason and that needs to stop. We have two athletes there – one of them would have won Pan Am medal in 2015 and the other has been doing well on the circuit this year so far, and one has represented Antigua in six meets on the European market winning three and placing second in the other three. I don’t think anybody has an argument that athletics does not deserve an official there. Whatever it is between the NOC and athletics needs to stop,” the former athlete said. 

Earlier reports had suggested that Daley turned down an offer to coach in Peru, reports she has since denied, adding she had already received a pass and other information in anticipation of her traveling to Peru upon her return from El Salvador where she coached the NACAC age group athletes.

“I was asked to go to Panama to assist in two areas and one was chaperoning for the swimming and then athletics. I did indicate to them that I was already selected by the athletics association to go to CAC Games [NACAC age group] and it would be in El Salvador,” she said.

“The discussion was that possibly from El Salvador or from Panama I would go to Peru. Before I left here on Wednesday the 24th, I did call the Olympic Association to ask if the plan was still for me to leave from El Salvador or Panama and they said no, I am not needed anymore,” she added.

After clocking 10:31 seconds to advance to the finals of the 100 meters event on Tuesday, Greene earned the bronze medal in the finals yesterday.

Frederick is set to commence her high jump efforts today.

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