By Neto Baptiste
Former national athletes, Karen Joseph, Nolia Hodge Elvin and Sonia Williams, have relived what was possibly the most memorable moments of their competitive years, while highlighting the lack of recognition given to female athletes here in Antigua.
Speaking on the Good Morning Jojo Sports Show on Wednesday, Joseph, who was once ranked the number one netball goal-shoot in the world, pointed to her ascendancy to the West Indies in the early 90s as her greatest achievement in the sport.
“As a matter of a fact, when the West Indies team started, there weren’t any Antiguans on it at first and then Shenneth Samuel and I got on the team, and Esther [Armstrong] was on the reserves, but the joy you felt to represent your country at that high level was overwhelming,” she said.
“We knew that we had to come up against players from Jamaica, Trinidad and stuff, and they were the elite players at that time, so even though we knew we were good players, at the end of the day, because of our ability and how much we understood the game and played the game, they had no choice but to pick us,” Joseph added.
Meanwhile, Williams, who won gold in both the 100 and 200 girls’ under-17 sprints in 1995, described the feat as memorable.
“In my finals in 1996 I was eager, I was ready and so at that time, heats, semifinals and finals and in that finals, from the time the gun said bow, I was gone because mentally I was ready. After I crossed the finish line I realised that ok, I got this and it was overwhelming because a month before Carifta, I got injured, so I had to work even harder to get back to that point, so winning that gold was even more special,” she said.
Williams clocked 11:76 seconds in the 100 meters and 23:99 seconds in the 200 meters event.
Elvin, who represented Antigua and Barbuda in both football and softball cricket, remains the only athlete to have been nominated by both disciplines in the same year for the national sports awards.
“You [Joseph Apparicio] are the only person that I know of who has big me up on this. I didn’t even realise I was nominated the same year for two different accolades, and you’re the one who really reiterated that, and that’s history and I find that in Antigua, we don’t recognise our female athletes as much as we do the males,” she said.
Elvin was nominated for the sportswoman of the year award by both the football and softball cricket associations back in 2003.