By Neto Baptiste
President of the Antigua and Barbuda Athletics Association (ABAA) and former national athlete, Everton Cornelius, believes the organisation has moved past its perceived communication issues and is hoping that member clubs will fall in line.
A former sprinter, Cornelius said the association has had many instances where members representing clubs would claim that the association had not informed them of events, or that pertinent information had not been passed on to the membership, when in fact, the communique had been sent to the relevant clubs.
“Too many times they come to meetings and people are saying to you after they gave you an email address and you send all the information to the various email addresses, but you hearing I didn’t get this or I didn’t check this, but I am saying it doesn’t work that way. I can’t tell World Athletics that I didn’t get this or that, I would have to go back to so and so date. I am saying the same thing to our clubs that once you give us your email address, and once you set the club up in the manner stipulated by the Constitution, then all communication will come accordingly. I just need them to be a little more vigilant when it comes to checking their information,” he said.
The association itself has had a number of communication issues, the most memorable coming in 2017 when news broke that a transfer of allegiance request for then Antiguan sprinter, Miguel Francis, was granted by the IAAF (now World Athletics) without the approval or input of the local association.
Investigations later revealed however, that an email detailing the athletes request had been sent to the local association’s email months prior to the approval of the transfer, but had gone unopened by the association’s secretariat.
There has also been recent accusations of poor communication from the association by national athletes to include high jumper Priscilla Loomis and shot put athlete Jess St. John.
Cornelius, who had previously denied the claims, reiterated that the association has always done its best to get information out to the athletes.
“That seems to be the fall-back of our athletes when things are not going their way, that you are not communicating, but I think I put that one to rest when I explained to you that I don’t understand how we are not communicating with this young lady when she was at the Last Chance Meet in the Bahamas and it’s all down to communication, but I know we are communicating with them, so that part of it is taken care of,” he said. The athletics association is due to hold its electoral general meeting later this year.