Former athlete grateful for public, government support

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By Neto Baptiste

Former national athlete, Dale Jones, has expressed gratitude for what he terms overwhelming support from friends, the government, and members of the public as he continues to recover from a stroke he suffered in 2017.

Speaking on the Good Morning Jojo Sports Show, Jones thanked local talk show host, Joseph Apparicio, his wife and others who have supported him since 2017.

“It was a surprise to me when Jojo [Joseph Apparicio] announced the initiative because he never asked me about it but just decided to do it that way. I am very appreciative of what he has done for me. I would also like to thank the government for the donation and all of the people who have assisted in the fundraising,” he said.

“I have to thank my wife, Ann Crawford-Jones because she has been the rock behind of me. She has nurtured me and worked with me throughout the whole time of my recovery. She is a rehab therapy technician and I am happy to be married to this woman,” he added. 

Minister of Sports Daryll Matthew, on Monday, announced that government has contributed $10,000 to the former athlete while the National Olympic Committee (NOC) had also pledged $1,000 per month for the next 12 months towards the athlete.

There has also been donations from the Antigua and Barbuda Football Association (ABFA) and Eye Mobile Vision Care.

The funds, Jones said, will go a long way.

“It will help in my continued therapy and I have to travel to get further analysis on my hand and leg. It also helps with paying the bills because we have been overwhelmed with bills. My wife is the only one working and she is the one who has been struggling to pay the bills, so it really helps a lot,” the former athlete said.

Reminiscing on his competitive years, Jones said his passion came from being able to fly the country’s flag at a number of regional and international meets.

“I was very proud to be representing Antigua and Barbuda especially in 1998 when I competed against Sebastian Coe who is the current president of the [International Association of Athletics Federations]. I competed against him and Sydney Maree in the 1500 meters and they were the two top runners in the world and [Coe] was the world record holder at the time,” he said.

“When the race started, I was scared but afterwards I said, I don’t care how good they are they would have to beat be at the line and I tried to stay with them as much as possible, but they are professionals and they just blew away left me at the end of the race,” he added.

Jones won 800 metres silver at the 1990 Central American and Caribbean Games and the bronze medal at the 1993 Central American and Caribbean Games. At the 1984 Olympic Games, he competed as a member of the 4 x 400 m relay team. At the 1991 World Championships, he competed in both 800m and 1500m, setting a national 800m record of 1:48.62 minutes. He also competed at the 1993 World Championships.

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