Former national athlete castigates national association over athlete snub

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By Neto Baptiste

Former national sprinter Daniel “Bakka” Bailey has chastised the local athletics association, stating that it must take responsibility for the situation which led to a junior national sprinter being cut from a squad of athletes representing Antigua and Barbuda at the NACAC Championships in Mexico.

Speaking on the Good Morning Jojo Sports Show, Bailey who was recently named head of the Athletes Commission by the Antigua and Barbuda National Olympic Association, said the issue stems from the association’s inability to plan ahead and that it is something that has plagued athletics for too long now.

“The problem starts from foundation in terms of the representatives and management of the association, and you can’t point no fingers anywhere else … we’re not a big country like Trinidad or Jamaica to have six, seven and eight athletes to represent the country. We have a small pool, so these things were supposed to be put in place long time before, and if we don’t put a stop to it then this is going to happen over and over again. For the time I’ve been back here in Antigua I’ve learnt a lot and seen a lot and it is not good,” he said.

Reports are that young female sprinter Soniya Jones was informed on Monday that she would not be travelling to Mexico for the Pan Am Games as there were no funds to purchase her ticket.

Bailey, who holds the national record for the 100 meters at 9.91 seconds, said he will request a meeting with the relevant bodies in an attempt to rectify the latest issue.

“I would have to sit down with the president [Everton Cornelius] of the athletics association and the president of the NOC and we discuss what’s happening with the young athletes in terms of who is competing and was supposed to go where. The athletics president is not here and the NOC president is not here and I am not going to go and sit with Jamille [Nelson]. I prefer to sit with the president of the NOC and the president of the athletics association,” he said.

On Wednesday, Evans Jones who is the father and coach of the athlete in question, said there was no communication between himself and the athletics association leading into the NACAC Championships. The meet is slated to run from July 5 to 7.

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