‘Frustrated’ Nation Shot Put Athlete Walks Away From National Representation Threatens To Switch Allegiance

National shot-putter, Jess St John.
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By Neto Baptiste

Frustrated and disappointed over what could only be described as a stagnant process of trying to access funding from the National Olympic Committee (NOC), national shot-put athlete Jess St John said she no longer wishes to represent Antigua and Barbuda.

Speaking on the Good Morning Jojo Sports Show, St John stated she has tried several times to resolve issues said to be hampering her eligibility for NOC funding but with no success.

Based in Hobbs, Mexico, the US-born athlete said she is currently mulling her options.

“Well, I could represent the US Virgin Islands and I could also represent the US, but I feel like I am through right now with Antigua because there has been a lot of disrespect and right now I am just through with it, I’ve reached a limit. I truly do appreciate everything they have done for me in the past but I think I have reached my limit,” she said.

St John, who finished seventh with a personal best throw of 17.32 meters at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, believes an incident at the said event when she publicly criticized officials after being given inadequate uniforms, may still be the source of the difficulties she has encountered.

“Ever since I said what I said from the Commonwealth Games [2018] there has been a lot of tension and a lot of negativity and it’s like I have been put to the back of the bus. It has been very awkward, I should say,” she said.

The athlete went on to state that her intention after completing university was to continue flying the country’s flag but a lack of funding made this difficult.

“My plan, since last year after I graduated from Kansas State University, was to get the support from my country so I could go ahead and continue representing and carrying the flag for Antigua and Barbuda at international games and elite games like the Olympics and so forth. They said I haven’t submitted any information, which I did, and it is just unfortunate that this situation has happened, but I submitted all of the information in 2019,” St. John said.

St John, in August this year, told Observer that her pleas for financial support have fallen on deaf ears. Secretary General of the NOC, Cliff Williams, however denied the allegation, stating that St John had failed to provide the relevant documentation.

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