By Neto Baptiste
Ace sprinter Cejhae Greene has been named as part of a five-member relay team set to compete in Florida this weekend but will miss the first of two races due to a slight strain.
According to the Antigua and Barbuda Athletics Association (ABAA), sprinters Jared Jarvis, Richard Richardson, Chevaughn Walsh and Tahir Walsh are al.so part of the team. Jarvis, the lone athlete based in Antigua is set to join the US-based athletes ahead of the meets.
President of the National Olympic Committee (NOC), EP Chet Greene, said the body will be funding the country’s participation in two meets in Florida as they seek to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics.
“Just yesterday [Tuesday] I know we dispatched the necessary resources to facilitate a 4X1 men’s relay team taking part in a qualifying event in Texas in the US. We are still holders of the Pan American record in the 4X1 but that doesn’t quite have any value for these games. I guess the games were four or eight years ago . . . , the guys are training, they are ready to go and pit their skills against others with the hopes of qualifying for the Olympics,” he said.
The team is set to compete in Orlando, Florida on Sunday before moving to Miami for the NACAC New Life Invitational one week later.
Greene congratulated those athletes who have already qualified for the games to include sailor Jalese Gordon and boxer Alston Ryan. Ryan qualified based on his fifth place ranking following the cancellation of a qualifier due to Covid 19 while Gordon received a solidarity (wild card) slot. Greene qualified back in March after clocking 10.01 seconds at the Tropical Elite Sprints Meet in Miami.
The NOC head said the body is awaiting word regarding a number of outstanding requests for solidarity spots.
“Most of the athletes are based in the US so it’s just a question of moving from one state to another, but we are still waiting for female participation in athletics [track]. We are also waiting for confirmation of our swimmers, and we don’t know if FINA, the international swimming authorities will give us one or two spots [because] as the Olympic Games becomes more competitive over the years, what was once a guaranteed two sports for countries is now one male or female. I think the best crop of swimmers in our country’s history is now who really can do justice to an invitation by FINA,” he said.
Antigua and Barbuda holds the Pan American record in the 4X1 relay event after clocking 38.14 seconds in July of 2015. The team comprised Daniel Bailey, Cejhae Greene, Chevaughn Walsh and Miguel Francis.
Antigua and Barbuda last competed in the 4X1 relay at the 2016 Olympic Games held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.