By Neto Baptiste
Director of Sports and former national sprinter, Heather Samuel-Daley, said that when she was appointed acting Director of Sports back in 2013, she knew the task would have been difficult and that she had big shoes to fill as a female entering a top management role that had been male dominated for many years.
Speaking on the Good Morning Jojo Sports Show recently, Samuel-Daley, who was confirmed in the role in 2014, said she had taken over the position from former national footballer and politician, Mervyn Richards.
Samuel-Daley said that at first, it was a bit intimidating but quickly understood that key to her success would have been getting others to buy into her philosophy and what she wanted for the department.
“I knew it was going to be different because all of the other directors of sports were male and so I knew I had to bring different stuff to the table. So I started to look at ways I could bring people on board with me and surely but slowly, things are turning around and I am getting people to understand my way of doing things. It might not have always been accepted but it is slowly creeping into the atmosphere in terms of the coaches,” she said.
Samuel-Daley, who is one of the country’s most decorated former athletes, said that despite the demands of the job, she continues to give back on the track through coaching.
“You would know that there are not many women coaches in Antigua and in athletics, but it is something that I absolutely love. I started competing at 15 and the coaches that I had were very good to me and so I felt it was a way for me giving back after I officially retired in 2004. I thought of just giving back my services to young people in Antigua and Barbuda,” she said.
Samuel-Daley has won a total of 210 medals which include regional and collegiate competitions. She is also a three-time Sportswoman of the Year.