By Neto Baptiste
There are not enough young athletes benefiting from or competing in field events here in Antigua and Barbuda.
This is the view of US-based high-jumper Priscilla Frederick Loomis, who said that her aim, following retirement, is to place emphasis on the training and development of young athletes desirous of competing in field events, to include the high jump, in an effort to enroll them into schools overseas.
“I think the best thing to do, especially for me, is to work my way up into a position where change can happen, so like being on the board of Pan Am sports and attending as many meetings as possible to figure out what’s going on. Being able to come back to the island more and now that we have the track, host as many developmental meets, camps and clinics and getting these kids and athletes in ties with colleges that are going to help them,” she said.
Loomis, who has said the Tokyo Olympics could be her last, should she qualify, believes that this aspect of the sport has been ignored in the twin-island state for too long.
“You want the next generation to do better; you want them to excel and so for me it’s just about figuring out what’s going wrong. So rather than complaining about this isn’t working, offering solutions so I want to see more long jumpers, I want to see more hurdlers. I would love to see more shot-putters, triple-jumpers and javelin. We should be able to put together, not just sprinters but also distance runners and field events. I feel like this is an area we can definitely improve,” the athlete said.
Loomis is yet to meet the qualifying standard of 1.96 meters (6.4 feet) required for the 2020 Games that was postponed to 2021 because of the Covid-19 pandemic. She is slated to compete in the Bahamas later this month in a last ditch qualifying effort.