By Neto Baptiste
More of the country’s elite athletes stand to benefit from an increase in the number of Olympic Solidarity Scholarships on offer through the Antigua and Barbuda National Olympic Committee.
This is according to President of the body here, EP Chet Greene, who said that as of 2020, an additional two athletes will be added to the list and will receive the US$1000 monthly subvention on offer via the solidarity programme.
“In my last meeting in Peru, on the margins of the Pan American Games, my Secretary General and I, Cliff Williams, had meetings with the Olympic Solidarity people and we made a scholarship for 2020; there will be an additional two scholarships, so two additional athletes will have a chance to benefit from these scholarship offerings, and the intentions are to qualify the athletes for the games,” he said.
Greene explained that there are two elements to the programme, one element is funded by the National Olympic Committee, and the other is funded internally and supports those athletes who did not quite make it to the IOC programme.
“On the Olympic Scholarship Programme we have Cejhae Greene, Priscilla Frederick, Chevaughn Walsh, Samantha Roberts and Stefano Mitchell, and they all receive bursaries of US$1000 per month for their scholarships. Then, we have the locally administered programme where we have Jody Maginley [tennis] and Alston Ryan [boxing], both of whom performed creditably in the recent Pan American Games, with Ryan being a silver medalist and Jody having a fairly good run; they too receive US$1000 per month scholarships from the NOC; and then you have Jess St. John and Tahir Walsh who have been confirmed by the board for scholarships as well from the local programme,” he said.
The NOC boss went on to express gratification with how the current funding programmes have assisted with the development of those athletes involved.
“We have been, as national associations of the Caribbean, lobbying Pan American Sports and the IOC with respect to the need for even more resources with the advent of these youth games. Let’s say 10 years ago, we had no youth games in the international arena for the Olympic movement, but we have them now, and so we have been making the case for funding for resource support, training opportunities for young athletes,” Greene said.
“I must say that we have had success in some areas, so that now that we are having success, now that these games are a reality, and now when we are called upon for the preparation of these athletes, it is not the government’s responsibility only. Yes, there is a national responsibility, but these games are held under the aegis of the national Olympic movement, and so that’s the case we’ve made to them,” he added.
By definition, the Olympic Solidarity is the body responsible for managing and administering the share of the television rights of the Olympic Games that is allocated to the National Olympic Committees. The aim of Olympic Solidarity is to organise assistance to NOC’s, in particular those that have the greatest need.
The programme prioritises athlete development, training of coaches and sports administrators, and promotes the Olympic ideals.