By Neto Baptiste
Female sprinter Joella Lloyd has received support from legendary West Indies batsman and National Hero, Sir Vivian Richards.
The support comes on the heels of news that the University of Tennessee sophomore will compete at the Tokyo Olympics set for July 28 to August 8, after being awarded a universality (wildcard) slot by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) earlier this week.
Sir Viv also noted that some people were highly critical of Lloyd’s achievement, and labelled some of the comments unfair and demotivating.
“What I think people must understand — and they should be feeling quite happy for her because — for her to be given a wildcard [universality] position means that she has to be very impressive and she has got to be up there with the very best sprinters in the world … that’s how you get a chance for you to get in as a wild card so people must remember that as well,” he said.
Lloyd was confirmed as the country’s fourth entrant into the games, joining senior sprinter Cejhae Greene, boxer Alston Ryan and sailor Jelese Gordon who had previously booked their sports at the anticipated event.
Sir Viv said he believes that she has what it takes to get the job done and that she only needs to believe in herself.
“There are so many great sprinters out there in the world who have not made it or have even gotten themselves into positions to be considered for a wildcard, so I’ll ask her to keep her chin up. I am pretty impressed with her response in terms of what she wants to get done and if she keeps along that particular path it can be accomplished. Regardless of her getting a wildcard she can be up there in the quarterfinals, semifinals and even get to the finals and listening to her, it sounds like that is the motivation,” he said.
Lloyd came close to the 11.15 Olympic qualifying standard in May when she set a new national record by clocking 11.19 seconds while representing University of Tennessee at the Tennessee Challenge.
The Antigua and Barbuda team to the Tokyo Olympics will also include swimmers Samantha Roberts and Stefan Mitchell who have both been confirmed by the IOC for universality slots.