National high jumper hints at retirement following Olympics, presses on amidst financial woes

US-based national high jumper, Priscilla Frederick Loomis, clears the bar during a major meet.
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By Neto Baptiste

US-based high jumper, Priscilla Frederick Loomis, has hinted that she could leave the competitive field following the postponed 2020 Olympic Games now slated for 2021 but said she continues to prepare amidst tough financial times.

Loomis told the Good Morning Jojo Sports Show it has been a difficult task just trying to stay focused on her preparations for next year’s Games.

“As you know, with track and field there are always ups and downs and so I have been training mentally for at least the three to four years. I’ve been working with a sports psychologist in making sure that I am in the right head-space. When it [lockdown] first happened, I was a little bit down and I knew that everything was going to be changing and especially as I was planning on retiring after the summer Olympics and working on a different chapter in my life. So you have to go back to your why and what you’re doing this for, especially representing Antigua and Barbuda and not being there, I feel there is more pressure in a sense to stay mentally focused and physically focused,” she said.

The athlete, who has won silver medals at the Pan American Games, Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games, and also the North American, Central American and Caribbean (NACAC) Championships, emphasised that a lack of adequate funding is now her major issue.

“It has been probably one of the worst times for me financially. I do count on prize monies heavily and so not competing has been brutal and then for about three months I had to stop my business. I own a cleaning and home organisation business and that stopped and so there was pretty much no income for a while so I depended solely on my husband and that was really difficult,” she said.

Loomis added that she has received some assistance for which she is most thankful.

“I had to buy equipment for myself for home because the gyms were closed and so taking out money and taking out a loan and to do that was very difficult, so I am in debt, a little bit. Things like that definitely makes it straining but I am glad that I have support and I am glad that Antigua still and Pan Am Sports, they are still helping me with Olympic Solidarity; but yeah, it definitely becomes a struggle financially,” the athlete said.

The 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games is slated for July 23 to August 8. 

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