By Neto Baptiste
National senior sprinter and national record holder in the 100 meters at 9.91 seconds, Daniel Bailey, has harshly criticized the National Olympic Committee (NOC) for what he calls a “lack of interest” in the country’s athletes and the hassles involved in securing funding from the organisation.
Speaking recently on the Good Morning Jojo Sports Show, Bailey revealed that his recent request for funding had been turned down by the body, even after its president and politician, EP Chet Greene, had publicly pledged to support the sprinter following his announced intentions earlier this year to return to competition.
“They turned down my stuff and I left it alone, but I knew that was going to happen and I just think that the whole NOC is a sham because they don’t care about the athletes. It is the first time I have sent the NOC an email about funding and the murmuring started as to why Bakka wants this and why Bakka wants that but at the end of the day, the money does not belong to anyone of them and without the athletes they can’t get any funding,” he said.
Greene, in April this year, pledged tangible support for the athlete after learning of his bid to qualify for the 2020 Olympics which are now scheduled for 2021 in Japan.
But Bailey, who has been to four Olympic Games, said that other than being on an Olympic scholarship when he had started training in Jamaica in 2004, he has not benefited from the government throughout his career.
“For the majority I had to do it by myself along with two or three corporate sponsors. The NOC is not coming on board, the athletics association is not coming on board and the Ministry of Sports is not coming on board. At the age of 18 years, I left for Jamaica on an IOC scholarship and even since then I have never gotten help from the NOC, the government nor the Ministry of Sports. I have been to four Olympic Games, spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on myself and represented this country without a dollar from anybody,” he said.
The sprinter said also that it was only upon retiring in 2016 that he received additional funding from the NOC.
“The only time I received funding was when I was looking to retire or when I took the break which was a little after the 2016 Olympics. I did receive some funding from the NOC and the funding I received even then, I had to run around the whole of Antigua before I got that, so it’s just crazy,” the athlete said.
Bailey’s national record of 9.91 seconds was achieved at the Areva Meeting in Saint-Denis, France on 17 July, 2009. He was second to Jamaican Usain Bolt’s 9.79 while finishing ahead of Yohan Blake, also of Jamaica, who was third in 9.93 seconds.
Bailey won the bronze medal in the 60 metres at the 2010 IAAF World Indoor Championships when he clocked 6.57 seconds, becoming Antigua and Barbuda’s first ever medallist in the event.