National sprinter speaks on funding woes

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National track and field athlete, Daniel “Bakka” Bailey has, for the first time in his career, spoken on the financial challenges he faced while representing Antigua and Barbuda at regional and international meets.
The sprinter who recently, through this media house, announced his permanent withdrawal from national selection, rebuffed claims he had received constant support from government, revealing that for many years he bankrolled his own preparation and even cost of travel to various meets.
“A lot of people think that Bailey is being funded by all sorts of people, but I’ve been supporting myself for the past 10 to 12 years living in Jamaica and I am not trying to [point fingers] at anybody or base it on anybody but I’ve been helped by government one time in my life and that was in 2016. People were saying that I was getting taxpayers’ money and things like that but I wasn’t going to respond to things like that
because I know better,” he said.
“I’ve been representing Antigua from the heart and if I have the funds or the finances to do it myself then I would do it, but I am not going to go out there and beg because when you go out there [and beg] you get a negative feedback,” he added.
Bailey has represented Antigua and Barbuda at multiple Olympic Games and IAAF World Championships.
He came to prominence in 2009 with a 100 meters win in the IAAF Golden League and a fourth-place finish at the 2009 World Championships. His personal best of 9.91 seconds is still a national record over 100 meters.
According to the sprinter, his main source of assistance came after 2014 and that was a from a non-government entity.
“The NOC came on board in 2015 and started to support me which is when I found out there was help since 2004 and nobody said anything to me. I had my contract with Adidas so I wasn’t thinking about going to the association because I have the money there to do what I have to do to represent the country and do what I have to do,” Bailey said.
“I’ve been to four Olympics and every Olympics there is funding but there is only one time when I’ve gotten an Olympic Solidarity Scholarship. I must say I have to give Chet Greene some props because he was the one who actually put through something from 2015 onwards,” he added.
Throughout his career, Bailey, who spent over a decade training alongside international sprint sensation Usain Bolt in Jamaica, has come under fire over his failure to win at the Olympic Games or the IAAF World Championships.
The athlete has however constantly qualified for the major meets and, on most occasions, reached the semis or finals of the individual sprint events.
Bailey was also part of the Antigua and Barbuda 4×1 relay team that set a new national record at the IAAF/BTC World Relays held in the Bahamas in May 2015. The team clocked a time of 39.01 seconds to finish fourth in their semi-final heat at the Tommy Robinson Track.

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