No Submissions, No Funding – Sports Minister Tells Associations Who Snub National Awards

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Minister of Sports, Daryll Matthew (centre), poses with a number of the country’s professional bodybuilders following Saturday night’s awards. Matthew had earlier presented the Antigua and Barbuda Professional Bodybuilders Committee (ABPBC) with a special award. (Photo by Johnny JnoBaptiste)
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By Neto Baptiste

Associations that fail to make the requisite nominations for the annual National Sports Awards will no longer be prioritised for government funding.

This was revealed by the Minister of Sports, Daryll Matthew, during his presentation at this year’s event held on Saturday night at the St John’s Pentecostal Church House of Restoration on Lauchland Benjamin Drive.

“I am aware there are some associations who still do not nominate athletes because they do not believe they would win sportsman or sportswoman of the year, but that is not their call to make; that is [for] the adjudicators of the sportsman and sportswoman of the year. The athletes themselves ought to be recognised as being the best in their discipline for that year and so we have taken the position that associations that do not live up to that obligation and … to that responsibility, simply will not be prioritised for national funding when they so request. Conversely, those associations who go above and beyond to represent their athletes, to nominate their athletes and to support their athletes will also receive the support of the government and the ministry of sports,” he said.

In May, Matthew announced that his ministry would forge ahead with the awards, despite only receiving nominations from 12 associations ahead of the April 12 deadline for submissions.

Athletics, bodybuilding, cricket, cycling, swimming, volleyball, netball, basketball, triathlon, sailing, domino, and draughts had all made submissions prior to the deadline while football, fencing, tennis, golf, and drag racing were noticeably absent from the list.

Matthew also commended the organising and planning committee for putting together what he called a “Grammy Awards” type event.

“Those persons who follow National Sports Awards over the years would recognise that we have done it a little different this year where, rather than it being a sit-down dinner event, we decided to have a seated event in a space where persons could invite friends, family and other well-wishers of the discipline and to really let it be a Grammy Awards-type production. It was excellently produced and it will continue to grow, so I am quite happy with it. I loved the flow of the event and I do believe that all those who were here [Saturday] evening would share those sentiments,” he said.

West Indies fast bowler, Alzarri Joseph and IFBB Elite Pro Bikini Fitness bodybuilder, Ambassador Kimberly Percival, were named Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year for 2022, while the awards, the first since the Covid-19 virus reached the shores of Antigua and Barbuda in 2020, also saw the crowning of swimmers Ethan Stubbs-Green and Ellie Shaw as the Junior Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year.

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