NOA Chief: Weak Administration Hampering Athletics

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By Neto Baptiste 

Head of the Antigua and Barbuda National Olympic Association (ABNOA), EP Chet Greene, has cautioned the national athletics association to get its house in order and play a more meaningful role in the development of the country’s track & field athletes. 

Speaking from Lima, Peru where he is currently attending the Pan American Games, Greene said what was once thought a vibrant future for Antigua and Barbuda in athletics seems to be dwindling only because of poor administration. 

“The number one sport in all these multi-sports game is athletics, in all of its variations in terms of track and hammer throw and all of its component parts, and so we need in Antigua and Barbuda, a stronger national athletics association. This is not being personal, this is being patriotic, nationalistic and concerned about what is happening at home in the absence of a strong and vibrant athletics association,” he said.  

A former sports minister, Greene further strengthened his argument by highlighting that most female athletes don’t qualify for the major games, adding that the trend must change with the completion of upgrades to the country’s lone track and field facility. 

“Our female athletes cannot continue to compete at these games based on what is called universality positions, that is wildcards they called it yesteryear. We need to have more qualifying or qualified female athletes and so again, the conversation really goes back to our national associations and their level of programming, and the personnel,” he said. 

“In these games, athletics traditionally would have been our strongest representation but it is, today, our weakest. Yes, YASCO has been a problem for the past two or three years where we have been working on getting a track, but a new track is now being put in place and so there will be absolutely no excuse for the work that needs to be done; I don’t even accept the excuse,” he added.  

Currently the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Immigration and Trade, Greene added that changes must also be made at the grassroots level. 

“We need to strengthen the base of our sports. Our national associations need to come stronger, more involved, more dedicated to the training and development of athletes. The NOC continues to pump resources, be it financial or training opportunities, into sports development in Antigua and Barbuda. But I must say, I am not altogether pleased or happy with the results we’re getting,” the government minister said.

“It is not only about medaling, because medaling is just another element of the process, but just to see more athletes involved, more athletes qualified or qualifying would bring a sense of satisfaction in realization of the investment we’re making,” he added. 

A nine-member team is currently representing Antigua and Barbuda at the Pan American Games. 

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