NOC head demands answers

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The head of the National Olympic Committee (NOC), EP Chet Greene, said he will be writing to the President of the Antigua & Barbuda Athletics Association (ABAA), Everton Cornelius, in the quest for answers as to how the body plans to handle what he is calling, a “disappointing” development regarding an IAAF email seeking clarification on the transfer of allegiance request for a now former national athlete.
On Wednesday, the ABAA admitted it had received an email from the sport’s governing body, the IAAF, some months ago, seeking clarification on the request by sprinter Miguel Francis. The communiqué, however, went unanswered.
Greene said someone ought to be held accountable.
“Well, now that this has come to my attention, naturally I want to hear more and I am going to ask in writing, to president Everton Cornelius, to account for this particular development and let us hear exactly what transpired and, more importantly, how he plans to deal with this. This is the kind of tardiness we cannot afford,” he said.
“I am not saying the athlete would not have eventually have had his way in terms of his dream to go and so forth, but at least, allow the nation’s position a fair opportunity. The rules of engagement would allow us to make certain claims for developmental work. I am really perplexed, disappointed and saddened by this turn of events,” the NOC head added.
Cornelius, although confirming the discovery of the email, insisted the matter was an internal one and will be handled accordingly.
 Greene, who is also the country’s minister of sports, said the athletics association’s tardiness robbed the country of an opportunity to sit around a table with both the athlete and British Athletics.
“For the resources invested in Miguel and for what was a clear position of having a dialogue, this represents not only a surprise, but a disappointment. It was always the intention to have a conversation with the athlete and I would have shared with you the athlete’s [conversation] with me on January 15 when he, on his own volition, spoke about coming to Antigua. And so to hear that the athletics association received correspondence from the IAAF and did not respond to it, it’s most depressing,” he said.
News of Francis’ successful transfer broke in early April with British Athletics announcing that the 200m specialist was available to run for Great Britain with immediate effect.
Francis is currently a training partner of Usain Bolt and shares coach Glenn Mills. In June 2016, he clocked the world’s seventh fastest 200m time with a personal best of 19.88 seconds.
Francis was due to compete at last summer’s Olympics but had to withdraw due to a hamstring injury.
The sprinter could now compete for Britain if selected at the World Athletics Championships in London this summer.
Francis has represented Antigua & Barbuda at the 2014 Commonwealth Games and 2015 World Athletics Championships.

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