By Neto Baptiste
President of the National Olympic Committee (NOC), EP Chet Greene, is hopeful that the continued success of UK-based boxer Alston Ryan could be the catalyst that results in positive changes to how the national association functions while cultivating an atmosphere for positive growth.
Speaking on the Good Morning Jojo Sports Show, Greene said the NOC has held talks with head of the boxing association Len Musssington who has promised that meaningful changers are on the way.
“We’re hoping that with this newfound achievement of Alston that it would trigger the sport of boxing to further organise. I spoke with president of boxing and I know there is some organising being done on Barbuda to the extent that our Pan American youth boxers might all be coming out of Barbuda, or at least for the most part, will be coming out of Barbuda and so I am hoping to see a level of reorganization in boxing which would allow for that kind of adventure into training overseas for more of our boxers,” he said.
Greene, acknowledging that the boxing association has not lived up to the billing from a structural standpoint over the past years, said athletes must not be allowed to get caught in the crossfire.
“You can’t have a one club association, but having one club does not mean the sport should not continue and I will tell you what has been plaguing boxing. The protagonists in boxing are many, their personal relations are also strained and I am hoping that Alston’s achievement and his trip to Tokyo and here’s hoping he wins a medal even, that it brings a new sort of energy and focus to the association where persons are prepared to work together as opposed to what we are accustomed to see which is persons working across purposes. Ultimately, it is the sport that suffers; the athletes that suffer,” he said.
The NOC boss also sought to defend the body against accusations of turning a blind eye to the obvious failings of the boxing association, stating that the NOC does not have the right to nor the power to intervene in the internal affairs of its members.
“There are those who believe that our role as the Olympic Committee allows us to interfere with but we cannot interfere with the autonomous nature of the association. We can provide guidance, we can provide encouragement and if asked to assist we can intervene to the extent of bringing calm to troubled seas but that requires some internal work first before the Olympic Committee can do anything about,” Greene said.
Ryan joined sprinter Cejhae Greene as the second athlete to qualify for the July 23 to August 8 Olympic Games in Japan last week. The Antiguan received the good news after a qualifier, originally slated for Argentina last year, was cancelled last month because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Last weekend, sailor Jelese Gordon was confirmed for an “Invitational Place” at the Tokyo Olympics.