By Neto Baptiste
The National Olympic Committee (NOC) has pledged to financially support its members as the country moves towards a reopening of competition following a nine-month shutdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.
This was revealed by president of the organisation, EP Chet Greene whom, in his last communique to the NOC members, informed them of the body’s willingness to corporate with associations who have designed or who have had designed for them by their parent bodies, protocols for reopening and reestablishing sports in Antigua.
“I’ve written to them privately and I am now announcing it publicly that we stand ready, of course with our limitations to assist that kind of associations that have those sort of requirements. We want to see sports back yes, but we want to see sports back with the level of coverage required to keep sports and sports practices in Antigua safe,” he said.
The Cabinet, in late October, announced they had approved the return of competitive cricket and invited other associations to submit their protocols as they moved towards a total reopening of competition.
Greene said the NOC has also maintained its financial support programmes for its elite athletes despite the long layoff from competition due to the pandemic.
“We have maintained our scholarships for those athletes who are on scholarships and especially those overseas, we continue to make sure their disbursements are paid on time because you know they have to live and perform certain functions including paying of their rents and certain fees. There are two programmes as you know, one is the international programme and one is a locally designed and managed programme so those athletes who are impacted by those programmes have continued over the time of the pandemic, to receive their benefits and from the secretariat, communications with the athletes and make sure they are in good condition and in good shape,” he said.
“A number of national associations or federations would have had their international dues or regional dues covered by the NOC. One former athlete who has done this country proud internationally, continues to be the beneficiary of support as he goes through a particular medical condition so those are some of the ways we have kept our membership in tune and in touch,” Greene added.
Cricket is set for a competitive return in December with its 10 Splash Cricket Tournament slated for the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Ground.