By Neto Baptiste
High Jumper Priscilla Frederick Loomis will compete in this weekend’s National Track & Field Championships after deciding to pay her own way from the US to Antigua.
Speaking to Observer media on Thursday, Loomis said she is scheduled to arrive in Antigua and Friday evening for the two-day event slated for June 19 and 20 at the YASCO Sports Complex.
“It was never a no for me and it has nothing to do with me so I just hadn’t heard anything about flight information, hotel accommodation and so I was trying to reach the NOC about any of the itinerary and I hadn’t heard back. I was speaking to one of the athletes’ representative and he said they would have a meeting because there isn’t enough competition for you and that I am the only elite high jumper but that’s always been the case so that wasn’t nothing new to me,” she said.
It had earlier been reported that Loomis and a number of other high profile national athletes would miss the championships as they opt for a qualifying meet in the Bahamas at the end of the month.
Since then, further reports have said that sprinters Cejhae Greene and Joella Lloyd will also be competing.
Loomis, who is still trying to hit the required height 1.96 meters (6.4 feet) that would qualify her for the Tokyo Olympics, said competing at the nationals holds much significance in attaining that goal.
“It’s about a points system, and right now I am seeded at just about 35th and you have to be top 32 to be in the world’s descending order list and obviously I have not dropped the Olympic standard but I’ve gone through a lot with my health and Covid, but I am happy to be where am at. So I knew I needed to do everything possible to make these nationals because it is important for the national athletes to come home and compete and it is important to get the points necessary that you receive at your nationals, so I cleared out my bank account and I booked a ticket,” she said.
The athlete, who is still slated to compete in the Bahamas following this weekend’s nationals, said a number of individuals were instrumental in making her trip to Antigua possible.
“This just happening yesterday [Wednesday], I had to make a really quick decision and so I am staying with a family friend [and] I am very grateful they opened up their home and we’re both vaccinated and so we were cleared. I didn’t even look into being reimbursed and I am on Olympic Solidarity but because of Covid, all of the meets in the US came out of my pocket,” Loomis said.
Competition is slated to start at 2 pm on both days but there has been no confirmation as to whether spectators will be allowed to attend.