By Neto Baptiste
The Principal of the Princess Margaret School (PMS), Dr Colin Greene, has challenged the Antigua and Barbuda Athletics Association (ABAA) to focus on developing a plan targeting improved performances at all levels.
His call comes on the heels of statements from head of the association and former national athlete, Everton Cornelius, who said it will take a much heavier investment from both government and corporate Antigua if the country is to find success at marquee games like the Olympics.
“The athletics association is an independent body that must develop its own programmes and should have a clear vision as to where they want to go with athletics and then you can present that vision to the policymakers, so if the athletics association can tell me that on such a date we developed a plan and it had potential costing and we presented it to government and the government, whichever government, totally ignored us, then they have a point,” he said.
“I know that in the past, under the UPP administration, they used to give reports from Cabinet but I never heard in those Cabinet discussions any one week they say the athletics association visited and presented,” he added.
Greene, whose PMS often dominates the annual schools track & field championships, reminded the association that government must have something to fund and that without a viable programme his calls for support will not garner much support.
The well-known lover of sports who some would say, has successfully merged sports and education at the secondary school, said the association must get the policymakers to buy into their programmes.
“It’s a psychology because once a politician thinks it is his brainchild they will move hell and the devil to get it done so you can’t make them feel it’s your idea. Make them take credit for the idea and they will spend money. Convince them and I am not sure we are doing enough of that in terms of holding them accountable. There is not enough consultation in the areas where it counts so I think the athletics association and other associations in general would have to look inside themselves and ask, have we planned our paths forward and have we made a presentation and what is it they have received because sometimes government needs help in terms of ideas,” he said.
Six athletes represented Antigua and Barbuda at the recently held 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan with two of the six competing in the track and field aspect of the games.
Sprinter Cejhae Greene failed to advance from the opening round of the men’s 100 meters event while first time Olympian and female sprinter Joella Lloyd impressed in her opening preliminary heat but was eliminated in the second round.