By Neto Baptiste
Former national track athlete, Fred Sowerby, has expressed disappointment over the fact that he has never been asked by those in charge of the sport here, to assist with the coaching of the country’s national athletes.
The former 400 metres specialist, who now resides in the USA, said that although he has contributed from an administrative standpoint, he has never been given the opportunity to work with the young and aspiring athletes.
“I can’t sit around and not be involved with track & field, so as long as I am healthy and can move around I am going to be involved. I am kind of disappointed that Antigua never asked me to help them because I have done everything else but directly help Antigua to develop their athletes. Indirectly, I did, because of the scholarships that I helped the guys to get, but in terms of asking me to coach, they have never asked me to deal with the teams,” he said.
Sowerby competed at the 1976 Olympic Games in Canada but finished seventh in the quarterfinal of the 400 meters.
Meanwhile, another former athlete, Steve Browne, called on the authorities to ensure that the country’s lone facility, the YASCO Sports Complex, is properly managed and maintained on completion of ongoing rehabilitation work.
“We continue to fool around and I continue to hear murmurings about fooling around. When this track is up and ready to go, we have to take very good care of it, we have to manage the facility well because it can’t be a free for all where people are out there with inappropriate equipment on the track. We need to continue to utilise, in my opinion, some of the grass areas at the schools that have grass areas,” he said.
The former athlete, who suffered a career ending injury after some five years of competition, believes also that there are still biases in the sport.
“Some of the bad attitudes remain in that some of the athletes don’t get opportunities because of their backgrounds, and I think that is as nicely as I can put it. We don’t have as many places to train and as Fred said, we didn’t have a proper track back then but there were probably about half dozen make-do or makeshift grass around like at the St Joseph’s Academy, the Antigua Grammar School and St John’s Boys School and people trained on grass,” Browne noted. The laying of a Mondo certified surface is scheduled to recommence at the YASCO Sports Complex in June.