By Neto Baptiste
National track athlete, Daniel Bailey, could still qualify for government funding despite a recent public squabble over national support for athletes.
This is according to Minister of Sports, Daryll Matthew, who said that once the proper procedures are followed, the athlete could still benefit from government funding.
“I don’t know that there would be any objection. Once again, that decision is supported by the position of the national Olympic Committee and the NOC’s position would be, do we believe this athlete is in a position to qualify for the games as an elite athlete or is the support this athlete is seeking for the events they want to attend? Are these events that can have them qualify for the game? So, it’s a discussion that takes place and all athletes, once the proper protocols are followed, will be considered,” he said.
The sprinter had publicly criticized both the government and the NOC for what he said was inadequate funding during his athletic career when he represented Antigua and Barbuda at four consecutive Olympic Games starting in 2004.
Matthew, who was speaking on the Good Morning Jojo Sports Show at the time, explained that even the decision to support national athletes is taken in consultation with both the NOC and the respective national associations.
“We do not do it in the absence of communication with the National Olympic Committee (NOC) as well. So if we take a decision as a government as in the case of Cejhae Greene, for example, who is being supported by the government now, we informed the NOC that we have an athlete here that really falls under your purview but given that he is an elite athlete, given that he is a sports ambassador for Antigua and Barbuda even though not officially designated so by Cabinet decree, we think that we can offer this athlete some support and what are your thoughts on it,” he said.
“The NOC would give its blessings saying this is an athlete that we think has the potential to reach to the Olympics and the Commonwealth Games and so on and so we support this initiative to support the athlete,” he added.
Bailey holds the national record of 9.91 seconds in the 100 meters. He won bronze in the 60 metres at the 2010 IAAF World Indoor Championships when he clocked 6.57 seconds, becoming Antigua’s first ever medallist in the event.
The sprinter represented Antigua and Barbuda at the 2004 Summer Olympics, the 2006 Commonwealth Games, the 2008 Summer Olympics, the 2012 Summer Olympics and the 2014 Commonwealth Games.