By Neto Baptiste
Antigua and Barbuda will not be represented at swimming at this year’s Junior Pan American Games slated for November 25 to December 5 in Colombia.
This after the Antigua and Barbuda Swimming Federation (ABSF) was forced to turn down two qualifying spots and two wildcard or solidarity slots for this year’s games due to a number of factors ranging from the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic to travel logistics.
Secretary General for the Antigua and Barbuda National Olympic Committee (ABNOC), Cliff Williams, explained the rationale behind the swimming federation’s decision.
“I think they had Noah Mascoll-Gomes and Stefano Mitchell qualified as B standard and spots for two females which were probably Samantha Roberts and Olivia Fuller. However, the situation as I understand, because I was copied by the swimming federation through their regional body, is that the situation of where the athletes are located because you have two athletes based in London and Colombia might be in the red zone according to whatever system London has regarding people traveling during the Covid situation, and the same with Samantha who is in Canada that is not fully opened, so I think the quarantine period or getting back in [could be a problem],” he said.
The Antigua and Barbuda Tennis Association (ABTA), through the local NOC, applied for a wildcard entry into this year’s Junior Pan American Games back in September. Young tennis star, Sibley Charles, is slated to benefit from the application.
Williams said a number of other associations are also seeking spots for the prestigious games.
“Well, we’ve had some return calls pertaining to fencing and beach volleyball, so those are almost confirmed as certain, but we don’t have it in writing as yet. However, we are expecting that by the first week in October, which is anytime now, we would have confirmation of the other wildcard sports we requested or applied for. We are so far considered for cycling, tennis and beach volleyball,” he said.
Sprinter Joella Lloyd who represented Antigua and Barbuda at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics held this year in Japan, and triple jumper Taeco O’Garro, have also both qualified for the games.
A total of 312 events in 27 sports are scheduled to be contested at the games later this year.