By Carlena Knight
With just four days to go till the 2021 Tokyo Summer Olympics gets underway, many athletes from around the world in the various sporting disciplines are making their way to Japan.
The same can be said for our six athletes who will fly the flag of Antigua and Barbuda in boxing, track and field, swimming and laser sailing.
Following the opening ceremony on Friday July 23, the country will throw its support behind our first competitor, sailor Jelese Gordon who will take to the waters on July 25th at 11:00 pm for the women’s laser radial event.
Gordon, 19, who was training in Malta, was awarded a universality spot at the prestigious games. She was previously confirmed as a wild card entry for the games originally slated for 2020, but was forced to wait another year for confirmation because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
On the 27th, former sportsman of the year Stefano Mitchell will compete in the men’s 100m freestyle at 6:00 am while three days later, on the 30th, fellow swimmer, Samantha Roberts, will compete in the women’s 50m freestyle at 6:00 am.
Mitchell’s current record for the 100 metre stands at 50.98, a time he achieved at the Colombian Nationals in June 2021, while Roberts attained her 50-metre standard of 27.27 at the 2019 World Championships in Korea.
That day will also see female sprinter, Joella Lloyd, take to the track in the women’s 100m prelims at 8:00 pm and boxer, Alston Ryan, compete in the lightweight division at 10:00 pm.
Ryan, who won bronze at the Pan American Games in 2019, qualified for the Olympics on account of his fifth-place ranking within the Americas.
A day later, all eyes will turn to Cejhae Greene as he competes in the men’s 100m prelims at 6:45 am.
Joel Rayne is the Chef de Mission, with Jamille Nelson and Everton Cornelius as the track and field coaches. Renowned sailor, Carl James, is also part of the delegation with Wayne Mitchell as swimming coach. Rolston Ryan will be on hand as boxing coach with Greene’s personal coach, Henry Rolle, also part of the team.
National Olympic Committee’s (NOC) officials, President EP Chet Greene and Secretary General Cliff Williams will also travel to Japan.
Following the new rules of the Games according the Game’s Covid-19 Playbook, the delegation should enter Tokyo 5 days before their events and depart 2 days after their competition ends. The athletics delegation is expected to leave Antigua on July 25th with the exception of Flag Bearer, Cejhae Greene, who is permitted to be with the early delegation in time for the opening ceremony.
The other members of the team left the country yesterday.