By Neto Baptiste
The Antigua and Barbuda Tennis Association (ABTA) has confirmed that it has been offered a wildcard entry into this year’s Junior Pan Am Games slated for November 25 to December 5 in Colombia.
President of the association, Cordell Williams, said the body has earmarked junior national player, Sibley Charles, as the designated recipient but clarified that should the player be unable to make the trip for whatever reason, the slot could be allocated to another player.
“If Sibley picked up an injury and she can’t go to the games, then it doesn’t necessarily mean that we lose the wildcard. We can give the wildcard to another player, but Sibley is the leading athlete for the wildcard and it will still go to her as is, but to retract the [earlier] statement, it is not given to Sibley, it is given to the tennis association and the tennis association would give the wildcard to the better player that we have,” he said.
The player, Williams said, is slated to compete in the Dominican Republic as part of her preparations ahead of the Pam American Games.
“She is supposed to be going to two tournaments before the games so we are trying to assist through the NOC with funding to help get her to two tournaments before the games. She missed one last week and she is supposed to be going next weekend and both tournaments are in the Dominican Republic,” the tennis boss said.
“From the association’s point of view, we had written to the tournament organiser to get her into the qualifying round because without ranking points it is not easy and she would have been way down on the alternates’ list, so rather than go and not get into the tournament at least we got her a wildcard into the qualification round,” he added.
The tennis coach said also that a formal request for funding to attend the preparatory tournament has been made to the NOC.
“The father [also Sibley Charles] said he made the request so we are trying to help get the funding to offset the expense for her to go to the tournament. The NOC covers the Pan American Games but the NOC is assisting in getting funding to athletes so that they can be better prepared for the games,” Williams said.
The Antigua and Barbuda National Olympic Committee revealed this week that it was awaiting confirmation of spots for several disciplines to include fencing, swimming and tennis. The swimming federation has since pulled out of the games due to Covid and travel restrictions.
Track and field athletes, Joella Lloyd and Taeco O’Garro have also qualified for the games.