By Neto Baptiste
Incumbent president of the Antigua and Barbuda Athletics Association (ABAA) and former national athlete, Everton Cornelius, has listed the completion of the YASCO Sports Complex, alongside the implementation of a number of talent and coaching programmes, as high on his agenda should he be re-elected when the body hosts general elections on Thursday night.
Speaking on the Good Morning Jojo sports show, Cornelius said the funding will come from a number of international agencies as he seeks to transform the country’s lone track and field facility into one that is eligible to host regional meets.
“I think it is something that is very important for the existence of track and field right now. We need to have the toilet facility in place and we need to have the seating in place. I know it’s not something that is really controlled by the athletic association but I think with constant push from our end of it that we can have that done in a timely manner. My interest going forward is to see if we can host the OECS and the following year to see if we could get a call from Carifta,” he said.
Cornelius, who represented the twin-island state in the men’s 4×100 metres relay at the 1976 Summer Olympics, revealed also that his executive has already secured funding for a number of programmes that will launch in the near future.
“There is a programme that I already applied for which is what is called a TIP programme, or Talent Identification Programme, and a prerequisite to level one and I’ve already gotten the monies for those programmes, but due to the pandemic we didn’t really get the chance to put them on, so once this election was over with — and whether it is me or someone else sitting there — the money is there, so it must be done and that is something I will make sure happens right away as soon as this election is over with if I am sitting there,” the athletics boss said.
To date, only one challenger has emerged for the association’s top position in former athlete, Cleofoster Harris, but Cornelius remains confident heading into the polls.
“It’s left to the people to decide. If what was said to me changes then I guess it’s just that people had a change of mind or a change of heart, but I am feeling quite confident that I can at least remain at the helm of the association. I think I bring volume to the association and everybody knows that, and I just hope they would like to continue along that path. There are areas we need to shore up in the association and definitely, I’d work hard to make sure that happens,” he declared.
The AGM is slated to take place at St Joseph’s Academy and will start 7pm.