By Neto Baptiste
National high-jumper Priscilla Loomis has cited poor communication between the Antigua and Barbuda Athletics Association (ABAA) and its athletes as a major issue that has compromised relationships between the sides.
In an exclusive interview with Observer media, the US-based athlete pointed to the low-key national championships hosted in July, revealing that she was never contacted about the planned meet.
“Communication would have been really great and even with the nationals. I hadn’t heard anything about nationals in regards to where the athletes were staying, the date of the competition and all that sort of stuff and it wasn’t well communicated, so that was kind of up in the air. For me, it was a learning lesson in terms of this whole experience,” she said.
The 32-year-old athlete, who recently said she will no longer be competing at the international level, further highlighted that she is yet to be reimbursed or even contacted by the association after having to pay her own way to travel to Antigua in hopes of competing at the nationals which were eventually postponed.
“I was really upset because those were the kind of things that should have been planned years in advance, and especially with the Olympic Games being postponed and with the new track, I thought it would have been a great opportunity to bring everyone together. The no communication and me reaching out to different people and them not knowing because they hadn’t heard anything either, that was really upsetting. The one contact that I had eventually said yes, it’s just a money thing so I cleared out my bank account and paid for the ticket,” the athlete said.
Loomis had failed in her bid to qualify for the ongoing 2020 Tokyo Olympics but said she had hoped for a universality or wildcard entry.
Questioned as to whether she would have received the support required to boost her chances of qualifying for the games, Loomis said having caught Covid in January was a major setback but believes that with more assistance she may have been able to make the grade.
“Once I got Covid there was nothing anyone could do, it was out of our hands but before that, absolutely. I was training and lifting weights in my driveway because our gyms were closed and then seeing other athletes being able to get all of their equipment shipped to their house so there is a difference in that structure when you see other athletes that you have to compete against moving forward but someone like myself was, in a sense taking 10 steps back [with Covid] but having to train at the same level,” she said.
Loomis has told Observer media that she will no longer compete at the international level and is hoping to take up acting as a career or work in media.