By Neto Baptiste
Principal of the Princess Margaret School (PMS) and a known advocate for sports within the education system, Dr Colin Greene, says the culture of wanting to finically support athletes after they would have become world beaters is counterproductive and should be done in the reverse.
Speaking on the Good Morning Jojo Sports Show, Greene said athletes should be given the support from the grassroots level and at other critical stages of their career.
“One of the problems we have here is that we are looking to support athletes after they win on the big stage but after the athlete wins on a big stage then he or she doesn’t need any support, they need the support before they win. If an athlete wins on the big stage, then obviously there are going to be endorsements, there is going to be support so they wouldn’t need government support like that so we need to learn to support them before they win because that is when they need the support,” he said.
The issue of financing for athletes is one that has been long debated here in Antigua with many of the country’s elite athletes often lamenting the lack of financial support from government and even the private sector.
Greene, who runs one of the most successful school’s track and field programmes here, believes that if athletes are given the support at an earlier stage, it could provide the sort of push needed for them to excel at the professional level.
“The logistics from when they are in school to get that opportunity to go on to the next level so that added people can support them because this is the kind of support they require. Many times when the athletes appear and does well, other entities would have supported them including their families. Athletes don’t really think like that, they don’t really think about who is coming to meet them because nine out of 10 times they are just interested in the people they know coming to meet them,” he said.
National sprinter Cejhae Greene, who is the son the PMS Principal, was one of six athletes who represented Antigua and Barbuda at the ongoing 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Women’s sprinter Joella Lloyd, swimmers Samantha Roberts and Stefano Mitchell, sailor Jalese Gordon and boxer Alston Ryan also represented the twin-island state.