By Anthony Foster in St, John, Antigua
President of the Antigua and Barbuda Athletics Association (A&BAA), Everton “Mano” Cornelius, has called on athletes to be more serious about their sport. Speaking at the opening ceremony of the Coca-Cola Inter-Schools Championships at the Yasco Sports Complex on Friday night, he encouraged athletes to find a club to help with their development.
“Its important that when you take up track and field (you know that) it is not an overnight success,” he said.
“If you want to do good in the sport, you should come out and train,” President Cornelius said.
Unlike Jamaica, in several Caribbean countries, clubs take the lead role in the development of youth athletes.
School athletics in Antigua is more for recreational purposes as seen in the performances at the Inter-Schools Championships level.
Based on Friday’s opening day, a few athletes showed great form, but seem to be behind because of a lack of training.
Kwame Galloway, who is the A&BAA Meet Director and coach of Team Force, said “there is a general disinterest in athletes wanting to join a track club after a major championship like Interschool.”
According to Galloway this is “really a concern as I see many naturally gifted athletes perform well at Interschool but there are either connected to another sport or not given the proper support.”
Galloway concluded by saying “track clubs are the window to opportunity to obtaining academic sport scholarships.”
Again, President Cornelius told the athletes of the importance of training.
“I want encourage each and everyone of you who take track and field as your main sport to go and find a club or some organization that deals in track and field and go out and train on a regular basis.”
In Antigua, Team Force 2000, Panthers Elite Internat’l, Power Speed Endurance, Wings, Supernova, Roots Athletics, Pioneers and Hurricane Power are the main clubs.
He also told them to “strive for excellence in track and field and hopefully at the end of it on Sunday, you will have a very successful team, or qualifiers moving to the Carifta Games.”
Antigua Girls School’s 13-year-old Joelle Lloyd and Kobe Glasford of Clare Hall were the standout performers on the opening day of the Inter-Schools Champs.
Lloyd recorded the only sub 1-minute 400m time after crossing the line in 59.40 in the Under-15 girls’ event while Glasford was the fastest boy on the day with 10.60 in the Under-18 100m heats.