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Ministry of Sports needs help
“I pray for my fellow athletes because as long as they continue to live a “cap in hand” existence, there is little hope for them to achieve their true global potential.”
As I read those parting words to one Shabir Mohammed an official of the Ministry of Sports, from three times Olympic medallist Richard Thompson in an email dated February 17, 2018, I was angry, I was upset, I was hurt, I felt like HULK.
Who is Shabir Mohammed in the first place and to cause our celebrated Olympic sprinter to write this well explained analysis of terrible and unforgivable treatment from a ministry official.
Notably, Thompson’s concern which he emphasized on Isports on i95.5fm during an interview on Saturday last, was, the plight of the other athletes who are suffering all over T&T with sport related issues and because of their respective circumstance, they have to endure the “harsh" treatment from those in authority.
We all know of Akeem Stewart, and nothing has been done to assist this young man, who has been getting assistance from the T&T Olympic Committee (TTOC) and a few others so that he's able to train abroad. Over the weekend he qualified for the Commonwealth Games in Australia to represent T&T in shot put and discus. This is a phenomenal achievement, so Stewart will probably get a photo shoot call soon with the Minister.
We all know that the gold medal World Championships winning men’s 4x400 team is still waiting all they were promised. However, should they receive it soon, we can expect a major photo outing with the Minister.
We all know about the treatment to athletes like Semoy Hackett, Kelly Ann Baptiste, Michele Lee Ahye, Keston Bledman, Emmanuel Callender and Jehue Gordon just to mention a few. And there's also similar cries in cycling, swimming, netball and volleyball.
Thompson’s pain, should be a warning to all athletes that they are not well considered by the Ministry of Sports. His expression that this is the worst that athletes have been treated by a Sports Minister should not be a surprise. In December four-time Olympic medallist Ato Boldon openly stated,” That he had lost trust in the words from the Minister of Sports over a promise that was not kept."
Thompson was injured during the 2012 London Olympics where he got a brozne medal in the 100 metres finals and a team silver medal in the 4x100 metres relay final, while representing T&T when he dive across the line to win a medal. But his efforts and achievements to bring glory to this twin island Republic on the biggest sporting stage in the world apparently does not matter to the Ministry of Sports and their officials.
As Richard stated, "It is time to be honest and truthful with our sporting personnel, and stop attempting to fool everyone. I am not unreasonable. I am well aware of the financial constraints of the country in current times. If the Ministry does not classify me as a priority and cannot assist because of this reason, or simply prefers to invest in another young and upcoming athlete, that’s understandable; but be honest and say that to me. Don’t continuously give me the run around as though you want to help when you have no intention of doing so”,wrote Thompson.
Someone needs to step forward and return confidence and certainty in the administration of sports in this country, at the moment, looking in, it appears that both administrators and athletes have lost faith in the office and operations of the Ministry of Sports.
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