Home Sports “Not just congratulations, we’re fed up with that now”
…Poole pleads for better incentives
As the 2018 South American Games athletes returned to Guyana, the usual script was followed: a press conference and a photo opportunity. Although this has become the custom in our homeland, Guyana Boxing Association (GBA) Technical Director and Boxing Coach Terrence Poole decided that he would take a stand against the unfair treatment that athletes have been receiving over the past years.
After presenting his report on the Cochabamba, Bolivia trip, where both of the Guyanese boxers secured bronze medals, Poole made a passionate plea on his athletes’ behalf.
“We need to look at athletes’ welfare now. The athletes are willing to perform, but if they don’t have things to go after, they will not perform.”
Poole went on to use Guyanese javelin record holder Leslain Baird’s promotion as an example of what could be offered to sportspersons. “The GDF offered Senior Petty Officer Baird, since before the Commonwealth Games the Chief-of-Staff said ‘you give me 77.5 and I promote you’. He went to Australia, he didn’t make it, but that projection was still there for him. He went to SA Games and he broke the record and he got a promotion,” the GBA Technical Director noted.
After positing that a benchmark or goal will motivate athletes to do better at international engagements, the Boxing Coach proceeded to question the National Sport Policy draft, which he believes should not hinder Government and the National Sports Commission from dispensing better treatment to their sports personalities. “Why are we just waiting on a policy to draft?” Poole questioned.
“Let the athletes get tangible things; they must want to go on further. Not just congratulations, we’re fed up with that now; we passed that stage,” an evidently frustrated Poole concluded.
After Poole’s passionate discourse, Guyana Olympic Association (GOA) President KA Juman-Yassin took a stand with the Coach, explaining that his organisation would try its utmost best to reward the athletes, but the Government could offer much more.
“An athlete goes, he comes back – a photo opportunity and that’s the end. I endorse what Terrence has said and we need something much more tangible from the Government. The GOA cannot do everything,” Juman-Yassin said.
The Guyanese athletes returned home with a total of five medals from the 11-member contingent. Javelin thrower Leslain Baird broke the national record with a throw of 78.65 metres which landed him a silver medal. Boxers Colin Lewis and Keevin Allicock both walked away with bronze medals, while track and field athletes Jenea McCalmon and Winston George also copped bronze medals.