media_artricles :: 2017
Daniel wants TT athletes taken care ofJoel Bailey :: Newsday :: 07.02.2017
FORMER NATIONAL track and field ace Alvin Daniel has issued a call for improved relationship between Trinidad and Tobago athletes and the Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs.
A fortnight ago, news broke that the national men's 4x100-metre relay team (Keston Bledman, Marc Burns, Emmanuel Callender and Richard Thompson) was expected to get gold medals from the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China after Nesta Carter, a member of the victorious Jamaica team, tested positive for a prohibited substance.
Both Thompson and Callender openly complained of the lack of financial support athletes receive from the Ministry of Sport, while the Sports Ministry, in return, last Friday, stressed that during the period 2012-2016, they disbursed approximately $24 million to athletes and teams in 13 disciplines with 73 percent going towards track and field..
Daniel, the former national 200 and 400m runner, stressed yesterday in a telephone interview, "it's something that we shouldn't really have, that kind of controversy between the Ministry and the athletes.
I feel that they're both big enough and should be able to sit down and probably discuss things in a better manner." Daniel pointed out, "on the other hand, one of the things the Ministry have to take into consideration is that these athletes representing Trinidad and Tobago and when they finish running, or coming close to the end of their career, they don't really have (anything) to fall back on or have a job waiting for them.
"Time and time again, athletes have been representing Trinidad and Tobago and when they finish competing, they're like a vagrant at the side of the road," he added. "It's time we put some things in place that if an athlete have been doing well (in competitions), they can do something better (after retiring).
"In terms of an athlete's future after athletics, I don't think that we have anybody in Trinidad and Tobago who is really taking care of that. This is a major concern for athletes representing their country.
Everybody will jump on the bandwagon when an athlete is doing good but nobody putting anything in place for an athlete when he's finished competing." A number of national athletes are beneficiaries of athletic scholarships in the United States, but Daniel insisted that the qualifications of the TT competitors should not matter when it comes to financial aid.
"When you look at other disciplines, this is their jobs," noted Daniel. "In an athlete's stint, (they aren't) getting millions of dollars unless they come out like Usain Bolt and break some world records or achieve a couple gold medals. To say that an athlete is earning every single week like a footballer is (not true).
"What the Government needs to do, to get away from all of this too, (is) to have a proper policy in place, and a proper programme, not just saying that we spend over $25 million as the case may be. When you check, I don't know how much that the athletes receive." Concerning funding for athletes during his era (the 1980s and early 1990s), Daniel stated, "based on the teams that you make, which ones (fell) under the Olympic (Committee), that was taken care of. We always had to struggle when you made a team under the NAAA (National Association of Athletic Administrations).
I know I had to buy clothes to represent Trinidad and Tobago on several occasions." He continued, "the times (are) changing. Maybe we need some kind of insurance in place so when an athlete (retires), they can get something. People (tend to) say 'how they're asking for this' but half of the people not going out there and representing Trinidad and Tobago to that level. Some of them don't even have the potential.
If we're giving up 20-25 years of our lives to ensure that we can put (our) country on the map, why we don't get something for it."