Friday, April 12, 2024

Duty by Oba


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Obadele Thompson was well provided for whenever he competed under the umbrella of the Barbados Olympic Association (BOA).
Speaking on Starcom Network’s Sportswise programme Monday evening, BOA president Steve Stoute told moderator Kurtis Hinds the organization went out of its way to cater to the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games bronze medallist.
Thompson has been featured in the last editions of the WEEKEND NATION and SUNDAY SUN writing a personal account of the challenges, both health and financial, he faced as a professional athlete.
He said that throughout his career he never received a subvention from the Amateur Athletic Association (AAA), the  governing body for athletics here, but was given a BDS$50 000 cash reward from the BOA for the bronze medal in?Sydney and other small but important sums up to 2004, along with direct subventions from May 4 that year from the National?Sports Council (NSC).
Stoute said he had not read the second instalment in the series.
“Certainly, whatever Obadele Thompson asked the [Barbados] Olympic Association for through the Amateur Athletic Association (AAA), he was provided with,” Stoute said.
“Many times he wanted his own personal masseur; he wanted his personal coach. These things we went out of our way to facilitate – certainly, funds for training and so on – whatever it was – within our budget.”
Stoute recalled one instance when funds had been made available to Thompson and national 400 metres hurdles record holder Andrea Blackett, but the then officers of the AAA wanted to allocate the money for another purpose.
“We went further and we paid the funds to both Oba and Andrea Blackett because we felt they were elite athletes. From my perspective, I think, and Oba may have other ideas, but whatever Obadele Thompson wanted at the time competing under our umbrella, he was provided.”
Thompson won the bronze medal in the 100 metres 12 years ago, and during the London 2012 Olympic Games he expressed disappointment that a protest was not lodged by Barbadian officials after a photo finish placed him fourth in the 200 metres behind Trinidadian Ato Boldon.
This prompted a response from former AAA secretary Joyann Clarke that after reviewing the evidence, both she and manager Noel Lynch, who was also president of the AAA, were convinced that Thompson was indeed fourth.
“If Oba really believed that he was third, he would have contacted us within the half-hour given for the protest. The Barbados Olympic Association (BOA) would have gladly paid the fee if there was a need to protest. The photo finish that is available for all to see shows Oba fourth,” Clarke wrote in a SUNDAY SUN submission on August 19.
This in turn prompted Thompson’s response.
Meanwhile, Stoute said the BOA was awaiting word from the three-time Olympian about a possible role as a motivator to current athletes.
“Oba was in our office a few weeks, I think, before the Olympic Games and both [secretary general] Erskine [Simmons] and I asked if he would be prepared to give some talks to young people in the island and to play a role in motivating [and] promoting.
“He did say he would think about it. He did mention that he was quite busy in the United States, but he also seemed rather receptive and cooperative, so we are actually waiting to hear from him on that,” Stoute said. (SAT)


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