St. John’s Antigua- Antigua & Barbuda, through the National Olympic Committee (NOC), has received a sizable grant as athletes continue their preparations for next year’s Commonwealth Games slated for Glasgow, Scotland.
This is according to NOC President Senator Paul “Chet” Greene, who said that a number of disciplines stand to benefit from the grant which was approved in December last year.
“As a Commonwealth Games Association, we already are in receipt of a US $100,000 grant to prepare our athletes for these games and so that is in effect why we are starting the process so early; sensitizing the public, getting the national associations involved in the process because the drawdown of the funds to prepare the athletes begins in earnest this year, so opportunities through enterprise is the theme for this Commonwealth Day,” Greene said.
“We would have taken part for the first time in the Commonwealth Games in 1966 in Jamaica. For a couple of years we did not take part, but we have been very much involved in the Commonwealth Games since 1978 where every edition of the games we have been present.”
The Antigua Labour Party (ALP) senator, explaining that the allocations per association have already been approved, said that all funds would have to be accounted for and that the various sporting associations are well aware of all the requirements attached.
“The first instance we had to send our budgetary request off to the Commonwealth Games Federation for approval and so US $100,000 has been approved. The allocations per associations has been approved and what now obtains is for there to be reporting mechanisms following the use of the monies and so I call not only on the Olympic Committee ahead to not only make sure we have the necessary structures in place, but more importantly on the national associations because at the Olympic Committee we do not micromanage. We do not manage funds for members,” Greene said.
“What we ask our members to do is submit their plans and budgets and we disburse the funds accordingly. They, in turn, report to us, and we, as a result of that, account to our international parent bodies and that is not only with the Commonwealth funds but also with the funds we receive from the International Olympic Committee,” Greene added.
The grant approval comes as the NOC marks the celebration of Commonwealth Day with a series of activities to include an Open Day on March 11, the month’s second Monday, which is earmarked as the official celebration day.
Greene said the NOC is looking forward to visits from a number of dignitaries that include Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer on Monday.
He also listed those disciplines which stand to benefit from the Commonwealth grant.
“We hope to exhibit the memorabilia, the pins, the posters and all those things that would have been a part of Antigua’s participation in the Commonwealth Games over the years. We are also hoping to have a number of our Commonwealth athletes, past, and I dare say future, meaning the ones who will take part in next year’s games,” he said.
“For next year, the six disciplines that have been identified for national representation at the games will be athletics, boxing, cycling, shooting, triathlon, swimming, and we are also, for the first time at the Commonwealth level, have the Para-games representation and so that becomes Antigua & Barbuda’s presence in the Commonwealth Games 2014.”
In giving a breakdown of the disbursements, Greene revealed that a total of US $60,500 would be divided amongst the six disciplines with another US $30,000 going towards the purchasing of equipments.
Administrative costs, he added, would also play a role in how the funds are utilised.