Put Shakera on Olympics team
By DAVID A. COMISSIONG | Thu, July 19, 2012 - 12:01 AM()
Barbados’ female 100-metre national champion and record holder Shakera Reece deserves to be on our national Olympics team!
Shakera has done virtually everything that could be expected of her:
(1) She is the only Barbadian female to ever win a 100-metre gold medal in the Senior Division of the Carifta Games;
(2) She brought glory to Barbados by winning a 100-metre bronze medal at the October 2011 Pan-American Games;
(3) She broke the Barbados national record in the 100 metres and attained an Olympics “A” qualifying time when she ran 11.26 seconds in October 2011; and
(4) She won both the 100-metre and the 200-metre events at our 2012 National Championships.
Under the International Amateur Athletics Federation (IAAF) rules, Shakera has qualified for the London Olympics, and the Barbados Olympics Association has indicated that it is willing to fund Shakera’s participation.
However, in spite of all of these factors, Shakera is not going to the Olympics. The Amateur Athletic Association (AAA) has stated that because Shakera did not run an Olympics qualifying time in the year 2012, it will not be permitting her to go to the Games. Discretion
I would like to appeal to Mrs Esther Maynard and her Amateur Athletic Association to reconsider their position. No rule should be set in stone, since there will always be special circumstances that require the exercise of discretion. And this is one such case.
The Pan-American Games are considered the international championship that is ranked just below the Olympics and the World Championships. By going to the Pan-American Games and winning a bronze medal some eight months ago, Shakera has earned the right to step up to the next level – the Olympics – and to attempt to bring additional glory to her country.
The AAA should want to encourage national athletes to win medals at highly ranked international championships in order to prove their readiness for the Olympics. Shakera has done this. By refusing to give her a place on our Olympics team, the AAA is sending a very negative message to all of our young athletes.
But it is not too late to correct the mistake that has been made.
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