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Call for probe into Collins controversy

CAROL MARTINDALE, [email protected]

Call for probe into Collins controversy

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BASSETERRE, St Kitts  – An Opposition Member of Parliament has called for a commission of enquiry to investigate the axing of four-time Olympian Kim Collins and young sprinter Tameka Williams from the St Kitts delegation at the London Olympics.
Richards said while there had been statements from Collins and the St Kitts National Olympic Committee, there were several questions left to be answered.
Collins was controversially stripped of his accreditation ahead of the 100 metres preliminaries last weekend for refusing to remain with the delegation in the athletes’ village while Williams was sent home for allegedly using a banned stimulant, prior to the start of the Games.
“Kim Collins is a national hero … a World and Commonwealth champion, a four-time Olympian set to compete in a history making fifth and probably final Olympic Games where he would’ve been the first male Olympic sprinter to participate in five straight Olympics and he was denied the ability to compete and make history,” said Richards of the People’s Action Movement.
“We deserve to know exactly what happened. Was there any interference from any outside entity? Why did the Prime Minister (Denzil Douglas) not intervene and serve as a mediator of sort between Collins and the SKNOC ,who seemed to be on different pages, to ensure this national hero competes?
“Was the Prime Minister’s presence in London a factor in Kim’s inability to compete? What influence did the Prime Minister have on the decision of the SKNOC?”
St Kitts Olympic officials said they had cancelled Collins’s accreditation after the 2003 World champion left the Games village to meet with his wife and then refused to comply with a request to report to the delegation by 10 pm on Aug 3rd, the night before the start of the 100m preliminaries.
Dennis Knight, Vice President of the SKNOC, said Collins had “blatantly violated rules laid down by the NOC and London 2012”.
Collins said he had been spending time with his wife as he found life in the Games village “stressful”.
However, Richards argued that Collins had been dealt with harshly.
“Do you think that the United States would have banned Kobe Bryant, Lebron James or Kevin Durant from competing if they had committed a similar infraction to what Kim is accused?” he contended.
“Does anyone doubt for a second that Jamaica would’ve allowed (Usain) Bolt and (Yohan) Blake to participate in these Olympics if they had committed a similar infraction or indiscretion?
“There is more to this story and we need an independent investigation to find out exactly what happened. The people deserve to know.”
Richards also called for the Williams controversy to be “thoroughly investigated”, in order to ensure she could continue her promising career.
“I am firmly of the view that an Independent Commission is the absolute only way that we as citizens of this country can feel any sort of solace with regards to this very embarrassing and troubling issue,” Richards stressed. (CMC)