Sport Jonathan Ramnanansingh 5 hours agoPortious Warren will compete in the final of the women’s shot put at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo on August 1. (AP PHOTO) –
Sports Minister Shamfa Cudjoe said Tuesday that the Elite Athlete Support Program (EAAP) will remain in place to support national athletes, but some Olympians have not applied for it.
TT ended the Tokyo Games for the first time since the 1992 Barcelona Games without a medal.
In a phone interview with Newsday, Cudjoe said she had heard cries from some athletes for funding.
However, Cudjoe said the program is fully functional and has played an essential role in helping several TT Olympians.
She couldn’t reveal an exact number of EAAP payouts for 2021 but promised to provide the number.
According to the ministry’s website, the EAAP is aimed at “athletes who are world-class in individual sports.
“The sports included in Olympic events and programs, and athletes who have won medals in the Olympic Games, World Championships, Commonwealth Games, Pan American Games, and Central America and the Caribbean Games.”
The minister said prior to the Tokyo Games, several top athletes received their respective payouts on time because they applied on time.
Athletes or National Sports Organizations (NSOs) were required to submit their EAAP documents two months prior to their respective Olympic event to ensure that they were properly reviewed and processed by the Treasury Department.
Cudjoe said, “Athletes who applied for funding in a timely manner received funding. I think we had two or three athletes who applied late. Some of them were waiting for the (Olympic) qualification to apply first, while others applied before.
“If you are not a top athlete and apply for a grant, you will receive a grant. We don’t deny people funding.
“EAAP is not just for the Olympics, we need to remember before the Games that there have been qualifying events over the years and money has been paid out there too.”
The minister said that she could only talk about the efficiency of the program when she took office on April 9, 2018.
Two months earlier, three-time Olympic gold medalist Richard Thompson, recovering from an injury, expressed displeasure under former Sports Secretary Darryl Smith that he had no access to elite finance.
Cudjoe said there have been a few cases where athletes have complained about lack of funding but haven’t applied for elite support.
She was referring to Portious Warren, the TT Olympic shot put finalist, who posted on Instagram that she had to “come out of your pocket for all of my meetings”. The Olympic debutant, who finished eleventh, called for “the support I need to make sure that I can devote all of my time to training and get my body up to an optimal level”.
Cudjoe said, “There are some people who have never applied. Portious, for example, hits up on social media saying she wasn’t funded, but she never applied. As soon as you have applied and meet the criteria of a top athlete, you will receive funding. “
The minister also said that one of TT’s 4×100 meter sprinters who applied for elite funding but did not meet the criteria was directed to apply for regular grant funding and was successful.
In April, under the EAAP, the Department of Sports paid $ 450,000 to three athletes – Jereem Richards (200m, 400m), Dylan Carter (swimming) and Nigel Paul (boxing). This was just one of Cudjoe’s payouts during her tenure as minister.
“Since the start of the fiscal year, I’ve directed the sports department to reach out to these athletes and make sure we’re doing what we’re supposed to be doing about funding.
“Those who applied, for example Dylan Carter, Andwuelle Wright and so on, received their funding.”
In March, about a month before the EAAP submission deadline, Cudjoe said her ministry recognized that some athletes had still not applied. She said the ministry then posted information about the application on its social media platforms.
She said the ministry is also running athletes’ welfare and development workshops, which educate athletes about access to finance and other information to help them develop their careers. Another section of this workshop will take place later this month.
The minister also urged community groups to apply for funding for their programs and athletes. She said there was a lack of requests from community groups across the country.
“Long-term athlete development programs should be part of the work and programming of all national umbrella organizations.
“We as the government and ministry are always open to support, responding to applications and providing the necessary funds,” she said.