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Ballantyne calls on SVGAA president to resign

Ballantyne calls on  SVGAA president to resign

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Long distance runner Pamenos Ballantyne is calling on president of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Athletics Association (SVGAA) Keith Joseph to resign his post.

Ballantyne made this call during a recent interview with SEARCHLIGHT, in which he said in order for there to be an improvement in athletics in St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG), Joseph needs to step down.

“Enough evidence is there that he is not doing a good job,” Ballantyne declared.

The veteran runner alleges that in the 30 years since Joseph has been president of the SVGAA (also known as Team Athletics), he has not put pressure on the Government to provide proper facilities for athletics.

“He need to resign; he been president for 30 years and we don’t even have a track in Vincy,” Ballantyne stated passionately.

According to Ballantyne, another of the problems faced in athletics is the selection of teams.

“It is not good for the sport because when come to national selection, we are all Vincentians and we need the best Vincentian teams to go abroad to represent us.”

As an example, he opined that the team selected for the OECS Championships in Grenada was not our best. “One of the real biggest problem right now, they left out three of the fastest local athletes,” he claimed.

Ballantyne added that the two athletes who won the 100 metre sprint at the national trials, Reberto and Reuberth Boyde, were left out of the team. However, the Boydes’ coach Garth DeShong told SEARCHLIGHT that the boys were excluded because of injury.

Ballantyne added that there are athletes who are overseas who run faster times than the athlete who was selected for the championships.

He claims that after winning the local 5,000 metre trials, he was not included on the national team. He, however, said there is a promising athlete who should have been placed on the team in his spot.

“I don’t care if they drop me from the team, because I could make the team as a coach, because I have an athlete on the team…,” Ballantyne stated.

He claims for the recently concluded Whitsuntide Games, Kyle Lawrence was left out of the team and it was not until he (Pamenos) called in on radio programmes to question the move that the young athlete was offered a place on the team. Lawrence went on to win two gold medals in the 100 and 200 metre races at the games.

Ballantyne noted that athletes are becoming discouraged when they are not selected for the national team. “Really and truly athletes are getting fed up.”

Another complaint of Ballantyne’s is the selection of support staff to accompany teams.

Ballantyne said Michael ‘Mercy’ Ollivierre, coach of the IT-DAT sports club, had 10 athletes on the team for the OECS Championships in Grenada, but was not selected as the team’s coach.

“I’m a young coach, and when they treating Mercy, who is a level five coach like that, what going to motivate me to move forward as track coach, because I now start coaching….”

Ballantyne is the coach at the St Martin’s Secondary School and volunteers as head coach for his club, the Chatoyer Club.

“I don’t want nothing from Team Athletics; I want to see them select our athletes; if you notice I say our Vincentian athletes, send them out there to represent we,” he stated.

Team Athletics has been on the receiving end of much criticism on social media in recent times and has been the focal point of a series of articles being published by Minister of Health, Wellness and the Environment Senator Luke Browne.

SEARCHLIGHT reached out to Joseph for a response to the claims being made by Ballantyne and Browne; however, we were told by an official of Team Athletics that he is out of state.

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