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Apr 4, 2022

Athletics Association Wants Athletes to Compete, Not Participate in Olympics

President Deon Sutherland says that one of the tasks of the association is to create an enabling environment, providing athletes with access to facilities and coaching staff to train and perform well, while the athletes must be on the track.  His mission, going forward, is for athletes to compete and not participate in the Olympics.


Deon Sutherland

Deon Sutherland, President, Belize Athletics Association

“My dream is, and I am glad the people gave me this second term, is to see us not getting a wild card into the Olympics, but actually qualifying for the Olympics. So whoever plans to represent us at the Olympics, I believe that we, as the leaders at the helm, must plan along with them to ensure that we have qualified and competitive athletes rather than this we just have to send. So that is my task for the next two years. Again, we are looking to get a few Olympic scholarships and those athletes must be prepared for some serious training and we will be behind them with some serious whip. It is their responsibility to be on the field and on the track as much as they can and put in the work. As you know we have two Cuban coaches and we have our own Belizean coaches that are out there every day, twice-a-day because some two in the morning and in the evenings. So, in terms of getting personnel to assist, it is there. The athletes just have to say I am determined, I am dedicated and I want to be consistent and I want to rise to the top. We had our strategic plan 2019-2021 and unfortunately, because of COVID, a lot of what we had hoped to implement and we were not able to do so. And I guess that kinda put some strain on the athletes because they were not seeing their performances improve. We were not able to have the number of events, we were not able to go to the events – of course a lot of them were canceled – and so the athletes felt that somehow things were not moving in their direction. And we had to let them understand that these were things beyond our control. And like I said at the A.G.M. on Saturday in my report, we were the only association in 2021 to hold a national competition; and we were the only association in 2021 to attend all our regional meets. We wanted to do more, but we were restrained. I believe going forward, as a lot of the events of 2020 and 2021 are moved to 2022 and ’23, so this year our calendar is full. Not only regional and international, but we have tried to pack the calendar even at home so that our athletes have sufficient time training and trials and competition here so that they can better see where they are moving to.”

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