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Solomon: No $$$ to prepare

Thursday, February 22, 2018
Jarrin Solomon

National quarter-miler Jarrin Solomon will not be in Birmingham, England with his 4x400 metres relay team-mates when the squad will be looking to shine once again on the international stage at next week's IAAF World Indoor Championships.

On Tuesday, the National Association of Athletics Administrations of T&T (NAAATT) named a squad of 12 athletes, three women -sprinters Michelle-Lee Ahye and Kelly-Ann Baptiste and shot-putter Cleopatra Borel - and nine men, six of whom make up the relay team.

They are Lalonde Gordon, Machel Cedenio, Jereem Richards, Deon Lendore, Renny Quow and Asa Guevara. The others are sprinters Keston Bledman and Emmanuel Callender and hurdler Mikel Thomas.

Solomon's absence is part due to him being inactive thus far this season which is somewhat of a domino effect to him not being able to get the necessary funding from the Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs.

"I'm just the type of guy that wants to be 100 per cent prepared and I leave no stone unturned and if I can't properly prepare then I don't want to underperform and be ridiculed for it," said Solomon yesterday. "I've seen my performance drop over the past few seasons because I've been getting less and less support."

He was part of the T&T team that denied the United States, its seventh successive 4x400m world title in a breathtaking final, last year.

It was final event on the final night of the World Championships in London. Solomon ran the first leg and handed off to Richards, then on to Cedenio in the third leg, keeping T&T in contention before handing off to Gordon, who ran a brilliant final lap to nab gold in a record time of 2:58.12.

Quite a historic night but not much to show for it, neither did it boost the need to enhance preparation for this season as local athletes continue to be plagued by financial woes.

"Basically, no money or funding to prepare and I still have debts from last year. World champions shouldn't have debts from preparation," said Solomon.

For some time now, Solomon has been trying to acquire funding to prepare for this season or even some sort of reward for being World champions but his requests have been disregarded.

"Last year, the Ministry said that getting a World Indoor medal in 2016 doesn't count and that I was only getting grant funding. Seemingly telling me I wasn't elite. Kind of like what they told Richard," he said, referring to a recent chain of emails between national sprint star Richard Thompson and an official from the Sports Ministry.

"Those emails are what we regularly go through. It's just wrong for them to expect us to compete with the rest of the world and have to deal with all this. We should be focusing on our performances and training. Not all the nonsense they make us go through.

"My wife is pregnant and baby is due next month so I have to start thinking about my wife and baby. If I was getting support and the funds we are supposed to be getting then I wouldn't think twice about training hard and representing my country, but like I said it's not fair to my family nor myself to keep putting stress on us financially without any reward at the end of the tunnel."

Though heartbroken with the lack of support for himself and his fellow athletes, he had only positive words for them as they take on the best the world has to offer in the UK starting next Thursday.


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