Every time an athlete represents our country at the highest level in the Olympics, they deserve our respect and support. It’s not an easy feat to qualify for the Olympics. So, Assemblyman Farley Augustine was completely out of timing when he described this country’s team “worse Olympic team in years,” in a Facebook post last Saturday.
The six Tobago athletes on Team TTO are Kelly-Ann Baptiste (Zenith), Dwight St. Hillaire (Kaizen Panthers), Andwuelle Wright (Kaizen Panthers), Ayla Stanisclaus (RSS Phoenix), Semoy Hackett (Kaizen Panthers) and Akanni Hislop (Kaizen Panthers).
The Secretary of Sport and Youth Affairs, Assemblyman Tracy Davidson- Celestine, notes the derogatory comment of Augustine: “Although the athletes have not yet won any medals for our Island and our country, to produce athletes who qualify for the Olympics is a great accomplishment. Very few of us will ever know what that feels like and means to any sportsman or woman.”
“Medals or not we must stand behind them and be proud of the efforts and that we are represented,” she said.
We will not always win, but as leaders we ought to encourage our teams through thick and thin.
The Secretary advised: “Now is not the time to attack these athletes as they are in the most fragile and vulnerable state of their lives, compounded by the COVID pandemic. Our hearts go out to team members who were also struck by COVID-19.”
Within recent times athletes have been under increasing and tremendous pressure and have dropped out of competition because of negativity like this.
Mental health issues are real. Let’s applaud our heroes.