Sponsorship boost for top track and field trio
Bermuda’s top three track and field athletes have landed a sponsorship boost after receiving funding from Bermuda Healthcare Services.
Tyrone Smith, Arantxa King and Aaron Evans have each been handed $5,000 as part of a 12-month sponsorship package from the Paget-based medical centre.
Long jumpers Smith and King both competed for Bermuda at the Olympic Games in London while Evans, the Island’s top 800 metre runner, narrowly missed out on qualification.
Bermuda National Athletics Association (BNAA) president Donna Watson believes the financial assistance provided by Bermuda Healthcare Services will help the trio reach the next Olympics in Rio.
“I’m excited about the sponsorship for these athletes. We are 100 percent behind these athletes and their aspirations to meet the standards for the 2016 Olympics
“For this to become a reality there will be several stepping stones along the way in order for them to get there.
“This financial assistance is a step in the right direction for them and I know these athletes will make Bermuda proud and possibly be our first Bermuda track and field athletes to stand on the podium at an Olympics.
“I know they will give us 100 percent as they are all great athletes with a great career in front of them.”
Smith, who reached the final of the men’s long jump at the London Games, said sponsorship and funding was vital for any athlete with aspirations of competing against the world’s best.
“I’m a little bit of a veteran at the post-collegiate circuit and one of the hardest thing to do is have the finances to be able to support yourself,” said Smith, who won gold at the 2010 CAC Games.
“It’s a tremendous blessing to receive this sponsorship and I will now have a little less stress on my mind.”
Dr Ewart Brown, medical director at Bermuda Healthcare Services, handpicked the three athletes for sponsorship that he said could be extended beyond the one-year agreement.
“It was when attending the Olympic Games in London I caught a bug called Olympic development which I used to have when I was younger,” said the former Premier of Bermuda, who represented the Island at the Commonwealth Games.
“Throughout the Olympics that thought persisted and when I came back to Bermuda, along with the management team of Bermuda Healthcare Services, it was agreed that the time had come to support our athletes’ development.”
Dr Brown now wants to see other private sector organisations financially support Bermuda’s elite athletes.
“I’m hoping other private sector organisations, as Jamaica Grill has recently done, will step up forward. In most countries there is massive sponsorship for athletes of this calibre but in Bermuda we haven’t quite got there.
“I believe those people in the private sector who believe in excellence, who like to support people not engaged in gang warfare, would like to support athletes like these.”
Added Dr Brown: “I have got the impression these three athletes are serious, mean business and will give it their very best. I personally believe we are going to see a medal or two and I will follow them until it happens.”
Local coaches Brian Wellman, Justin Donawa and Ethan Philip today leave for a triple jump camp in Bahamas.
The camp will be held in Nassau from November 21-24.