Marshall opts out of Gold Coast
Lamont Marshall has opted out of the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, Australia, after having an application for funding rejected by the Bermuda Olympic Association.
Marshall estimates that he pumped at least $8,000 of his own money into his successful qualifying bid in the 3,000 metres steeplechase before applying for funding from the BOA via the Commonwealth Games Federation Developmental Programme to help offset additional costs.
The 33-year-old’s application was turned down, however, prompting a backlash from Larry Marshall, his father and coach, who believes his son is entitled to funding having reached the standard.
“It’s a sad day in Bermuda when a young man can set seven Bermuda records in a calendar year at three different distances, qualify for the Commonwealth Games, and still be told that he is not eligible for any funding whatsoever,” Larry Marshall said.
“I think it’s a scathing indictment on the BOA who are saying it doesn’t have any funds for a young man who has trained hard, broke these national records and met the qualifying time.
“Lamont has been forced out, not because of a lack of funding, but because the BOA has refused to fund him.”
Stan Douglas, the BOA secretary-general, confirmed that Marshall had been denied funding but explained that he had been “misinformed” on funding available to athletes.
“[Lamont Marshall’s] spokesman is correct in saying that he was denied funding, but it was not a Commonwealth Games funding that he was denied,” Douglas said.
“The Commonwealth Games funding amounts to £750 per athlete, which is provided for pre-games preparation. Mr Marshall is misinformed on the funding available and would need to communicate with his National Sports Governing Body [the Bermuda National Athletics Association] on the process.”
Douglas also revealed that Marshall had been denied another request for funding as compensation for costs incurred while attempting to qualify.
“The BNAA had requested support for Lamont at many levels,” Douglas said. “The first was a reimbursement of expense for events he attended.
“At that time, he was not on the Elite Athletes List and therefore that source of funding was not available to him.
“The Elite Athletes Fund is supplied by the Bermuda Government and has rules on how to request and report on the use of those funds.
“Elite athlete nominations are submitted to the BOA by their NSGB and it is reviewed by the Standards Committee.
“The submission of an athlete for the Elite Athlete Programme must include a four-year plan — events, performance expectations and identify at least one of the four major festivals; Commonwealth Games, Central American and Caribbean Games, Pan American Games and the Olympic Games.
“There are three levels of support within the Elite Athlete Programme — Level C, entry level; Level B, those athletes who have shown progress within their plan and have the ability of qualifying for the Pan American Games; and Level A, which include athletes likely to qualify for the Olympic Games.
“All athletes begin at Level C, which allows the athlete support for one international event within their plan.”
Marshall is listed as a category C athlete.
Douglas confirmed that the BNAA had been notified of Marshall’s decision to make himself unavailable for the Games.
“The NSGB received a communication from Mr Lamont Marshall stating that he has opted out of competing at the Commonwealth Games 2018,” Douglas said.
“This action takes him out of the equation for the limited amount of funding available for the Commonwealth Games.
“It must be stated the Bermuda Olympic Association is very much in support of National Sports Governing Bodies, athletes and officials.
“Our task with the help of the NSGB’s is to assist those athletes in obtaining a standard which will qualify them for one of the four major festivals for which the BOA is responsible.”
Marshall said he is prepared to take his son’s plight to the Government.
“I do intend to take up the matter once the new sports minister is appointed,” he said. “I do intend to meet with them to bring this issue to their attention.”
Marshall said his son would overturn his decision if funding could be secured in the build-up to the Games to be held from April 4 to 15. “Lamont’s hand has been forced, but he would be prepared to go if funding can be found,” he said.
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