Posted: Saturday, August 06, 2016. 12:09 p.m. CST.
By Marion E. Lambey: The Games of the XXXI Olympiad, commonly known as RIO 2016, is due to take place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from August 5th to 21st 2016. Native Belizean sprinter Kaina Martinez, will not be in RIO even though she has seniority over all viable Belizean athletes, native or naturalized, and presently has the best record on the track. She was the 2012 London Olympics Flag Bearer, and she excited Belizeans at home and
abroad with her advancement past the first heat in the 100 Meters Sprint in London. I want to think that the feat was unprecedented.
As recently as in the 17th Central American Seniors Championships held from June 17th to 19th, 2016 in El Salvador, she performed better than all members of the Belizean contingent. She won gold and set a new record in the 100 meters Sprint, Silver in the 200 meters sprint, and Silver in the 4×100 meters relay.
If all that I have said about her accomplishments on the track is true as I know it is, then, why was Kaina not awarded Belize’s female wild card to compete in RIO? A poor excuse, was given by Deon Sutherland, President of the Belize Amateur Athletic Association (BAAA), which has not been accepted as legitimate by the Belizean masses.
The female wild card was gifted to Ms. Katy Sealy, a naturalized Belizean Heptathlete, who was born and raised in the United Kingdom, and whose eligibility to represent Belize is on the grounds that her father was born in Belize while his British parents were working in Belize in the sixties.
The intriguing thing is that the Heptathlon is not a wild card event, so in order to facilitate Ms. Sealy, she was placed in the 100 Meter Hurdle, an event in which she places 78th in the English women’s ranking. The Belizean Flag that Kaina carried in London 2012 will be carried by naturalized Belizean 200 Meters Sprinter Mr. Brandon Jones, the recipient of the male wild card. Mr. Jones who was born and raised in the United States is the son of a Belizean born father.
The below table using information extracted from public, official records found at www.all-athletics.com, shows what I am trying to explain in words, in numbers:
|KAINA MARTINEZ||100m Sprint||11.32s||11.52s||0.2s|
|KATY SEALY||100m Hurdle||13s||15.2s||2.2s|
|BRANDON JONES||200m Sprint||20.50s||21.17s||0.67s|
From the table above, it is clear that Kaina Martinez whose personal best is a mere 0.2 seconds away from the IAAF minimum qualifying standard, had a much better chance of doing well in RIO than Katy Sealy, who the records show is eleven (11) times farther away from the standard in the event that she will be competing in. Kaina is also more deserving of the honour of carrying Belize’s Flag than Brandon Jones, because she is three (3) times closer to the IAAF minimum standard in her event than he is in his event.
In order to provide you with more information to better understand what I am trying to explain in words, I have below a photo of Kaina Martinez (the athlete who was passed over), and a photo of Katy Sealy (the wild card recipient).
In my opinion, both athletes are beautiful creations of God, but the action of the BAAA and those who aided and abetted it through their silence (including the athletes) is as ugly and as horrific as the opinion I have of life in apartheid in South Africa.
It is also not consistent with the philosophy of Olympism which seeks to exalt and combine in a balanced whole the qualities of body, will and mind. It seeks to create a way of life based on the joy found in effort, the educational value of good example and respect for universal fundamental ethical principles.
Kaina Martinez who was born and raised in the coastal village of Seine Bight on the Placencia Peninsula of southern Belize, an area that still does not have any training facilities, is an epitome of Olympism, and Belize will be in a better place when its people learn to value citizens like her.
I ask the government of Belize through the Ministry of Sports, to probe into the operations of the Belize National Olympics Committee and the various youth and sporting organizations in Belize, and seek to enforce a merit-based system for the selection of people to represent Belize. I also ask that systems be devised where the longevity of officials holding leadership positions is based on the performance of those officials in the area of going the extra mile to help develop our youths.
Furthermore, I ask that the humans within the aforementioned organizations be made to face punitive actions if they are found guilty of willfully and deliberately passing over our best representatives in their areas of specialties in favor those who are less than our best when selecting representatives for regional and international events and competitions.
The views expressed in this article are those of the writer and not necessarily those of Breaking Belize News.
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